Brain Info

Research Proves the Benefits of Music


For the unborn child, classical music, played at a rhythm of 60 beats per minute, equivalent to that of a resting human heart, provides an environment conducive to creative and intellectual development. (Dr. Thomas Verny, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child)

Prenatal exposure to classical music leads to post-natal acceleration of musical and speech development. (Donald Shelter, University of Rochester, 1989)

When babies in the womb are played Vivaldi and Mozart at 55-70 beats per minute, fetal heart rate steadies and kicking declines. (Michelle Clements, City of London Maternity Hospital, as reported in Medical Tribune, March 23, 1978)

Neo-natal Intensive Care Units (NICU)

Premature infants exposed to lullabies in the NICU needed 16% less time to reach the weight criterion for discharge. (Verdeau-Prailles, 1985)

Lullaby music played in the NICU has been shown to lessen the episodes of oxygen desaturation. (J. Caine, as reported in Journal of Music Theory, 1991)

Three studies have shown a 3-5 day earlier discharge from the NICU when babies were exposed to music. (J. Caine, as reported in Journal of Music Theory, 1991) (Coleman, Pratt and Abel as presented at the International Society for Music in Medicine Symposium, October 1996) (J.M. Standley as presented at the International Society for Music in Medicine Symposium, October 1996)


Music aids in memory development and retrieval as early as three months of age. (St. John’s University and Iona College, 1997)

Preschoolers who studied piano performed 34 per cent better in spatial and temporal reasoning ability than preschoolers who spent the same amount of time learning to use computers. (Rauscher, Shaw, as reported in Neurological Research, February 1997)

Preschoolers who took singing and keyboard lessons scored 80 per cent higher on object-assembly tests than students at the same preschool who did not have the music lessons. (Rauscher & Shaw, as reported in Symphony Sep.-Oct. 1996)

After eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers demonstrated a 46 per cent boost in their spatial reasoning IQ. (Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship, Rauscher, Shaw, Levine, KY and Wright, University of California, 1994)

Disadvantaged preschoolers display dramatic improvements in spatial reasoning ability after music training. (Rauscher & Shaw, University of California)


An in-depth Harvard University study found evidence that spatial-temporal reasoning improves when children learn to make music, and this kind of reasoning improves temporarily when adults listen to certain kinds of music, including Mozart. The finding suggests that music and spatial reasoning are related psychologically (i.e., they may rely on some of the same underlying skills) and perhaps neurologically as well. A relationship between music and the strengthening of math, dance, reading, creative thinking and visual arts skills was also cited. (Winner, Hetland,Sanni, as reported in The Arts and Academic Achievement – What the Evidence Shows, 2000)

30 minutes of daily music instruction for one year was credited for increased perceptual-motor skills and creative thinking tests on first grade students. (K.L. Wolff, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan, 1979)

Students in two Rhode Island elementary schools given a sequential, skill-building music program showed a marked improvement in math skills. (Gardiner, Fox, Jeffry, and Knowles, as reported in Nature, May 23, 1996)

At risk children who participated in an arts program that included music showed significant increases in overall self-concept. (N.H. Barry, Auburn University, 1992)

Listening to Baroque music while studying can enhance one’s ability to memorize spellings, poetry, and foreign words. (The Mozart Effect,® Don Campbell, 1997)

Young Adult

Students who study music scored higher on both the verbal and math portions of the SAT than non-music students. (College Entrance Examination Board as reported in Symphony, Sep-Oct 1996)

Listening to Mozart’s Piano Sonata K448 was found to significantly increase spatial scores of college students on IQ tests. (Rauscher & Shaw, University of California, as reported in Nature)

In a study of medical school applicants, 66 per cent of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. Only 44 per cent of biochemistry majors were admitted. (Lewis Thomas, as reported in Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994)


The very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians. (Grant Venerable, The Center for the Arts in the Basic Curriculum, New York, 1989)

The University of Washington reported in a study of ninety people editing a manuscript, that accuracy in the group listening to classical music increased by 21.3 per cent.

AT&T and DuPont have cut training time in half by using creative music programs.

Equitable Life Insurance increased the output of transcribers by 17 per cent after introducing music to the office.

Mississippi Power & Light raised efficiency in the billing department by 18.6 per cent after instituting a nine-month office listening program. (University of Washington, Business Music: A Performance Tool for the Office/Workplace, 1991)


Listening to music can increase levels of interleukin-1 (IL-1) in the blood from 12.5 to 14 per cent. Interleukins are a family of proteins associated with blood and platelet production, lymphocyte stimulation and cellular protection against AIDS, cancer and other diseases. (Michigan State University as reported in The Mozart Effect,® Don Campbell, 1997)


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