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In The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell confirmed for the first time that music has the power to heal not only the soul, but the body as well. The result has been a tidal wave of publicity, extraordinary book sales, and a clamor—especially from parents—for more. Now Don ...
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In The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell confirmed for the first time that music has the power to heal not only the soul, but the body as well. The result has been a tidal wave of publicity, extraordinary book sales, and a clamor—especially from parents—for more. Now Don Campbell gives us a specific program that uses music to enhance life for children through the emotionally grounding, intellectually stimulating, and creativity-enhancing effects of rhythm and tone. In this book, Campbell follows a child's life from pre-birth through age 10, demonstrating ways in which music can be used to carve new neural pathways in the brain of the fetus and infants, stimulate language acquisition, prepare the brain for reading, and much more. The book includes music and movement exercises to stimulate children's minds, music "recipes" for helping children internalize a rhythm of thought and mental organization, and recommendations for reducing stress and maintaining family cohesiveness through music.
Long before the lyrics to "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" were written, children across France sang the words you see above to the same tune. Seventeen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart must also have been familiar with the song, since he used its melody as a starting point for his playful, ever expanding Variations on Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman (K. 265). Might the brilliant teenager have chosen this melody to tease his notoriously stern, ambitious father, Leopold, for his taskmaster approach toward raising a son? Given Wolfgang's love of jokes and clever wordplay, it certainly seems likely.
More important, though, Mozart's Variations, now practiced and memorized by intermediate music students around the world, perfectly evoke the way we humans best think and grow creatively. After all, as Mozart might tell us if he were alive today, pleasing, organized melodies such as this one do have great value, particularly for children. Music speaks in a language that children instinctively understand. It draws children (as well as adults) into its orbit, inviting them to match its pitches, incorporate its lyrics, move to its beat, and explore its emotional and harmonic dimensions in all their beauty and depth. Meanwhile, its physical vibrations, organized patterns, engaging rhythms, and subtle variations interact with the mind and body in manifold ways, naturally altering the brain in a manner that one-dimensioned rote learning cannot. Children are happy when they are bouncing, dancing, clapping, and singing with someone they trust and love. Even as music delights and entertains them, it helps mold their mental, emotional, social, and physical development—and gives them the enthusiasm and the skills they need to begin to teach themselves.
In recent decades, an enormous amount of research has been conducted on the specific ways in which sound, rhythm, and music can improve our lives. The results of the research using Mozart's music have been especially stunning and have given rise to the term the Mozart Effect. I use the phrase to encompass such phenomena as the ability of Mozart's music to temporarily heighten spatial awareness and mtelligence; its power to improve listeners' concentration and speech abilities; its tendency to advance the jump in reading and language skills among children who receive regular music instruction; and the startling increase in SAT scores among students who sing or play an instrument. But the Mozart Effect refers to more than just raising children's test scores. By learning to recognize and consciously implement the Mozart Effect in your child's life, you can:
Now, as one millennium ends and a new one begins, science is confirming the truth behind this age-old intuition. A recent article in Science News tells us that sound in the early universe, in the form of vibrational waves, may have helped orchestrate the striking pattern of galaxy clusters and huge voids we see in the sky today. We know that the moon itself vibrates, essentially "ringing" like a bell in a process known as spherical harmonics, probably in response to a long-ago meteor strike. In a similar fashion, tsunamis are created by the vibrational effects of earthquakes, which cause very small (yet detectable) wave that can grow enormously high. Music is simply a special case of this kind of vibration—a wave of energy that transfers some its power to us.
<%=fontsmall%>From The Mozart Effect for Children, Chapter 1, © 2000 by Don Campbell<%=xfontsmall%>
Posted January 23, 2001