Student stress soothed by the music of Mozart?

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    By Stephanie Staples

    Many students struggle with the stress that accompany their rigorous schedules and high-maintenance lifestyles. A possible release for these struggles may be found in the magic of Mozart.

    In 1993 a study published in the scientific magazine, “Nature,” indicated that there might be a correlation between listening to Mozart and student performance. The Mozart Effect was brought to light when neuroscientist, Fran Rauscher and her colleagues, found a correlation between the effect of college students listening to Mozart”s Sonata in D Major and an increase in their spatial reasoning.

    Up-to-date research into this connection continues today. The Music Intelligence Neural Development institute (M.I.N.D.) persists in this study using many of the scientists who began the initial research into the correlation.

    According to M.I.N.D. this spatial-temporal reasoning is basically “making a mental image and thinking ahead in space and time, as in chess, music or math.”

    There has been some controversy regarding this claim. However, according to the NewScientist.com the research continues to support the theory. NewScientist.com reporter Emily Singer wrote the article, “Molecular basis for Mozart effect revealed.”

    In the article she said, “New research has revealed a molecular basis for the ”Mozart effect”- the observation that a brief stint of Mozart, but not other music, may improve learning and memory.”

    BYU offers a music room in the testing center that may help students as the theory suggests. Over 10 years ago in relation to a research project BYU began offering an alternate testing room at the testing center. The room provides classical music for the students as they take their tests. Mandy Parker, 21, a senior from Tomball, TX, majoring in elementary education, thinks the room helps her focus as she takes her tests.

    “The music drowns out all the little noises and I am able to concentrate,” Parker said.

    The alternate room is located upstairs in the testing center and is available in the fall and winter semesters.

    If students are looking to test the theory and see what advantages classical music holds for them they can do so this weekend as the Utah Symphony exhibits Mozart”s work as part of their Masterworks Series. In the performance titled “Virtuoso Mozart,” they will highlight Mozart”s Piano Concerto No. 9. This concerto defies many of Mozart”s former paradigms for tempo, meter, key and mood.

    Student discount tickets are available for the performance at $8. Students may purchase two tickets per ID card and should arrive at Abravanel Hall at least 30 minutes before the performance.

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