Classical Music and Learning Research Paper by Master Researcher

Classical Music and Learning
Research on the relationship between classical music and learning.
# 36892 | 2,500 words | 14 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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An overall description of the effect of classical music on academic learning, taking into focus the Mozart Effect research. The writer begins with the theory that classical music is therapeutic to the mind and soul, and looks at several studies that were carried out to prove or disprove this theory. On the basis of these, the paper concludes that the learning and performing of music are very likely to be of direct neurobiological benefit.

Research and Experiments
Undermining the Research

From the Paper:

"What seems clear is that the ability to experience and react to music is deeply embedded in the biology of the nervous system. While music tends to be processed mostly in the right hemisphere of the brain, no single set of cells is devoted to the task. Different networks of neurons are activated, depending on whether a person is listening to music or playing an instrument, and whether or not the music involves lyrics. Specific brain disorders can affect the perception of music in very specific ways. Experiments done on epileptics decades ago showed that stimulating certain areas of the temporal lobe on both sides of the brain awakened "musical memories"--vivid re-creations of melodies that the patients had heard years earlier. Lesions in the temporal lobe can result in so-called musicogenic epilepsy, an extremely rare form of the disorder in which seizures are triggered by the sound of music. Autism offers an even greater puzzle. People with this condition are mentally deficient, yet most are proficient musicians; some are "musical savants" possessed of extraordinary talent. There is evidently no way to help these unfortunate folks (though, admittedly, they don't know what they're missing). But for instrumentalists, at least, music can evidently trigger physical changes in the brain's wiring. By measuring faint magnetic fields emitted by the brains of professional musicians, a team led by Christo Pantev of the University of Muenster's Institute of Experimental Audiology in Germany has shown that intensive practice of an instrument leads to discernible enlargement of parts of the cerebral cortex, the layer of gray matter most closely associated with higher brain function."

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