How Classical Music Benefits Children With Learning Disabilities
We have long known about the ability of classical music to provide pleasure and stir up thorough emotions. Undoubtedly, music has a powerful impact on the brain. Studies have shown that classical music can also help children with special needs by a variety of meaningful improvements including reduced stress, increased IQ, and improved ability to concentrate. Further, music can make children feel more positive and enhance their creative thinking. The bottom line is that classical music can make a huge difference in the lives of those with disorders like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADD and ADHD and mental retardation.
The Mozart Effect and the strength of Music
The term “The Mozart Effect” has gone mainstream, as now there are a variety of products including everything from CDs to toys that use Mozart’s music to enhance a person’s ability to perform mental responsibilities. A wide variety of experts theorize that listening to Mozart can truly raise intelligence too. Don Campbell who wrote The Mozart Effect: Tapping the strength of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit has declared that the Mozart Effect is “an inclusive term signifying the transformational powers of music in health, education, and well-being.”
An issue of character Journal in 1993 published exceptional findings from studies at The University of California at Irvine. In one study, group of students listened to Mozart while a second group listed to a tape with suggestions for relaxation. A third test group just had 10 minutes of silence. When these students were given a test on spatial IQ, those who listened to Mozart showed to have a considerably higher spatial IQ.
Some scientists speculate that complicated sounds like classical music contributes the operation of firing patterns in the brain’s cortex. Studies have also shown that those already with Alzheimer’s disease do better on spatial IQ tests after listening to Mozart. One of the reasons that classical music is so powerful in contrast to other forms of music is that it has sequences that repeat throughout a musical piece. Often these sequences appear about every 20 or 30 seconds. Due to the fact that brain wave patterns also take place in 30-second cycles, this kind of music can provide the most powerful kind of response.
The Mozart Effect has very real implications for those with learning disorders. Listening to classical music will not only raise IQ, but it will also help children concentrate better and memorize new information. When a child hears classical music, it can create the ideal conditions for learning and creativity.
One additional raise to the implications of classical music’s positive impact on learning and the brain occurred in 1998 when the governor of Georgia Zell Miller included over $100,000 yearly in the budget for the state for tapes and CDs of classical music for all of children born in Georgia. He was persuaded to take this bold step due to the various studies that listening to classical music spurs intelligence.
Classical music can positively impact everything from emotional development to motor skills to cognitive functioning. There is an complete field of psychology called Music Therapy where therapists enhance the health of their clients by using music. Professionals like teachers, physicians and psychologists regularly refer children for music therapy. Music Therapists can already help rehabilitate people who have had strokes by the strength of music.
Kids with learning disorders like ADD, ADHD, and autism can assistance from Music Therapy, as it will help them to feel calmer and less capricious. Further, many children will feel more comfortable opening up about their feelings when they are exposed to music. At this point, therapists can help children to conquer their frustrations and assist to raise their self-esteem.
Distractions and Music
One thing that many children with learning disorders have in shared is that they are easily distracted. Different noises can take their attention away from a task at hand. However, when classical music is used therapeutically, it changes the way the ear roles and stimulates the brain.
Children with a variety of learning disorders including autism are experiencing positive results from Tomatis Listening Therapy. During therapy sessions, classical music is sent into the right ear and the sound is also vibrated by the bones in the body. One of the goals of this therapy is to get the ears in sync and re-balance the system. The philosophy behind this treatment is that it can allow its recipients to begin performing to the best of their abilities.
Many children have also improved their ADHD conditions by learning to play a music instrument. The act of practicing playing classical music and listening to it at the same time can teach kids to lengthen their attention span.
The Calming Ability of Music
When children with special needs listen to classical music, it provides a positive and relaxing experience. Remarkably, classical music can also reduce stress and ease frustrations. Further, it can reduce muscle tension and slow down the heart rate. When these changes occur, the mind is more open to learning and also to communicating with others.
One study at the Baltimore St Agnes Health Care by Raymond Bahr, MD showed that when doctors played classical music for their heart patients it had the same impact as a 10 mg measure of Valium! The implications of this study for those with special needs are clear. When children with autism, cerebral palsy, ADD, ADHD, and mental retardation are able to relax and calm down, emotional changes in their behavior become possible.