Sarah and I attended a Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance Friday night with some extra tickets my dad had. This got me thinking about the need to play classical music to my baby. After all, everyone knows about the Mozart effect, where playing classical music stimulates alpha brain waves and, over time, improves your I.Q. Everyone knows babies and children should be exposed to classical music, especially Mozart. I just saw a large collection of Mozart's music on 40 CD's at Half Price Books the other day, but it was $100, and, money being tight and about to become tighter, I was figuring I would have to stick to our local classical radio station, WRR.
Well, it turns out, according to the above link, that the Mozart effect might just possibly have been exaggerated. In fact, it might actually be a statistical insignificance.
Boy, do I feel stupid. "Alpha waves"? Sounds like something somebody made up. (According to wikipedia, such waves do exist.) How could I have been taken for a ride like this?
Of course, I learned about the Mozart effect in public school, from at least two teachers, whom I knew I could trust. One was my calculus and pre-calculus teacher, and another was my English teacher. Neither one ever spoke a word about the Mozart effect being questioned or disputed. It was something everybody knew.
This just makes me angry and strengthens my resolve to educate my children myself. My children will learn about topics like the Mozart effect from sources like Wikipedia, where people have argued and debated over the subject, where multiple sources of information are open to public examination and criticism, where critical thinking is encouraged rather than just swallowing every pet theory that comes around.
My children will probably still listen to Mozart. But everyone in our family will have our eyes wide open.