Guest Post by PARMA Intern Alycia B.
For years, the Mozart Effect has been debated among scientists, psychologists and medical doctors alike. The Mozart Effect is the idea that listening to classical music can make you smarter or improve your memory. The overwhelming consensus is that this is untrue. However, classical music does indeed have some benefits to daily life.
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The Mozart Effect has been proven untrue due to the misconception that you can use it as if it were an antiseptic on a cut – simply apply and watch the results. In that sense, the effect is untrue.
The true effect that music has on us is that it improves our focus. The type of music does not matter, but certain qualities of the music do matter depending on the person. Some say that an average of 60 beats per minute is the right quality to improve focus. That would go along with tranquil and slower pieces of music of any genre, not just classical. It could also be something as simple as water features, like a waterfall or the ocean, or it could be white noise.
When I need to focus, the thing that works best for me is to select something new to listen to. I usually pick a genre that I feel like listening to at the time and either select an album that is brand new or set up a stream of artists that I don’t know that well. If I’m not up to new music – I usually stick to something instrumental. This doesn’t confine me to classical either, I can listen to genres that others would normally not even think of (like metal) and still get the same effect as classical.
Classical music has been proven to help improve other things too. A research study was done on playing classical music in areas with a high likelihood of crime and, believe it or not, the music deters criminal activity.
The TV show MythBusters did an experiment testing to see how plants grew if you talked to them, screamed at them, or played them classical and metal music. Talking proved better than the control of silence, and the music did even better. Metal did happen to beat classical, but the experiment was flawed since a water system malfunctioned during the duration of the test.
The most recent discovery was done in a mice laboratory. They tested to see what happens to mice who have had mismatched organ transplants – in other words, transplants that have the highest rate of failure. They played silence, a single tone, Enya, Verdi, and Mozart for different groups of mice. The mice in silence and the ones who were played a single tone barely survived a week, while the ones who were played Enya lasted a few additional days. The mice who got to listen to Verdi and Mozart survived nearly an entire month. With new medicine arising that helps organs acclimate in the body, this research could prove classical music vital in a human’s recovery process.