Mozart Effect

.. oduce delta waves that range from .5 to 3 Hz. The slower the brain waves, the more relaxed, contended, and peaceful a person feels. Music with about 60 beats per minute can shift conscouisness from the beta toward the alpha range, enhancing alertness and well-being. While most people respond physically and emotionally to music, a few go beyond that. For some music therapy is mystical experience used to transport them into altered states of consciousness.

Patients sometimes report transpersonal experiences with music, and the impression it leaves may linger for months or even years. These experiences can have a therapeutic effect by changing the individual at a deep spiritual level. Effects of various types of music Gregorian Chant – creates a sense of relaxed spaciousness, reduces stress, deepens breathing Baroque – invokes sense of stability, order, and safety and creates a mentally stimulating environment, increases rate of learning and memory retention Classical – can improve memory, concentration, and spatial perception Romantic – enhances sympathy, love, and compassion, invokes theme of individualism or mysticism Impressionist – evokes dreamlike images, can unlock creative impulses Jazz and Blues – helps to release deep joy and sadness Big Band – inspires light movement, creates sense of well-being Rock – stimulates active movement, may increase tension and stress New Age – increases sense of space and time, induces state of relaxed alertness Heavy metal – stimulates the nervous system. It is typically an outward exhibition of inner turmoil Country – has been known to increases suicidal tendencies The Mozart Effect Alfred Tomatis, M.D., a French physician has spent five decades studying the healing and creative effects of music, particularly that of Mozart. He has tested over 100,000 clients in listening centers all over the world.

Lately, researchers have learned that the music of one composer in particular rises above all other types in its ability to heal, namely that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The unique ability of this music to heal the body, and strengthen the mind is known as the Mozart Effect. One of Tomatis’ patients included the well-known French actor Gerard Depardieu. Early in his career, the man struggled to become an actor. Depardieu could not express himself, the more he tried, the worse his stammering became. Tomatis traced the cause of Depardieu’s voice and memory problems to deeper emotional problems. Depardieu’s treatment consisted of listening to Mozart two hours a day for several months.

Soon his appetite improved, he slept better, and eventually he began to speak more clearly. He went on to become a popular actor known for his mellifluous voice. Tomatis consistently found that regardless of a listener’s tastes or previous exposure to the composer, the music of Mozart calmed listeners, improved spatial perception, and allowed them to express themselves more clearly. He found that Mozart achieved the best long-term results. In 1993, Frances H. Rauscher, Ph.D., demonstrated that ten minutes of listening to Mozart can temporarily increase intelligence.

He had thirty-six students stake a standard intelligence test after listening to either silence, a relaxing guided imagery tape, or Mozart. After the period of silence, the average student score was 110. After the guided imagery tape, the average score was 111. After listening to Mozart the score significantly increased to 119. Even people who said they did not like the music had higher scores. Rauscher says that, “listening to complex, nonrepetitive music like Mozart may stimulate neural pathways that are important in thinking” (Castleman).

Rauscher used the same experimental design to test other types of music. In a later study, Rauscher was able to duplicate the effect of Mozart’s music. He also tested compositions by Philip Glass and other highly rhythmic dance pieces. No increase in students IQ was observed after listening to this type of music. This seems to suggest that hypnotic musical structures will not enhance mental abilities.

In a different study, scientists explored the neurophysiological bases of this enhancement. Spatial intelligence was tested by projecting sixteen abstract figures similar to folded piece of paper on an overhead screen for one minute. The exercises tested whether seventy-nine could tell what the shapes would look like when they were unfolded. Over a five-day period, one group listened to Mozart, another to silence, and third to mixed sounds. The studies showed that all the groups improved their scores from day one to day two, but the Mozart group’s score rose 62% percent, compared to 14% for the silent group, and 11% for the mixed-sound group.

The Mozart group continued to achieve the highest scores on subsequent days. Rauscher also conducted a study that showed that music lessons or listening to music can enhance spatial reasoning performance. The spatial reasoning of 19 preschool children who received eight months of music lessons far exceeded the spatial reasoning performance of 15 preschoolers who did not receive music lessons. A variety of other people have been discovering the benefits of Mozart’s music. For example, in monasteries in Britain, monks play music to the animals in their care, and have found that cows serenaded with Mozart give more milk.

In Washington State, Department of Immigration and Naturalization officials play Mozart and Baroque music during English classes for new arrivals and reports that it speeds up their learning. The city of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada plays Mozart’s string quartets into the city squares to calm pedestrian traffic. Officials have found, in addition to other benefits, drug dealings have decreased. Many theories have been proposed to explain the Mozart Effect. According to Gordon Shaw, a theoretical physicist, Mozart’s music may give the brain a warm up.

He suspects that complex music facilitates certain complex neuronal patterns involved in high brain activities like math and chess. According to David Sobel, M.D., “At least part of the thrill of music seems to come from the release of endorphines, the powerful opiate-like chemicals produced in the brain that induce euphoria and relieve pain. Administering drugs that block endorphin production significantly blunts the joy of music” (Castleman). Sedative music reduces the levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, and has a calming effect on the limbic system of the brain, which plays a key role in emotion. Using special instruments, Tomatis discovered that burnout, fatigue, and the debilitating effects of stress come when the central gray nuclei cells of the brain run low on electrical potential.

These cells act like small batteries, they generate the electricity for brain waves that can be detected on EEGs. Before and after brain maps made from EEGs, show that the brain is stimulated by high frequency sound. Interestingly, these cells are not recharged by body metabolism. These cells are charged up by something outside the body, namely sound. In particular, high frequency sounds from 5,000 – 8,000 Hz.

Interestingly, before babies are born, they hear their mother’s voice at frequencies of about 8,000 Hz as a result of the distortion when sound travels through fluid. After checking the music of many different composers, Tomatis found that the music of Mozart was richest in these higher frequencies. In Cymatics, Hans Jenny, a Swiss engineer and doctor, describes the science of how sound and vibration interact with matter. Jenny shows that intricate geometric figures can be formed by sound. He has produced oscillating figures in liquids and gases.

The forms and shapes that can be created by sound are infinite and can be varied simply by changing the pitch, the harmonics of the tone, and the material that is vibrating. Sounds, especially music, can have a similar effect on cells, tissues and organs. “Vibrating sounds form patterns and create energy fields of resonance and movement in the surrounding space. We absorb these energies, and they subtly alter our breath, blood pressure, muscle tension, skin temperature, and other internal rhythms” (Campbell). Through this type of research, scientists and physicians have become aware that the vibrations transmitted by music can have positive effects on patients (or negative effects if the wrong type of music is used).

A great deal of music has a rhythm analogous to the average human heart beat (70-80 beats per minute). We know the rhythms of music affect the rhythms of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates a vast a array of systems in our body. Therefore, we can understand the physiological and psychological importance of music. Bibliography Campbell, Don. The Mozart Effect. New York: Avon Books, 1997. Campbell, Don. “The riddle of the Mozart Effect.” Natural Health January-February 1998: 114. (Reprinted by Information Access Company) Castleman, Michael and Spangler, Tina.

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