The first hint of what now is called the Mozart Effect emerged from early efforts to model brain activities. In 1988, neurobiologist Gordon Shaw and his student Xiaodan Ling noted during a computer simulations that there were patterns of neurons that fire in sequences and rhythms. They decided to turn the output of the simulation into sound rather than the conventional printout. To their surprise, these patterns sounded like music.

Shaw then started reversing the process, thinking that music might somehow ‘prime’ the brain by activating similar firing patterns of nerve clusters. He started to experiment – and there was no turning back from there. Scientists from all over the world have found evidence that music does indeed influence the functioning of our brain.

“Undeniably, there is a biology of music. There is no question that there is specialisation within the human brain for the processing of music. Music is a biological part of life, just as art is an aesthetic part of human life”.

Neurobiologist Mark Jude Tramo, Harvard University Medical School

“You can activate different parts of the brain, depending on what music you listen to – so music can stimulate parts of the brain that are under active in neurological diseases or a variety of emotional disorders. Over time, we could re-train the brain in these disorders.”

Neuroscientist Anne Blood, McGill University, Montreal Harvard University Medical School

graph of body functions

Music is said to:

  • Improve test scores
  • Cut learning time
  • Calm hyperactive children and adults
  • Improve creativity and clarity
  • Help us heal faster
  • Integrate both sides of the brain for more efficient learning
  • Tap into memories and emotions
  • Structure time
  • Be an effective memory aid
  • Decrease epileptic fits
  • Improve motor skills

Tomatis’ Contribution

From the work of Tomatis, we can conclude that:

  1. There is direct relationship between the way we perceive and interpret sound and our sense of wellbeing.
  2. Tiredness, problems with concentration and memorisation and a general lack of interest in life can be related to an inability to perceive higher frequencies.
  3. Motor skills and bodily rhythms are related to the functioning of our ears.
  4. By improving the way we listen, we not only understand and communicate better with others but also improve the understanding of ourselves, our own motivations.
  5. As much as our eyes can be seen ‘the window’ to the soul, our ears are the ‘door’ to the soul
  6. By improving the way we listen, we energise ourselves and become more open and present.