The work of Don Campbell (1989) entitled: “The Mozart Effect” relates the story of Campbell’s healing as well as many other healings through sound and music. The music of Mozart is healing to human beings as well as other life forms. It is reported in the work entitled: “Music Stimulates Mental Growth, Experts Assert” published in the Boston Herald (2002) that Don Campbell states: “What we do to stimulate the brain through music lasts a lifetime. Parents can increase verbal, emotional and kinesthetic (movement) intelligence with music. My work is to show how music actually is a form of nutrition for the brain.” (Nissman, 2002)
According to Campbell, the Mozart Effect “does not only reflect Mozart’s music. it’s the importance of auditory stimulation and the importance of having an auditory environment for families in the home.” (Nissman, 2002) Campbell is noted as having additionally stated that several studies “have shown that playing Mozart seems toe raise the IQ significantly if played 10 minutes before the task…you can stimulate the lazy student.” (Nissman, 2002) Campbell warns against over-stimulation stating: “If a child is born into a home with a couple of siblings, computers, a TV, a boom box and in their room there’s a large air conditions, this baby’s going to be in auditory overload. In this day and age, a quiet environment as well as great stimulation are important.” (Nissman, 2002)
I. The MOZART EFFECT EXAMINED
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy born in 1756 and the composer of in excess of six hundred major compositions, which included piano sonatas and concertos, operas, symphonies, and other various musical compositions. The melodies, rhythms, and frequency range which is quite high is a stimulant to the brain regions relating to creativity and motivation. Mozart’s work has been stated in research findings to calm the individual listening as well as improving the individuals’ spatial perception while simultaneously enabling the individual listening to more clearly express themselves.
The work of Don Campbell entitled: “The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit” is said to provide “conclusive evidence that music; particularly Mozart’s music can be used to reduce high blood pressure and anxiety. Music can break up cancer cells in our bodies and can help to heal mental illnesses. Scientists concluded that preferred music may produce a positive emotional experience that can release hormones which crate a healing effect in the body.” (Campbell, 1997) in fact, Baltimore’s hospital coronary care units director claims that thirty minutes of classical music has the power to produce the same effect on the individual as approximately ten milligrams of valium would produce. (Campbell, 1997; paraphrased) Autistic children have been shown to interact more normally with their parents after music therapy. Campbell writes in the ‘Overture’ section of his book:
What is this magical medium that moves, enchants, energizes and heals us? In an instant, music can uplift our soul. It awakens within us the spirit of prayer, compassion and love. It clears our minds and has been known to make us smarter. Music can dance and sing our blues away. It conjures of memories of lost lovers or deceased friends. It lets the child in us play, the monk in us pray…It helps the stroke patient find language and expression. Music is a holy place, a cathedral so majestic that we can sense the magnificence of the universe, and also a hovel so simple and private that none of us can plumb its deepest secrets.” (Campbell, 1997)
In his book, Campbell cites a study conducted by a French musician and teacher, Fabien Maman which makes the claim that cancer cells are killed by music which doesn’t harm healthy cells.” (Shulgold, 1998) While the Mozart Effect is doubted by some it is stead that Weinberger believes that “recovery time in a hospital is faster (with music). We know music is good at lowering blood pressure.” (Shulgold, 1998) Beverly Nadler writes: “The unified field of energy is made up of light, and sound and color are the first manifestations of light. The higher the vibration, the closer we come to light. ‘Enlightened’ beings are drawn with a halo of light around them to show their high state of consciousness. Perhaps you’ve notice that when you feel joy or faith or love – all of which are high vibration emotions – you also feel ‘lighter’.” (Nadler, nd)
II. STUDIES CONDUCTED on the MOZART EFFECT
The work of Rausher, Shaw and Ky (1993) reports research examining whether cognitive ability could be increased through exposure to certain music. The study was conducted among thirty-six college-aged individuals who each listened ten minutes in three conditions: (1) piano sonata by Mozart (sonata for two pianos in D, K448); (2) a tape of relaxation instructions; or (3) silence for the purpose of examining whether these conditions brought about an improvement to the spatial performance of the participants in the study. This study reports that the participants were testing immediately following each condition and that spatial/temporal reasoning were measured using subtests from a standard intelligence battery of tests, the Stanford-Binet Test. The study is stated to “establish the term ‘The Mozart Effect’.” (Linton, 1999) the Mozart Effect is “the idea that exposure to classical music, (especially the music of Mozart) improves intelligence.” (Bangerter and Heath, nd; p. 3) This idea has been one of a popular nature although the scientific results are still somewhat controversial.
