Listening to Classical Music Will Not Make Your Child More Intelligent

Will listening to classical music, make your child smarter? That question has been around for many years. Years ago when these studies began to be conducted, they were only done on adults. The results were that they only had a small effect on short term memory.

While there is no dispute that listening to classical music is very relaxing, it will not make your child smarter. Past studies have concluded that listening to classical music has increased the motor skills in children. However, other studies have also been conducting with reading, memory exercises and consistently putting puzzles together with the same result.

Independent studies have also been conducted that show that listening to this type of music has had an effect on the intelligence of children. It is not reliable and the result have been too insignificant for this theory to be fact. The test have only shown to make a difference for about 20 minutes. Talk about short term memory.

Whether your intention is directed towards unborn children, infants or toddlers making them smarter will simply not happen in this way. Does this mean that classical music is useless for children? Absolutely not! Classical music is most definitely soothing and relaxing. We can all use a little relaxation in our lives. This also applies to children. A misconception is that children do not have stress in their lives. That is simply not true. It is just a different kind of stress than us adults deal with on a daily basis.

In conclusion, I would like to state that while the debate will surely go on for years to come, I would recommend for you and your child listen to classical music. While it will not make your child smarter, it will relax the both of you. Not to mention the precision that goes into producing such a piece may arouse your child's interest in music of a classical nature for a lifetime.

I am a firm believer that no one single thing will make your child smarter. It is several different things that will accomplish this. A few examples are music, memory based activities and childrens books. I am a father of 4 children.

Childrens Books

Operatic and Classical Music in Dublin

Dublin, and Ireland in general, has a rich history of music. It is one of the countries whose folk music persisted in a relatively pure form after the major World Wars. An educational visit to a traditional pub or the Irish Traditional Music Archive will open up an interesting world for students. They will learn how the folk music of Ireland was often played for dancing and lends itself well to upbeat tunes played with traditional instruments such as the fiddle, harp, flute and whistle, and the Uilleann pipes. But the Irish music scene is not all about folk music.

Grand Opera

Though traditional Irish folk music has played, and continues to play, an important role in the country's social history, the music of Ireland has not stagnated over time. In fact, in 1941, the Dublin Grand Opera Society was formed to bring traditional European opera into the city. An educational visit to the headquarters at West Wing 3, Adelaide Chambers, Peter Street, will take students through the history of opera in Ireland. Irish opera began by originally casting local talent, then hosted German, French, and Italian companies through the seventies. The company was threatened with removal of funding if they did not appoint an art director in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The first incumbents of the position were British, and throughout the nineties the voluntary basis of the administration was gradually replaced by paid positions. In 1992 it was renamed Opera Ireland. The society now produces several grand-scale operas, mostly at the Gaiety Theatre. It is in the process of working with the government and Ireland's touring opera company, Opera Theatre Company, to establish Ireland's first National Opera Company, which will make opera more widely available in Dublin and throughout Ireland.

The Concert Hall

The National Concert Hall (NCH) is located at Earlsfort Terrace in Dublin, and music students will find a visit there most educational. Visit not only for the music, but to see the building itself, which was originally built in 1865 for the Dublin International Exhibition. It was later made part of the University College Dublin, and in 1981, after the college moved campuses, the building was converted and reopened as the NCH. The NCH has three main performance areas: the Auditorium, which seats 1,200; the John Field Room, which seats 250 and is often used for small recitals and as an exhibition space; and the Carolan Room, which seats 100 and is often utilised for pre-event talks. After a wander around the interesting structure, students can stay and listen to the NCH's resident RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra recently appointed a new artistic team, with Alan Buribayev as Principal Conductor.

Chamber Music

If students are on an educational visit to learn about the history of operatic and classical music and hear various performances while in Dublin, then the National Chamber Choir (NCC) is a natural inclusion. The NCC was founded by Karina Lundström and composer and conductor Colin Mawby, in 1991, as an independent, professional ensemble. In 1996, the NCC became the Choir-in-Residence at Dublin City University, which guaranteed its continuation as well as providing a venue for concerts. Since its creation, the NCC has added significantly to the collection of choral music in Ireland through its commitment to commissioning and performing new works. It is worthwhile for students to hear them either in their university home, or on tour in and around Dublin.

