Dotty Andragogy

The amusing musings of an adult educator in the corporate training world.

Mozart Effect

on October 10, 2014

As you know, I love my training toys. Training toys and music are two of my staples on setting a positive learning environment. Usually, I play upbeat music (usually Top 40) while students are arriving and over breaks. It seems to create a more relaxed environment and encourages learners to talk to each other rather than sit in awkward silence while they wait for class to start.

Recently another instructor shared a tip with me about playing classical music IN class, during activities. According to some studies, baroque music, which is typically 50-80 beats per minute, leads to alpha brain waves in listeners, a state ideal for learning and memorizing. This is known as the Mozart Effect. Lately I’ve become a bit weary of education myths, so I did a little bit of research on the validity of the Mozart Effect, and it seems that, as with everything else, the scientific evidence is mixed. See this BBC report:

Nevertheless, it’s worth a try. Even if the evidence isn’t 100% supporting the claim, it might have a placebo effect on the learners who believe in the theory.

Plus classical music is safer… for my own physical well being it might be a good idea to switch from Top 40. Just last week I was streaming Top 40 from an online radio broadcast station, not realizing the lyrics were uncensored, then suddenly had to book it to the front of the room to stop the song when the profanities started flowing, tripping over chairs and tables in between, narrowly missing a face plant. Pretty entertaining for my students though. See, it does set a positive learning environment. They all thought it was a hoot.



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