The work of Michael Vollero entitled: “Nurturing the Body and Mind in Physical Education with Mozart” relates that school and communities have adopted innovative strategies for improving academic achievement among students and specifically stated by Vollero is that: “Scholars are continuously seeking that magical answer to make students improve their intellect.” (2007) Vollero states that in order to “develop a revolutionary challenge” that it is necessary that a fruitful environment for learning be designed and secondly to understand the design of the brain and the brain functions in learning. Vollero’s study familiarizes the reader with “neural connections and how the brain transforms sound into electrical messages.” (Vollero, 2007) Additionally explained by Vollero are how ‘specific neurotransmitters (chemical stimulus) are cultivated through physical exercise together with setting a musical environmental that stimulates ‘The Mozart Effect’ can improve learning.” (2007) it is stated by Vollero “…together with physical activities and music, educators can develop strategies that extend instructional strategies by deciphering new learning paradigms with the mind and the human body.” (2007)
Vollero reports that Leng and Shaw from the University of California state the suggestion that “the brain starts out with a certain connective patterns or circuitry in its cells, called neurons, which is highly structured in time and space. Music may ‘excite’ and strengthen these neural patterns in some way and prepare the brain for executing higher brain functions.” (2007) Vollero further relates another study that examined spatial intelligence using a variety of scores of music “while viewing sixteen abstract figures on an overhead screen for one minute each. The exercise tested whether seventy-nine students, could tell how the items would look when they were unfolded. Music selected for this study came from Mozart, Phillip Glass, a dance piece, mixed sounds, an audiotape story and finally silence.” (2007) Findings from this study are stated to be ‘remarkable’ as “the researchers found that listening to Mozart achieved the highest scores. This suggests that listening to Mozart helps organize the firing patterns of neurons in the cerebral cortex, especially strengthening creative right brain processes associated with spatial-temporal reasoning. In other words listening to Mozart can improve your concentration and thus enhance your talent to produce intuitive leaps.” (2007) While the positive effect on spatial IQ scores for the Mozart group was noted as being brief still those scores were “eight to nine points higher than that of the other two groups.” (Vollero, 2007)
The work of Scheufele (2000) is reported to have made an examination of “…whether effects of individual elements of relaxation could be measured and whether there were specific effects or whether relaxation resulted from generalized relaxation response.” (Scheufele, 2000) the study was conducted among 67 male volunteers who were healthy and “exposed to a stress manipulation condition and then to a) progressive relaxation; b) music; c) attention control; or d) silence.” (Scheufele, 2000) All four groups are stated to have shown “…a reduction in psychological arousal following their relaxation or control condition as well as a decreased heart rate. However, progressive relaxation resulted in the greatest effects on behavioral and self-report measures of relaxation.” (Scheufele, 2000) Scheufele’s findings suggests: “…cognitive cues provided by stress management techniques contribute to relaxation.” (Scheufele, 2000)
The Mozart Effect is explored in the work of Will Dowd in the work entitled: “The Myth of the Mozart Effect” published January 1st 2008, which relates that whenever Einstein was “stalled on an intractable problem…” he would reach for his violin and would play in order to “disentangle his brain and clarify the question at hand. Mozart especially did the trick. Einstein loved Mozart’s highly organized, intensely patterned sonatas. He felt, as many before him, that music and the reasoning intellect were linked. Music and his scientific work…were ‘born of the same source.'” (Dowd, 2008) a report conducted by the German Ministry of Education in 2007 while failing to uphold music having a long-term influence on intelligence did state findings of a “link between musical training and IQ development.” (Dowd, 2008) Dowd additionally reports that “…brain mapping has revealed that professional musicians have more grey matter in their right auditory cortex than non-musicians, as if practicing an instrument flexed a muscle in the brain.” (2008) Dowd states: “It seems increasingly likely that the long-term practice of playing music, rather than merely listening, can have the kind of impact suggested by the Mozart Effect. Einstein, after all, organized his mind by playing the violin, not listening to a recording.” (Dowd, 2008)