Angela Bowden works for STS (School Travel Service), the UK's largest educational travel company, providing school trips for secondary schools, primary schools and colleges. An educational visit with STS can encompass art/design, foreign languages, history, science/nature, geography and more, to worldwide destinations.

Free Classical Music Online - Try "Music" + "Utopia"

I believe that the origin of the term "Mutopia" in The Mutopia Project's name is "Music" + "Utopia." If I had my way, however, it would be "Muphoria," because my discovery of this resource put me on Cloud 9, and started me on my way to finding many other such resources.

In short, The Mutopia Project is a collection of more than 1,400 pieces of sheet music (with more coming all the time) that are free for you to download, print, perform, record, or even create your own editions. Put it this way: if you can find what you want in Mutopia, you will never need to go into a music store again.

They could have just as easily called it "Music To Your Wallet." But I don't suppose "Muwallet" makes any sense.

Using Mutopia is very simple. You can browse by composer, instrument group, style, or selected compilations. Or, you can use the handy little search box and search for a piece by name.

When you get to the piece you're looking for, you'll see a table, which contains links by which you can download scores in letter or A4 size, midis, or click to various kinds of additional information. Download is super easy; click on the letter or A4 links and the score loads in Adobe Reader. Print, and there you are!

Now, there are a lot of other places to get free music out here on the Wild Wild Web. A lot of those places are built on ripping off composers, arrangers, artists, and every other type of musician. I don't support that (I am a composer and arranger, after all), and neither does Mutopia.

Every piece on Mutopia has to come up to the company standard -- if it's from the classical period, it has to be from a public domain edition (that is, it has to have been written before 1923, and not only the composer but the lyricist, editor, and arranger would have to have been dead for 70 years). Mutopia's contributors tell Mutopia what sources they are transcribing from to avoid all copyright infringement issues.

As for quality, Mutopia has both transcribers and proofreaders working on their selections; it is highly unlikely that you will find Mozart's K. 545 Piano Sonata in C showing up in D on this site . . .

If something doesn't meet Mutopia's standard, copyright-wise or quality-wise, it just doesn't get on the site. And Mutopia has a reason to mind the details. Mutopia Publishing, which runs the project, does actually sell some music, and it would be putting its own bigger business at risk with sloppiness on copyright or quality issues.

Right now, Mutopia's selections tend toward smaller pieces than large ones. This is probably due to their transcribers and proofreaders being volunteers, and perhaps doing what they do for Mutopia on the time they have left over after earning a living. Therefore you will find an abundance of art songs, hymns, and single-movement-type pieces for kdyboard, guitar, chorus, and orchestra. In the keyboard area, J.S. Bach is particularly well represented.

If you need the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Mutopia doesn't yet have that. But, you can get Beethoven's Violin Concerto, in a separate download for each of its three movements. You can get (thus far) the first two movements of his Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, and several of his overtures.

You can't yet get Handel's Messiah, but you can get the "Hallelujah" Chorus for choir and orchestra.

Living composers have growing representation here as well, so if you see something you don't recognize, have a listen to the MIDI files available with each piece.

And et cetera. Perhaps the music stores won't be completely shut down by The Mutopia Project just yet, but if you take a look at their In Progress page, you'll see that many things that are missing from that complete set of things by your favorite composer are on their way.

And, if you have some time on your hands, you could help the process along.

Mutopia welcomes contributions of classical music transcriptions or new arrangements so long as the music was composed before 1923, the composer, lyricist, arranger,and editor of the manuscript from which you work have all been dead for 70 years, and no one else at Mutopia is working on the same piece.

If you have new music, Mutopia will be delighted to have you on board for free (but you would have to donate your works into the public domain, so be wise!), and you can also contact them about being included in their paid offerings.

