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Mozart Effect for Children: Awakening Your Child's Mind, Health and Creativity with Music

Mozart Effect for Children: Awakening Your Child's Mind, Health and Creativity with Music

by Don Campbell, Don Campbell

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The Mozart Effect for Children is the right book at the right time; this is the first program for parents and teachers that shows you how to use Mozart and music to unlock your child's creativity and intelligence.

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 Mozart Effect for Children is the right book at the right time; this is the first program for parents and teachers that shows you how to use Mozart and music to unlock your child's creativity and intelligence.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble, Inc.
According to Boulder-based author Don Campbell, music helps develop children. He believes that it stimulates them intellectually, grounds them emotionally, fosters creativity, and helps them learn healthy social interaction. Deepening the lessons of his groundbreaking The Mozart Effect, Campbell shows how even babies can benefit from the harmonies that move us all.
Our Review
Music for Life
Every morning in his crib, a toddler "sings" a particular piece from Beethoven's Pastorale. He hadn't heard that piece in all of his 18 months. But his mother had listened to it several times a day when she was pregnant.

A violinist looks and sounds like Shlomo Mintz when he plays. When he was two, he used to watch a videotape of the famous violinist over and over again.

A four-year-old newly adopted girl is fearful and uncommunicative in her new surroundings. Then her parents start to play the music she listened to in her orphanage in Korea, and the barriers begin to fall.

In his fascinating, eloquent new book, The Mozart Effect for Children, Don Campbell tells many such stories about the powerful, positive influence music can have on a child's brain, spirit, and body. He reports on the latest neurological and physiological research in accessible, relevant ways. And best of all, he offers practical advice on incorporating music of all kinds into your children's daily lives. By doing so, Campbell asserts, you will not only be stimulating your children's creativity and intelligence, you will be giving them -- and yourselves -- a source of lifelong happiness.

Campbell's first book on the subject, The Mozart Effect, was a bestseller that introduced readers to the sometimes miraculous effects of music on health, learning, and behavior. The Mozart Effect, he explains, refers to the way in which the music of Mozart can "temporarily heighten spatial awareness and intelligence" and "improve listeners' concentration and speech abilities." It can also be credited for "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." By implementing the Mozart Effect, he goes on, you can communicate with your baby before birth, reduce emotional or physical pain, enhance motor development and language ability, and help your child develop a sense of his or her own identity.

Though we perhaps can never know exactly why the music of Mozart, more than that of Haydn, for example, can energize and heal listeners, Campbell believes that the greatness of Mozart's music lies in its purity and simplicity:

[H]is music is at once deeply mysterious and accessible and, above all, without guile. It is almost as though he was able to distill the beauty and order of the sound stimulation he experienced within the womb, and express it in a way that touches us on an equally essential level. Certainly, the wit, charm, and simplicity of his compositions allow us to locate a profound joy, and a deeper wisdom, in ourselves.... It is this ability to bring out the best in us that makes Mozart's music such a valuable aid in raising a child.
In The Mozart Effect for Children, Campbell focuses on children in their first decade of life. Each section is geared toward a specific age group, from prebirth to age ten, with musical activities and pieces recommended when appropriate. In the toddler months, for example, when your child is discovering language, movement, and emotion at breakneck speed, look for ways to encourage the experience of movement and rhythm. If he's swinging his arms to music, join in; sweep the floor together to the sounds of dance music; give her pots and pans to bang on in the bath. "If the neighbors complain," writes Campbell, "just point out to them that moving to music gives kids a chance to develop basic timing, coordination, creativity, and problem-solving skills!"

Each chapter ends with a Mozart Musical Menu, a list of compositions for particular age groups and activities. The nine-year-old might take a few minutes to listen to the Andante from Mozart's Symphony No. 1, for example, as an energizer before study time; babies may enjoy winding down at the end of the day with Adagio (III) from the Quartet No. 20 in D Major. But Campbell makes a point of recommending other composers and other kinds of music as well. Children should be exposed to a variety of styles and genres, he says, from traditional songs and nursery rhymes to marches, pop songs, and your own made-up musical stories.

