Echoing Mozart: Discovering a Link between the Brain and Music

When Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher published the results of their study on the relationship between music and spatial task performance in 1993, the “Mozart effect” became a popular term. It referred to the study’s findings that ten minutes of listening to Mozart can boost one’s spatial-temporal intelligence.

But why Mozart?

According to Marion Diamond, who describes the inception of Shaw’s hypothesis in her book, Magic Trees of the Mind, the idea began when Shaw attended a lecture on how the brain transmits neural messages. This lecture led Shaw to formulate a theory of how neural impulses are organized into patterns by the cerebral cortex. Shaw’s theory took the form of a long and complex mathematical model which for many of us, Diamond explains, “needs a major English translation into something like this: The neurons in the brain have certain natural firing patterns that act as an internal neural language. These patterns can be mapped and also altered through learning and experience.” You can read more here.

Music Enhances other Areas of Learning — And everyone has FUN !!

scan3In my experience I taught a recorder group.  They learnt to read the music notes and co-ordinate their fingers and eyes as they played together. They had such fun performing and their confidence and self- esteem increased enormously.


I watched these primary school children come alive as they sang part songs. music-therapy-childrenThey never missed a lunch time practice and the boost of confidence through singing together and then performing was remarkable.