You'll also need to download LilyPond, a sheet music typesetting program, in order to make your sheet music viewable at Mutopia. LilyPond -- particularly its latest versions -- puts forward sheet music that looks very like the old classical engraving style, so the aesthetic pleasure is high.

However, LilyPond will take just a bit of getting used to if you're familiar with Finale or Sibelius' typesetting programs. But, a discussion of that would require a separate lens. But, on LilyPond's site there is a nice tutorial to help with the learning curve.

One more thing about LilyPond . . . if perchance you have fragments of music in a large database, LilyPond can be set up to convert an entire database automatically. Just a thought for all you heavy duty music researchers out there.

Now, this possibilities for the use of this music are endless. If you are a music educator, and you'd like to introduce your students to a wide cross section of classical music without breaking the bank, you could either compile your own book or give your students links at Mutopia to download their own copies.

If you are a performer, you could download scores, make lots of concert dates (venues like public domain music too) and recordings without having to deal with the complications of figuring out who to pay royalties to, and what royalties exactly.

If you are a composer or arranger, the free food for your creativity at Mutopia would be immense. It is amazing how many popular tunes are re-mixed from classical and baroque melodies.

If you are a researcher, you can download music and cite as much as you like without fear of running afoul of fair use issues. You can also make handy compilations. Mutopia will send you the LilyPond source files if you want to edit the music to your own needs.

Obviously, if you are even the least bit business-savvy, you can find money to be made from Mutopia's resources . . .

By the way, Mutopia is not the only public domain music resource, though it probably offers the most possibilities from one spot. There are many other excellent public domain music spots, but Mutopia is a good place to start.

Deeann D. Mathews is the Creative Director of Praising Pilgrims Music, which has just released The Freedom Guide for Music Creators. More public domain music resources are linked to on the sample page of this book, at (that's also a good place to get ideas on how to make money from your finds at public domain sites). An even bigger list of public domain and free music is available in the "Web resources" section of The Free HIMbook, at

Benefits of Classical Music for Special Needs Children

For years, we've known that listening to music has benefits for children's development. CD series like those from Baby Einstein have become extremely popular with parents of babies because experts have recognized that listening to classical music is not only engaging to very young children but actually increases their brain's ability to perform spatial reasoning.

When a baby is born, he has billions of brain cells. As the baby develops, those brain cells form connections with other brain cells. When babies listen to music, especially classical music, they make strong music related connections in the brain. Over time, continued listening to classical music actually changes the way the child's mind works by creating brain pathways that would not have been there otherwise. Listening to music does not increase IQ, per se, but can make the mind perform many important tasks more easily and with greater skill.

Listening to music has been shown to prime our brains for spatial tasks, like putting together puzzles. Even adults who did not listen to music regularly as a child can experience a short-term burst in spatial capabilities after listening to music.

Why Classical Music?

Classical music has been shown to have the most impact on creating brain connections in children because of the complexity of the music. Classical music has a very complex musical structure. Studies have shown that babies as young as three months old can detect the special structures in works such as those of Mozart, Beethoven and Bach, and can recognize music they've heard before.

It is this complexity that leads researchers to believe that classical music is the best music for building these pathways in the brain. However, all music is good for the brain. Research has also shown that children who have early and frequent exposure to music are better at math, emphasizing the relationship between pathways built by listening to music and the brain's function.

Special Benefits to Children with Special Needs

We're fully aware of music's benefits to all children. But, researchers are becoming more and more aware of potential additional benefits to children with learning disorders like Down's syndrome, Autism and other learning disabilities.

Children with Autism

Autism is a neurological disorder that `ffects socialization and communication. It is a spectrum disorder that affects roughly 0.6 percent of the population, occurring four times more often in males.

There has long been a connection between autism and music. Autistic children, though deficient in language, are generally able to process music as well as children their age who do not suffer from a learning disability. This often makes music of special interest to autistic children, and there have been many case studies regarding autistic children who are musical savants.

