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Christopher Nicklin

8/12/13
CD 361 Online
At the moment a child is born they are exposed to sounds all around them. In the
mass of the cacophony there is organization and patterns within it. Whether it is the
acceleration of a car to the chirp of the birds there is patterns of sound. As such the
human brain is trying to make sense of it all. The brain is always trying to understand.
There is one form of sound that is built on many complicated patterns. This would be
music. Its complex interaction of time and sound has infatuated people for thousands of
years. Music has been a source of adoration for years because of the benefits of anyone
who listens to it. Specifically, young children could have great development in their own
cognitive and language ability by listening to classical music.
The question someone may ask is why is classical music more beneficial for my
child rather than say the blues. The biggest reason is that classical music is built on the
idea of developing ideas and complex patterns through transformation of ideas, or in
music terms variation. This is something most unique to classical music and not any other
style except maybe jazz, when done right. These variations are simple but the brain is
constantly search and looking for these patterns to make sense of the music. For example,
one could take a short idea and augment the time so it takes twice the amount of time to
complete the idea. Then they could use that idea and use the notes as the underlying bass
structure for the rest of the music. Another way to vary music is to make a musical idea
smaller but then sequence the notes so a person would have the notes repeated but at
different registers. These are just two of a vast toolbox of ways that classical music uses

patterns to make to listener focus in order to understand the music. This is something that
classical music has that others do not have. Yes all music has patterns, whether it is Lady
Gaga with her techno beats or hip-hop with its complex grooves. However, none of this
popular music that we have today really varies the music to any degree that classical
music does. In a pop song once a person hears the theme, main tune, they will hear it
unaltered at least fifteen or so times. It is simple and that is why people listen to pop more
than classical music, because it takes active listening to understand classical music.
People like Beethoven and Bach were the grand masters of varying music and that is why
they are the most beneficial to listen when young.
Bach has been widely considered the greatest master of music the world has ever
seen. His ability to create patterns and manipulate the music is a step beyond anything
anyone can perceive. He is the Shakespeare to music. If you look at one moment of time
in his music it is somehow always related to another within the same piece. However,
because he was the master lots of his music is hard to understand unless listening to it
from an early age. According to researchers in Tel Aviv premature babies prefer to listen
to Mozart rather than Bach (Lebrecht). They reached this conclusion because metabolic
rate in the babiesdropped lower with Mozart than with Bach. This information does not
surprise me in the least. It confirms a lot of my suspicions. Mozart is much easier to
understand. It was a different time of music where it was just simpler. Because of this the
music is less stressful to listen and a baby that is premature can understand the music a
lot easier, which would put them at ease. A regular baby would have a more developed
mind so as time would go on their metabolic rate would go lower if listen to Bach,
because they would understand it that much better. In other studies when the brain was

exposed to classical music all parts of the brain fired not just the auditory parts. The
brains motor function and limbic parts of the brain also were active (Vinther). Just in this
one study it proves that children that listen to higher-level music not only develop
auditory listening skills but also develop their emotions as well as coordination with
motor function. This is part of the reason why people dance to music, because it activates
the motor function in our brains. Another interesting piece of information the study
revealed is that the timbre, quality of sound the instruments make, affect the listeners
creativity centers in the brains. Other studies in an article by Ritter show that music gives
pleasure, positive reinforcement, to the listener. And as stated in Born to Talk positive
reinforcement helps develop language like in theories by behaviorist B.F. Skinner. One
final study showed that children who do active listen to classical music presented more
on task behavior then children who did not (Sims). This is not surprising. Children who
work on their listen skills, through classical music would of course do better at following
directions at school and learn things faster. If a child can comprehend composers like
Bach they will be able to process at a hire rate then a child who did not spend their time
learning how to listen. Before a child can learn how to speak they must learn how to
listen and interpret the things they hear. This is one of the things classical music really
has to offer.
Classical music or music in general should be listen to by children. Not only does
it help them expand their ability to listen and understand patterns but also gives them a
chance to start learning a language and how to organize it. Music is a language that we
manipulate to give meaning to our thoughts and emotions conveying an idea. This is very
symbolic and takes higher level thinking for humans to comprehend. For example in

classical music there is the idea of phrases. The first phrase is usually ended on a half
cadence. This leaves the listener to want more or the idea to finish. In the world of
language it basically acts as a question or a sentence that ends in a comma. The next
phrase ends in a final cadence, which is more final than a half cadence. This acts like an
answer or the predicate to a sentence. A group of phrases are put together to make a
section. All of these phrases in a good piece of music are related and help create a
section. In language a paragraph is like a section in music. All the ideas relate to the main
idea in the paragraph. If they do not the paragraph does not make sense. All the
paragraphs need to relate to the thesis where in music that would be the main theme. All
these things are most prevalent in classical music, which has been developing this
language for over 600 years. Music helps children organize their thoughts in language
because thoughts in music must be organized or else they are incomprehensible. Music is
language just like French or English. It deals in phrases that are sentences. Each sentence
interacts with another in order to create a conversation. Music should be learned,
organized, and listened to like a second language.
Classical music, gives youth a chance to really break down and relate the patterns
in their mind, while in pop music there no pattern to really understand. In pop music what
is presented is what it is and not varied or disguised for the child to discover. It is given
on a silver platter. Anything that comes easy is not worth learning because it does not
give the learner an opportunity to grow. Early adolescence not only grow their mind but
also construct the identity of who they are in social groups (Hoffman). Music not only
grows the ability to learn language but also shows evidence in constructing whom a
person is. Children may even choose their friends based on what type of music they listen

to. Because classical music is viewed as an upper class affair children will gravitate to
higher social groups and have a better chance of obtaining better social standing. If
children listen to music at an early age, especially to classical music, it will give them an
edge that will help them mature on almost ever level. In the book Outliers the author
speaks about how the smallest differences in the begging of our lives make the biggest
changes to our futures because of the compound results that follow. Music is one of those
things that can compound are ability to function in the future. It teaches listening, motor,
emotional, and creative skills. Other arts and languages only activate the brain on one or
maybe two of those levels. Classical music does it everywhere. It is amazing how
important a simple act of listen to a little Bach could have on a childs life.

Bibliography
Dartt, K. (2009). Effects of Background Music on Preschoolers' Attention. n.p.:
ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing.

DeStefanis, R. (2004). The Effect of Passive Listening on Beginning String


Students' Instrumental Music Performance. n.p.: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations
Publishing.

Hoffman, A. R. (2008). "Like who you are": socially constructed identity in the middle
school band. New York: UMI Dissertation Publishing.

Lebrecht, N. (n.d.). A new Mozart Effect: premature babies prefer him to Bach.
ArtsJournal: Daily Arts News. Retrieved July 22, 2013, from
http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/07/a-new-mozart-effect-premature-babiesprefer-him-to-bach.html

Ritter, M. (n.d.). The Brain Responds To Music The Same Way As Eating. Breaking
News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2013, from
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/10/study-love-music-thank-a-_n_806814.html

Sims, W. L. (2005). Effects of free versus directed listening on duration of individual


music listening by prekindergarten children. Journal of Research in Music Education,
53(1), 78-86. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1094039?
accountid=7285

Vinther, D. (n.d.). How music touches the brain | ScienceNordic. ScienceNordic.


Retrieved July 22, 2013, from http://sciencenordic.com/how-music-touches-brain

Appendix
I used proquest to find an article or two. I also used google to find a lot of
information. The terms to find results in these search engines were: babies, classical,
music, development, and learning. I had both primary and secondary sources. Hoffmans
book Like Who You Are is a primary source on their findings. Everything else was pretty
much an article on someone elses research stating the findings.