III. ANCIENT and NEW UNDERSTANDING of VIBRATION and MUSIC
The work of Bangerter and Heath (2005) entitled: “The Mozart Effect: Tracking the Evolution of a Scientific Legend” examines the place of ‘The Mozart Effect’ in terms of how ideas are spread through the culture or how those ideas are diffused within society and moreover how ideas are diffused through culture across a period of time that defies experimental study. Bangerter and Heath state specifically:
All evidence suggests that ME [the Mozart Effect] has become a scientific legend. It seems to be a circumscribed manifestation of a widespread, older belief that has been labeled ‘infant determinism’ [citing Kagan, 1998], the idea that a critical period in early development has irreversible consequences for the rest of the child’s life. It is probably also anchored in order beliefs in the beneficial powers of music (e.g., soothing the savage beast).” (Bangerter and Heath, 2005; p. 11)
The work of Melanie Braun entitled: “Exploring the Efficacy of Vowel Intonations” relates a study conducted for the purpose of exploring “…the Rosicrucian teaching that intonations formed from vowels, consonants, and specific musical tones are truly beneficial to the persons intoning and hearing them – in fact, even capable of stimulating and affecting cells and centers in the body, and in the space in which they are intoned.” (2005; p.1) Braun writes that it is taught in the ancient mysteries that in the beginning:
the Creative Force ‘spoke’ and this sound, this vibration, this Word, became the unit of all existence: “The six days were created [through the Word] being lights emanating from the Word and illuminating the world.” As created being, we embody this primeval sound in our physical, mental, and spiritual selves. Our very bones, blood vessel, and nerves are singing the song of the universe: “From the deepest interior of the atom there are shrill tones dozens of octaves above the highest tones of a violin. This is the music of the atomic nucleus…this is the symphony of life, this unimaginably complex tapestry of music that is sounding within us every moment of our life.” (Andrews, 1996; as cited in Braun, p. 2)
Braun writes that traces of vocal expression “are first found in our animal forebears: studies of animal behavior show that ‘vocalizations reflect changes in the signaler’s affective state, emotions and motivation…” (Braun, 2005; p. 12) Laws of music were found engraved on temple walls…in ancient Egypt…” (Braun, 2005; p.13) the Egyptians believed that “a word or vibration is capable of actually disintegrating matter, due to the relationship of the vibrations of that word with the vibratory state of the matter involved. This was central to the soul of Egyptian magic.” (Braun, 2005; p.13) Braun relates that the ancient Egyptian ritual for preserving the Pharaoh’s influence after death consisted of a musical enchantment: ‘The Hierophant made the seven notes [which corresponded to the astral waves of the seven planets] resonate magically…and then the atmosphere of the tomb was animated by lines of subtle energies [forming] a wondrous fluidic spiral…” (Godwin, Mystery, pp. 70-71; as cited in Braun, 2005; p.13)
This certainly brings to mind the DNA and the spiral within the human DNA. Hebrew letters and words are taught in study of the Kabbalah to be sound that “when properly manipulated’ can bring one to ecstasy.” (Braun, 2005; p.13) the first principal in Rosicrucian teaching holds that everything is vibratory in nature, from the lowest cell to the densest matter to the most transparent space. Indeed, this is a law of physics. Sound is the articulation of vibration, heard by human beings at certain auditory levels. Each sound also has its counterparts in harmonics of overtones, vibrating sympathetically into the highest octaves. The teaching states that this is how intonations connect us with higher energies and enhanced state of meditation.” (Braun, 2005; p.14) the examination of esoteric principles hidden in the ages past has been the focus of Science for some time now and particularly “with the advent of modern particle physics and quantum mechanics, many principles of vibration, which were once the realm of mystery schools have become scientific theory.” (Braun, 2005; p.14)
