An excerpt from a 1996 Newsweek article called “Your Child’s Brain”

Newsweek, 1996, by Sharon Begley

“At UC Irvine, Gordon Shaw suspected that all higher-order thinking is characterized by similar patterns of neuron firing. …So Shaw and Frances Rauscher gave 19 preschoolers piano or singing lessons. After eight months, the researchers found, the children “dramatically improved in spatial reasoning,” compared with children given no music lessons, as shown in their ability to work mazes, draw geometric figures and copy patterns of two-color blocks. The mechanism behind the “Mozart effect” remains murky, but Shaw suspects that when children exercise cortical neurons by listening to classical music, they are also strengthening circuits used for mathematics. Music, says the UC team, “excites the inherent brain patterns and enhances their use in complex reasoning tasks.”