Saturday, April 14, 2012

"M" is for Mozart Effect

The Mozart Effect is what happens to your brain when listening to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Some say it temporarily increases spacial-temporal reasoning. Some say it increases your IQ. Some say it increases the alpha waves in your brain. Some say it is all a myth.

I've been conducting my own personal research, and for me, it works.

I've mentioned before that I have ADD, or attention deficit disorder. This is also referred to as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, inattentive type. Think of the stereotypical ADHD child - can't sit still, can't pay attention, "bouncing off the walls." With ADD, a person can be perfectly still on the outside, but their brain is "bouncing off the walls." These are the kids who sit and daydream in class. They never cause trouble. They're too busy thinking about other things.

I've also mentioned that I work as a medical transcriptionist, which involves careful listening and concentration and the ability to type quickly and accurately. ADD and MT - not the world's best combination.

Recently, I've been trying out the Mozart effect. While I am listening to doctors drone on and on about neurovascular function and esophagogastroduodenitis, I have music playing at a low, almost subliminal level. I tried making a Mozart station on Pandora. That worked somewhat, but Pandora likes to throw in all kinds of "similar" music to see if you like it, so I always had to weed out whatever wasn't Mozart. It was distracting. Then I tried making a Bach station, just to see what effect classical music in general would have. That was okay, but still distracting.

Then I found a playlist on YouTube of Mitsuko Uchida playing all the Mozart piano concertos. Bingo! Something about Mozart's concertos works to keep me focused without becoming a distraction. The best way I can describe what happens is that the music takes up all the extra room in my brain, so that what I am consciously trying to think about has less room to bounce. It's not really scientific, but it works for me, and like chicken soup, "It couldn't hurt."

This also might explain my sudden desire to start playing the piano again.


  1. Look forward to the rest of your challenge run…can’t believe we’ve had 15 days already!
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  2. I have slight ADHD too but it affects me differently in that I have to have total quiet in order to focus. Any noise at all (even Mozart) is just too distracting. I'm also a prof of sp ed and have found that students with ADHD tend to fall into one extreme (no noise) or other (noise helps them focus). Our brain is very interesting isn't it?
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around #777 on the A to Z list