has heard of that parent who makes their infant child listen to Mozart out of the hope that he will be smarter and thinks it is absurd. But the reality is that scientific studies show that music, and particularly classical music, could really help improve our brains and learning.
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to misunderstand the actual science, which results in two problematic results. Either you pop in a CD of Mozart’s songs and listen to it for a few hours hoping to be a genius, which is absurd. Or you look at that absurd scenario and conclude that music does not help improve your brain at all, which is also incorrect in a different way. A proper look at the mental benefits of classical music gives a much more nuanced picture.
No, listening to Mozart for hours upon hours will not mean the difference between a child being a dunce or the next Einstein. But if you understand what classical music does to our brains, you will understand that it can make a small, if noticeable difference.
Nothing Happens Overnight. Benefits Accumulate over Time.
As the BBC notes1 the idea that listening to Mozart improves intelligence has been around since 1991 in response to a study published from the University of California. But as so often happens in science, a researcher makes a modest discovery only for journalists and the common people to wildly blow those small claims out of proportion. All the researchers found was that for a short period of about 15 minutes after listening to Mozart, young adults performed menial spatial tasks better.
But after that study, scientists took a further look at the effects of music in general and classical music in particular on our brains. Some studies found that individuals memorized objects better or performed better on learning…