Much has been said about the so-called “Mozart Effect” – the power of the composer’s music to sharpen the memory and increase productivity in children and adults.
Several studies have famously provided evidence to support the theory, among them Frances Rauscher’s 1994 report published in Nature that revealed how a group of college students listening to ten minutes of Mozart increased their IQ scores by as much as 9 points. Undeniably intriguing, the premise still begs the question: how exactly does Mozart’s music impact so positively on the brain? Do all of his pieces have a similarly magical effect, or are certain pieces more influential than others?
According to a 2014 Nielsen’s Music 230 study, 93% of the North American population regularly listens to music, but only 15% do so at work – an unsurprising statistic given how much of the music blasting from our headphones, radios and TVs is not just attention grabbing, but attention-robbing. But what if there were certain types of music, or even better, specific songs that could untangle our thoughts when reading a novel as complex as something by Proust or Tolstoy.
Inspired by the idea that select pieces of music actually stimulate rather than stamp out mental activity, we have compiled songs proven to boost cerebral function (as well as a few musical recommendations from notable “brainiacs”) to create a playlist of audio nourishment for the mind.
Mozart – Piano Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K.448
The effects of this particular piece were the focus of Rauscher’s initial study into the Mozart Effect, but Mozart’s sonatas in general have been credited as improving test results, reducing learning time and enhancing creativity, among other benefits. Their brain boosting effect has also been supported up by none other than Albert Einstein. Einstein was aged 13 when he discovered Mozart’s sonatas and religiously played them on his violin in his spare time. When asked how he had managed to learn them so expertly without being a professional player, Einstein replied: “love is by far a better teacher than duty.” Rather than seeking scientific