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The Short Column: Classical Music Benefits Kids, A(nother) Study Says

By James Inverne j.inverne@classicalite.com on Jan 10, 2014 03:58 AM EST

So, here we go again--another year, another survey saying that classical music is good for kids. This one comes from the Institute of Education at the University of London. Children aged between seven and 10 were exposed to classical music at school assembly and a series of six lessons. The study found that their concentration skills were positively affected.

As my first sentence might suggest, this kind of story is hardly new. And much as we classical music fans would love to believe that the composers we love could cure the world's ills, we've been burned before by the controversial so-called "Mozart effect," the widespread belief that playing specifically Mozart's music to babies turns them into higher-performing adults.

I'm not saying that this new study is wrong. On the contrary, it makes perfect sense that the longer-form structures of classical music will be better for brain development than short-form, choppy pop formulations. Indeed, I have in the past interviewed neuro-scientists (yes, that's right, I hang out with neuro-scientists) who have said just that to me. I'm just saying it's not news. The fact that it's not news is maybe news, but in itself, it's not news.

On the other hand, what I do really like about this study is that fact that they worked with the kids on how to listen. That for me is the real magic formula. If children are able to focus on the music, to find its inner stories, to follow and be captivated by their progress, then that goes beyond helping with concentration. It becomes about finding the discipline to free the imagination. That I love.

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TagsThe Column, James Inverne, London University, Mozart Effect, classical music good for children