A great way to improve learning at every age is through the magic of music.
You see, certain kinds of music can actually stimulate your child’s
higher cognitive functioning and help their development.
In a phenomenon known as the “Mozart effect”, listening to
music creates a positive emotional response which, in turn, improves cognitive
functioning. Research tells us that listening to certain classics, like
Mozart, helps to improve spatial-temporal reasoning in the short term.
If Mozart isn’t your cup of tea, you have many other options to
choose from. Any kind of baroque music like Teleman or Vivaldi and ambient
music that has a tempo of 60 beats per second will help.
Later studies showed that any music with an energetic beat or positive
emotional qualities had the potential to stimulate the spatial-temporal
This is the part of the brain that helps you to understand complex concepts
or solve difficult problems. For example, a study by Rauscher, Shaw and
Ky (1993) discovered that those subjects who listened to Mozart prior
to completing an IQ test scored higher than those who did not listen to music.
Another study in rats found that pregnant rats exposed to Mozart produced
offspring that were better at maze learning.
While these changes are temporary, learning music from an early age can
have tangible, long-lasting improvements in brain functioning: “It’s
very clear from a number of experiments that if you do musical training,
you find changes in brain structures attributable to that training. There
are experiments that show that changes are greater if you begin musical
training by about the age of seven. They’re still there if you begin
later, but smaller in magnitude,” says neuropsychologist Robert
Zatorre from McGill University.
Neuroscientists from Boston Children’s Hospital found a link between
the introduction of musical instruments at an early age and improved cognitive
functioning. “Since executive functioning is a strong predictor
of academic achievement, even more than IQ, we think our findings have
strong educational implications.While many schools are cutting music programs
and spending more and more time on test preparation, our findings suggest
that musical training may actually help to set up children for a better
academic future,” said head researcher, Nadine Gaab.
The greatest impact of music on cognitive functioning occurs when music
is introduced before the child turns seven as it creates more extensive
connectivity between different parts of the brain and also improves the
ability to integrate sensory input.
If your child finds music distracting, try ambient sounds such as whale
songs, waterfalls, ocean waves and other natural sounds. Eno’s “Music
for airports” is specifically designed to relax and calm tired travellers
in airports. Eno’s background music heightens your mood and occupies
those parts of your brain that may cause distractions while you are studying.