Fundamental forces of nature in quantum physics are “vibratory, the ‘music’ created by the combination of waves is matter.” (Braun, 2005; p.14) the most relevant principle of modern physics in relation to the Mozart Effect is likely that of ‘resonance’ which “means ‘resounding’ and refers to the sympathetic response of one vibrating object to another vibrating object.” (Braun, 2005; p.14) the work of Swartz and Russek entitled “The Living Energy Universe” examines the principle of resonance through using two tuning forks and claim:
resonance is a two-way street: not only does tuning fork B. pick up vibrations from a, which is sounding, it also returns vibrations to a over and over again, resulting in a cumulative state of vibration within the tuning forks.” (Braun, 2005; p.14) Braun relates that the variety of the combination “of vibratory frequencies in the body respond more immediately with each intonation session, made more powerful when coupled with visualization techniques and directive thoughts.” (2005; p.14)
SUMMARY and CONCLUSION
Campbell resolutely claims that the Mozart Effect is real and powerful in bringing and directly linked to healing and learning capabilities and this has been shown in research to be true to a great extent however researchers such as Bangeter and Heath (2005) believe that stronger than the Mozart Effect is the belief in the effect of music upon the individual. Deeper research further back into ancient history shows that there has historically and traditionally been a belief in the effect that vibrations, tone and music have upon the individual and there is even a connection in Egyptian magic that points to the effect of vibration and tone on the human DNA which is supported in some research findings in this areas. This is a new area of study in the recent history of mankind and one that is not yet fully developed nor yet fully understood by researchers. In order to make his book more effective and seemingly more informed, Campbell should have delved deeper and further back into the roots of music and its association with effects on the physiology and psychology of the individual.
Bangeter, Adrian and Health, Chip (2005) the Mozart Effect: Tracking the Evolution of a Scientific Legend. Group de Psychologie Appliquee, Universite de Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Braun, Melanie (2005) Exploring the Efficacy of Vowel Intonations. The Rose+Croix Journal 2005. Vol. 2. Online available at http://www.rosecroixjournal.com/issues/2005/articles/vol2_11_21_braun.pdf
Donald Hatch Andrews, the Symphony of Life (Unity Books, 1966), pp. 55, 58.
Dowd, Will (2008) the Myth of the Mozart Effect.- the Skeptic Magazine. 1 Jan 2008. Online Highbeam Research at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1419874671.html
Linton, Michael (1999) the Mozart Effect: Psychological Effects of Mozart’s Music. First Things: Journal of Religion and Public Life 1 Mar 1999. Online available at Highbeam Research:
Nadler, Beverly (nd) if We ‘Create with our Mind, Do Physical Things Matter? Online available at http://www.beverlynadler.com/assets/articles/articledophysicalthingsmatter.htm
Nissman, Cara (2002) Music Stimulates Mental Growth, Experts Assert. 17 Nov 2002. The Boston Herald. Online Highbeam Research available at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-94307025.html
Scheufele PM. Effects of progressive relaxation and classical music on measurements of attention, relaxation, and stress response. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 23 (2): 207-28. Apr 2000. Research Updates Online Issue 63. Available at http://positivehealth.com/permit/Updates/rudstres1.htm
Shulgold, Marc (1998) the Mozart Effect Does Music Make You Smarter, Calmer, Healthier? Denver Rocky Mountain News 16 August 1998. Online available at Highbeam Research at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-16945103.html
Vollero, Michael (2007) Nurturing the Body and Mind in Physical Education with Mozart. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 6 Jan 2007. Online available at http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/2001/6/01.06.07.x.html#c
The Mozart Effect
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