John Blanco-Losada (
Sun, 18 May 97 18:47:56 -0400

At 5/18/97 1:21 AM, ard wrote:

> Just heard...playing Mozart is very good for improving mental abilities in
>children. Also provide them with a musical keyboard early so they can
>develop their musical abilities.

Looks like you're close.

According to the Spring/Summer '97 special issue of Newsweek magazine
which was recommended in an earlier message by Ray Peck (thanks, Ray, for
the tip - this is a great introduction to the latest theories of how kids
from 0 to 3 learn about the world around them!):

"In a study published in February in the journal Neurological Research,
scientists report how spatial-temporal reasoning in 3- and 4-year-olds
was affected by weekly piano lessons. After six months, the budding
Horowitzes - all of whom scored at the national average on tests of
spatial recognition - scored 34 percent above average on this reasoning
skill. None of the other children (who had received computer keyboard
and mouse lessons, singing lessons or nothing at all) had improved. What
explains the effect? Physicist Gordon Shaw of the University of
California, Irvine, suspects that in playing the piano, "you are seeing
tho patterns work in space and time." When sequential finger and key
patterns make melodies, neural circuits that connect positions (keys) to
sounds in space and time (the melody) are strengthened. "Music training
produces long-term modifications in neural circuitry," says Shaw. What
scientists do not know is whether the effects of early music training
endure - whether the preschoolers will be math wizards in high school."

(Personal note - I studied the violin for 5 years and definitely did not
turn out to be a math whiz. Although at least some of that was probably
because I didn't do a very good job of making myself do the homework...
As an aside, I find at times that I wish I could still play.)

John Blanco-Losada "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - M. Gandhi