Just as for food, art, dress, biases for music develop in children relatively early in their development. By middle school most children can tell you exactly what they do and don't like about nearly everything. And when they don't know, they tend to look to their peers to form an opinion for them. Thus the tremendous importance of normalizing classical music early in a child's life. And who better to teach youth the value of classical tunes than the one and only Mozart.
It's hard to believe that at well over 250 years old, Mozart's music still has the power to help children learn and grow. But it's true! Whether learning to play an instrument or just taking time to listen, the Music of Mozart and other Classical artists have been shown to improve the development of vital thinking skills.* Here are three.
1. Social Skills. What's the single most important - yet underrepresented - social skill for adults? Listening. Engaged listening, that is. An engaged or active listener is present in communication, and is able to digest and use the information they obtain in their communicated response. This ability is integral in everything from maintaining meaningful relationships to excelling in advanced studies. An engaged listener tends to express themselves more easily, speaking exactly how they feel and what they mean because they have the tools to do so. The complex structure of Mozart's music excites the listener's brain on multiple levels, developing the framework for more active listening and thereby improving the development of advanced social skills.
2. Concentration. What's good for concentration is good for memory. And of course, what's good for memory is good for neural longevity. But the point here is concentration. Jury is out on how this works, but scientists tend to agree that it definitely does. One prevailing theory on the matter is that Mozart's works, and classical music in general, help to elevate mood. Stress, anger and anxiety all limit concentration and destroy memory recall. The elevated dopamine levels inherent in getting lost in Mozart's music, in other words, the absence of stress
3. Relaxation. Fear, stress, anger, even anxiety all seem to get swept away on a light, airy Mozart tune. This sets the framework for developing the coping skills and mental resilience in children that help adults overcome stress and avoid clinical depression and anxiety.
When you put all of these keystone attributes together the result is a confident, well adjusted individual ready to persevere and lead.
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*To learn more about the power of classical music, see Hallam, Susan. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education. 28. 269-289. 10.1177/0255761410370658.