Much has been said about the power and benefits of music, and classical music in particular.
In ancient China, it was believed that music could heal. In fact the Chinese character for medicine came from the character for music.
“The Mozart Effect,” a term coined in 1991 by French researcher Alfred A. Tomatis, is the idea, based on a number of studies, that listening to Mozart improves cognitive ability.
Also in the 1990s, the late Masaru Emoto, a Japanese doctor of alternative medicine, performed experiments with water. He found that water subjected to positive words or classical music formed beautiful crystals when frozen; and that water subjected to negative words or heavy metal music formed misshapen, irregular crystals.
Another study found classical music lowered crime rates. In 2003, London officials reported a 33 percent reduction in robberies and 37 percent reduction in vandalism when they piped in classical music into the Elm Park tube station.
Today, music therapy is a growing field that has been used to treat patients with epilepsy, autism, dementia, and countless other conditions. In 2016, a German study found that compositions by Mozart and Strauss reduced blood pressure and heart rate.
Beyond simply entertaining us, music clearly impacts our lives.
Many parents would like to expose their children to classical music. However, it can be an intimidating prospect, especially if the parents didn’t grow up listening to classical music or don’t know much about it.
Anthony Rudel, station manager of 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston, and executive director of Classical.org offers some insight for parents looking to introduce their children to the benefits of classical music. Here’s what he said.
The Epoch Times: Why is it important to expose children to classical music?
Anthony Rudel: There’s a richness and depth to classical music that opens children’s minds to imagination, exploration, and intellectual curiosity. There is also a chemical reaction in the brain that classical music creates, that makes the brain itself more open to knowledge.
The Epoch Times: What advice would you give parents who don’t know much about classical music but would like to introduce it to their children?
Mr. Rudel: Classical music is all around us. You’ll hear it in TV commercials, on the internet, and on the radio. Find something that you find beautiful and share that musical experience with your children. I suggest introducing classical music to children as entertainment, not as education.
The Epoch Times: What tips, steps, or resources would you recommend for parents to expose their children to classical music?
Mr. Rudel: Find a stream of music you like online and allow it to become a part of your life. Start with ClassicalWCRB.org, which features four centuries of music. Or try our newly relaunched Classical.org, the WGBH Educational Foundation’s digital initiative to make classical music accessible and relevant to all. Classical.org [recently] transformed into a digital destination for holiday music, so there are great seasonal offerings there as well.
The Epoch Times: In the beginning, what pieces or composers would you recommend parents focus on?
Mr. Rudel: Start with some early compositions by Mozart and let your children know that he wrote these works when he was just a young child himself. Some of the greatest composers also lived great lives. If your child likes history, this is another way to begin to explore classical music.
I’d also recommend playing some exciting choral works, shorter pieces, and frequently changing up the styles to find what you and your children like. Most importantly, remember to make it entertaining and not strictly educational.