Music and Brain Development

This paper discusses the theory that newborns’ hearing of classical music can aid in the development of their intelligence.

This paper explains that the Georgia Head Start organization began distributing CDs with classical music on them to every newborn child?s mother as part of a program designed to aid in the early childhood development of children?s intelligence. The author points out that, if pathways in the brain go unused, they will eventually wither away; however, a child who cannot yet form words and sentences can hear and be motivated by music, thus stimulating brain growth. The paper suggests that the program of handing out music CDs to parents whose children need the greatest amount of assistance available is a terrific plan, but poorly executed; instead, it would be better to regularly play classical music in the Head Start centers.
The research of Rausher and Shaw was based on the initial belief that music learning, in some shape or form, may count among the kinds of experiences that lead to long-term changes in the brain’s hard wiring neural development. Using a group of 84 college students, they demonstrated that listening to a Mozart piano sonata for 10 minutes improved the students’ spatial-temporal reasoning skills. The students increased their ability to form mental images from physical objects, or to see abstract patterns in space and time. These skills are key to engineers and architects, and form the basis for understanding proportion, geometry, and other mathematical and scientific concepts.