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  • Joanna

‘M’ is for Mozart

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Before you ask, let me explain... Music therapy is not 'all about Mozart', but I love Mozart and I want to tell you why..

I remember watching the ‘Amadeus’ movie in musical school. It was a very interesting story about Mozart’s life but with unfortunately very sad ending. The whole film was interlaced with his music. Mozart's ‘Requiem’ really made an impact on me. I ended up getting the Requiem sheet music and playing the soprano parts on my piano while trying to sing along. I then got ‘The Ultimate Mozart Collection’ – set of CD’s, to surround myself with his music.

I was not the first person to be intrigued by his music.

I remember watching A. Hitchcock’s movie called ‘Vertigo’. In this movie, someone advised to treat a depressed patient with Mozart’s music. The patient was told: “Mozart is the boy for you… the one who sweeps the cobwebs away”.

Who actually was Mozart... a genius. By the time Mozart was four years old, he was playing piano, composing and performing in the royal court. By the age of eight, he was composing the most unique pieces of music. Tragically he died young, at the age of 36, but before he died, he managed to compose of hundreds pieces of music, including operas, concertos and choir pieces.

Mozart is well known for his inspiring music, but how many people know how his music affects the brain? How many people have heard of the ‘Mozart Effect’ ?

A man called Alfred Tomatis used Mozart’s music in the 1960’s and observed how it affected the brain.

Tomatis was so intrigued with the phenomenon of his music, that he started to work with special needs children using Mozart’s music as a tool. Tomatis discovered, that Mozart’s music improved listening and speech skills, developed motor, emotional and cognitive skills and also improved mental and emotional alertness. This led to Tomatis creating a music therapy method/neurosensory stimulation.

The term ‘Mozart Effect’ was adopted 30 years later, in early 1990's, after ( 30 ) years of research.

Tomatis was a qualified doctor, specialised in ear, nose and throat ( otorhinolaryngology ). He said that: “The ear builds, organizes and nourishes the nervous system” and alter discovered that by playing music at specific frequencies, we can stimulate certain parts of the brain through the ears. The parts of the brain that responded to stimulation, improved brain and nervous system function ( neurosensory stimulation ).

Some specialy trained music therapists use a piece of equipment called an Electronic Ear. The first Electronic Ear was invented by Tomatis and it was simple by design; now more advanced version are used.

The Electronic Ear was designed to ‘slice’ music into specific frequencies, filtered, reshaped and presented through the ears in rapidly alternating forms.

The Tomatis music therapy method is not currently used in Northampton, but hopefully in the future it will be available.

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