With this important book, Campbell has provided a complete musical program for children. And it is a program that every parent, grandparent, caregiver, and educator should take part in. Read this book! In addition to all of the intellectual, emotional, physical, and creative benefits your child will come away with, you will have helped him learn that "music -- both the music he makes and the music he hears -- can be a trusted friend throughout his life." --Clare O'Shea

If you want your child to benefit from music, then this book is for you. Campbell talks about child development using metaphors from music as well as offering suggestions for tunes to encourage brain growth. He cites several research studies, but he emphasizes that it is more important to relax, enjoy the tunes, and make use of the classical music selections that will appeal to children of various ages. 2000, William Morrow, $25.00. Ages Adult. Reviewer: S. Palmer SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.97(d)

Read an Excerpt

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Neuron
Music and Your Child's Brain

Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman, Ah! Let me tell you, Mother,
Ce qui cause mon tournment? What's the cause of my torment?
Papa veut que je raisonne, Papa wants me to reason
Comme une grande personne; Like a grown-up.
Moi, je dis que les bonbons Me, I say that candy has
Valent mieux que la raison. Greater value than reason.
—Eighteenth-Century French Folk Song

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:

  • Begin to communicate and connect with him even before he is born.
  • Stimulate brain growth in the womb and throughout early childhood.
  • Positively affect his emotional perceptions and attitudes from prebirth onward.
  • Provide patterns of sound on which he can build his understanding of the physical world.
  • Reduce his level of emotional stress or physical pain, even in infancy.
  • Enhance his motor development, including the grace and ease with which he learns to crawl, walk, skip, and run.
  • Improve his language ability, including vocabulary, expressiveness, and ease of communication.
  • Introduce him to a wider world of emotional expression, creativity, and aesthetic beauty.
  • Enhance his social abilities.
  • Improve his reading, writing, mathematical, and other academic skills, as well as his ability to remember and to memorize.
  • Introduce him to the joys of community.
  • Help him create a strong sense of his own identity.
It is amazing to think that music and rhythmic verbal sounds, which have been available to us throughout our lives, can have such a powerful effect on the mind and body. Yet the evidence is indisputable. There's far more to good music than meets the ear. Wisely used, it can create a healthy and stimulating sound world for your family and profoundly enhance your child's growth.

How I Wonder What You Are
From the beginning of time, humankind has sensed the power of vibration, rhythm, and sound. Many cultures' creation myths describe a primordial sound or vibration that created matter from nothingness. The ancient Chinese and Egyptians considered music a fundamental element -- one that reflected the principles governing the universe. It was believed that music had the power to uplift or degrade the psyche, to change the fate of entire civilizations. As a result, humans have made music throughout history to celebrate the passing of the seasons and mark passages in the lives of each member of the community, and have used rhythm to instill a sense of oneness among members of tribes and other groups.

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%>

What People are Saying About This

Karen Williams Romeo
The Mozart Effect for Children is a modern phenomenon, blending neurological and physiological research with vibrant testimonials and rare compassion. Children around the world in the first, most impressionable decade of their lives have found a true champion of their potential in Don Campbell…today's children, tomorrow's Mozarts.
—(Karen Williams Romeo, Ph.D., Board Member, National Guild of Community Schools in the Arts; Author of Renaissance Kids)
Linda C. Duffy
A classic…The Mozart Effect for Children provides decision makers in government, medicine and public health with a brilliantly written resource on infant child development and the intrinsic language of music in nurturing happy, creative and intelligent children…A masterful story and authentic resource for everyone's library!
—(Linda C. Duffy, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Women & Children's Health Research Foundation; Board Member, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institute of Health

Meet the Author

Listen to Don Campbell's credentials.

A Texas native, Don Campbell studied with Nadia Boulanger at the Fontainebleau Conservatory of Music in France and has worked with Jean Houston, Leonard Bernstein and other musicians, healers and mind/body researchers.

Over the years, his quest to harness the healing and creative powers of sound and music has taken him to 40 countries, including Haiti, Russia, Israel, Greece, Tibet, Indonesia and Thailand, where he has studied indigenous culture, taught and worked with children and young adults, and given his own performances. He has taught and performed in most of the capitals of Europe and lived in Japan for several years, serving as music critic for a Tokyo newspaper.

He founded the Institute of Music, Health and Education in 1988, and is known to the public through frequent television and radio appearances and international lecture tours. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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