Playing classical music as your child stacks duplos, pinches play dough, or pours water into measuring cups at the kitchen sink adds pleasure to the activity and increases attention. But music listening will not increase your child’s brain power.
“The effect of listening to beloved classical music is at best small and fleeting,” says Dr. Glenn Schellenberg (University of Toronto), in his current research on active musical instruction. “Learning to play is a far better bet.”
“Learning to make music changes the brain and boosts broad academic performance, says psychologist Frances Rauscher. As for The Mozart Effect attributed to her early studies, Rauscher says, “We made no such claim!” “Findings across the board suggest it is spending money and time on music lessons and practice,” that makes a difference in brain development.
However, child psychologists agree that music listening, whether lullabies or symphonies, is soothing and comforting for our little ones. Keep playing music for your baby. Add a tub of sturdy instruments for singing, banging, and plucking. And when the time is right, add musical instruction. Making music is a powerful force for learning.
Playing along with the Mozart effect, by Melissa Healy, Orlando Sentinel March 1, 2010