Calif. -- Keeping Mozart in Mind,
a new, landmark book by Dr. Gordon
Shaw to be released in September,
presents the latest scientific
findings on the effects of music
on reasoning and learning, and
the real story behind the "Mozart
effect" research. Dr. Shaw,
world-renowned for his leadership
in the music and the brain studies
and co-discoverer of the "Mozart
effect", starts with the theme "music
as a window into higher brain function." Building
from that, he shows how music can
help us understand how the brain
works and how music may enhance
how we think, reason and create.
This interdisciplinary book represents over
25 years of Dr. Shaws music/brain research
and includes key information about his original
research and that of other scientists around
the world. While it offers the most comprehensive
overview of the relevant scientific research
available in one place, Keeping Mozart in
Mind is written in a style that makes this
information accessible to not only researchers
and clinicians, but also educators and parents.
Keeping Mozart in Mind is divided into five
distinct topics. Part I gives the essential
ideas of Dr. Shaw's theme that music can
enhance our ability to think and reason.
He supports this theme with history, anecdotes
and a series of interviews. Part II contains
the more technical aspects of how music enhances
learning. Made readable and accessible to
everyone, Keeping Mozart in Mind contains
a complete glossary, notes and a brief guide
at the beginning of each chapter to outline
the important points and objectives. Part
III contains all the details of the dramatic
behavior experiments that were performed
with humans involving music. Part IV presents
the results and proposed studies that are
crucial to the detailed scientific understanding
of what is happening in the brain. Part V
presents the future of music as an influence
upon higher brain function. Included in this
section is a look at education along with
Dr. Shaw's conclusion on how music might
enhance child brain development.
Keeping Mozart in Mind includes key information
about scientific research studies that have
shown some remarkable results, including:
--In March 1999, Neurological Research published
the latest study headed by Shaw, reporting
that second graders who played the piano
and the S.T.A.R. o interactive game developed
by Matthew Peterson saw their scores rise
27% on proportional math and fractions tests.
--In February 1997, a study from Dr. Shaws
laboratory, published in Neurological Research,
announced that six months of piano keyboard
training caused enhancement of spatial-temporal
reasoning in preschool children: they scored
34% higher on puzzle-solving tests.
--In November, 1993, Dr. Shaw and Dr. Francs
Rauscher published an article in Nature.
It announced that a study done with college
students showed that listening to the Mozart
Sonata for Two Pianos in D. Major (K. 448)
caused a subsequent enhancement in reasoning.
This "Mozart effect," as coined
by the media, created worldwide interest.
It quickly became part of the popular folklore
that was referred to in comic strips, advertisements,
music CDs, and more.
Excerpt from the Preface: This book is our
story of higher brain function: how humans
think, reason, and create. It is based on
a structured model of the brain that Xiaodan
Leng and I proposed in 1991; it demonstrates
how music is a window into higher brain function.
This book is not about music, but about how
music can help us understand how the brain
works and how music can enhance how we think,
reason and create. We are at the very beginning
of this quest: much additional research remains
to be done. However, I believe that we have
made considerable progress and that all the
pieces of the story presented here fit into
a coherent and compelling picture.
Excerpt from the Prologue: The ideas presented
in this book cross many boundaries, including
brain theory, neurophysiology, child development,
music cognition, education, teaching of music,
teaching of math and science, neuropathology,
psychology, and the evolution of the brain.
But why should I write this book now when
we are at the very early and controversial
stages of this quest to understand how we
think and reason by using music as a window
into higher brain function? The reason is
that I believe this book brings together
the diverse experimental data and theory
that support this model.
Let me present it as a substantial number
of pieces in a puzzle: Looking at each piece
of the puzzle, a careful thinker would have
many questions and doubts about the results
from any individual piece. Furthermore, the
pieces are not big enough to make the final
result obvious. However, by carefully examining
each piece and the relationship among the
pieces, I believe it becomes extremely likely
that we are on the right track. In fact,
I hope that this book will serve as the necessary
guide in completing the puzzle of higher
The book is accompanied by a CD-Rom that
includes Mozarts Sonata for Two Pianos in
D Major, (K.448), performed by Murray Perahia
and Radu Lupu, courtesy of Sony Classical,
and a demonstration of S.T.A.R. (Spatial-Temporal
Animation Reasoning), an interactive software
program developed by Matthew Peterson, that
was used in combination with piano lessons
in a recent study where elementary age children
showed significant improvement in the ability
to learn difficult math concepts.
D. Gordon Shaw is a professor emeritus
in the Center of Neurobiology of Learning
and Memory and the Department of Physics
at the University of California, Irvine.
Keeping Mozart in Mind is available in
bookstores September 1999, c.400pp., casebound/CD-rom
enclosed, $49.95, ISBN: 0-12-639290-0. > > > >
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