In very practical terms, many parents of autistic children have found that listening to classical music can calm and soothe their children during bouts of acting out. Like repetitive motions, such as swinging and rocking, music can sometimes also be used to prevent outbursts by helping children to calm in advance of a potentially stressful situation. Classical music has been shown to actually calm the nervous system.

Children with Down Syndrome

One of the most important therapies for Down syndrome children is auditory therapy. Down syndrome children have great difficulty in auditory vocal processing. They have trouble learning to coordinate the movements of the lips and tongue that are required for speech. In addition, they are highly prone to ear infections, which often lead to hearing loss. When children suffer hearing loss, it further impacts their ability to speak.

Music is a key element of the auditory therapy needed by Down syndrome children. Most music therapists use classical music in auditory therapy because of how it stimulates the brain and calms the nervous system at the same time. In addition to how classical music can help improve cognitive function, it helps improve auditory function, which is of special concern to these children. Children with Down syndrome can actually improve their ability to respond to the full range of sound frequencies through sound therapy using classical music.

Other Learning Disabilities

There are studies to indicate that classical music provides benefit to all children because of its ability to create pathways in the brain, stimulate the brain and calm the nervous system. These features are particularly important to children with any sort of learning disability. Improved ability to focus, concentrate and remain calm are positive affects for children with hyperactivity disorders, Asperger's syndrome and ADD. In addition, the stimulation of the brain and creation of new pathways may help these children to improve their ability to perform certain tasks, especially spatially related tasks.

Music holds a special place in the lives of many people. Most of us have specific songs that trigger responses and memories each time we hear them. So, it's no surprise that music has a profound effect on our minds. We also now know that these effects can be used to improve our minds and our cognitive abilities, especially in children with learning disabilities.

Listen to a sample of how classical music can help your child with any learning disability such as autism, Down syndrome, or any other special need by visiting

Using Classical Music In The English As A Foreign Language Classroom

Activities for using music in TEFL

In some of my previous English as a foreign Language Teaching articles we've opened discussion over the varied uses of music in the English as a Foreign Language and other foreign language learning classrooms. Activities for using music to "time" exercises and class activities (restrictive pacing), music to help in controlling the mood of the learners (the Affective Filter hypothesis) and the effect of music on the brain itself are topics that have been previously broached.

You Call THAT Music?

What music exactly though? While some suggestions as to types of music have been offered, up to this point we haven't specifically named pieces of music actually proven to be effective in EFL class room use. I did provide some songs with links to a few vocal hits from the 70s in the article, "You Call THAT Music?" I've likewise named composers predominantly in use in EFL and ESL class rooms. Among those cited were the following classical music composers. This time however, I'm adding specific pieces of music that you can use.

o Beethoven - Sonata for Piano No. 8 in C Opus 13 "Pathetique" (Adagio Cantabile), and Sonata for Piano No. 24 in F Sharp Minor (A Therese) Opus 78

NOTE: There a free classical music radio station online featuring Beethoven at

o Mozart - Symphony No. 40 in G minor (Alegro Molto), String Quartet in G Major,

Piano Concerto No. 21 ("Elvira Madigan") Adagio, and Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor "Romance"

o Bach - Bouree in E Minor (arranged for guitar), Air on the G String, and "Aria De Capo"

o Vivaldi - "The Four Seasons" (Winter and Spring especially)

o Schubert - Serenade No. 4

o Chopin - Nocturne No. 8 in D Flat Major Opus 27, and Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat Minor Opus 9

o Tchaikovsky - Andante Cantible for Violoncello and Orchestra Opus 11

o Brahms - "Lullaby"

o Debussy - Pavane in E Minor (Arranged for Guitar)

It Boggles the Mind

This is just a drop in the bucket start. There are so many others it practically boggles the mind. If learners like a particular piece and so comment on it, I have them investigate further for an added dimension to their learning. To help you get started in this endeavor, I've provided some initial musical information for each composer. Hopefully, you'll soon enjoy using music for a variety of purposes in your foreign language learning classroom as much as I do. If you have any questions, comments or simply would like more information, please feel free to contact me.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books, English language teaching and learning information at:

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