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How Music Boosts Your Memory

By Pat Wyman

Have you ever noticed how your favorite music can make you feel better? Well, new research suggests that certain types of music can boost your memory, cut your company's training time and make you smarter too.

Scientists at Stanford University, in California, have recently revealed a molecular basis for music known as the "Mozart Effect", but not other music.

Dr. Fran Rauscher and her geneticist colleague H. Li, discovered that rats, like humans, perform better on learning and memory tests after listening to a specific Mozart Sonata in D. They found that various growth factors and a memory compound increased in an area of the brain that affects learning and memory.

In addition, some years before, at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Rausher found that college students scored higher on the spatial portion of an I.Q. test after listening to the Mozart Sonata for only 10 minutes! The findings were published and the "Mozart Effect" craze officially began.

Although there is still some controversy over whether the "Mozart Effect" really exists, I've done my research and am a big fan personally. I listen to certain Mozart CDs every day when I write my books.

They help me focus and concentrate, and give me the added boost of a better memory. OK, I admit, sometimes I forget where I put the car keys, but listening to these particular pieces called "Mozart Effect for Focus and Concentration" actually do help me focus better.

On a more serious note, there is substantial research showing that classical music lessons can really pay off, because music can "boost brain circuitry and increase certain mental functions".

Ultimately, you may develop the more spatial areas of the brain, and the research shows that people who have had music lessons or play an instrument perform better on many types of cognitive tests.

Major corporations such as Shell, IBM, and Dupont, along with thousands of schools and universities use music, such as certain Baroque or Mozart pieces, to cut learning time, mask irritating sounds, and increase retention of the new materials.

Many industrial corporations provide music to their employees. Dupont, for example, used a music listening program in one department that cut its training time in half and doubled the number of people trained. Another corporation using music found that clerical errors decreased by one third.

I use many type of music in my Instant Learning workshops and trainings because I find that it reduces learning time and increases memory of the material. Music activates the whole brain and makes you feel more energetic.

There is also some compelling newer evidence to show that music, used properly, can calm people with ADD or ADHD and even autism.

Researchers have discovered direct evidence that music stimulates different regions of the brain responsible for memory, motor control, timing and language. For the first time, researchers also have located specific areas of mental activity linked to emotional responses to music.

At McGill University in Montreal, neuroscientist Anne Blood, who conducted the study said, "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 underactive in neurological diseases or a variety of emotional disorders. Over time, we could retrain the brain in these disorders."

Harvard University Medical School neurobiologist, Mark Jude Tramo, says, "Undeniably, there is a biology of music. There is no question that there is specialization within the human brain for the processing of music. Music is biologically part of human life, just as music is aesthetically part of human life."

Given the exceptional benefits of listening to certain types of music, I highly recommend you add Mozart to your tool chest of rapid learning strategies. You can listen as a family, use it at work, or play it in the background when you want your to kick your memory into high gear.

Pat Wyman is the founder of, best selling author of the book Learning vs Testing : Strategies That Bridge the Gap Between Learning Styles and Test-Taking Success and the Instant Learning books and coaching series. She uses the Mozart Effect in her Instant Learning In The Workplace trainings to improve memory and cut learning time.

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