The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mozart makes maths easier

London, Oct. 19: Mozart has brought a dramatic improvement to maths lessons at a primary school in Britain.

Teachers have also noted better behaviour, motivation and speed of learning amongst four- to 11-year-olds in a year-long pilot scheme to assess whether listening to music stimulates the brain in an academic context.

At one test, one six-year-old was played Mozart during maths lessons for a term while another was taught normally.

Pupils subjected to the background music performed 10 per cent better than their counterparts. Doulla Simon, the head teacher, said: “We have found that Mozart symphonies which have complicated note patterns stimulate mathematical thinking. The music reaches certain parts of the brain which other composers do not.”

Before yesterday’s assembly at Windhill School in Mexborough, South Yorks, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons could be heard from the new £1,000 audio system provided by Doncaster education authority. Tapes and CDs are played through lessons and break times, mostly classical and many supplied by the teachers although the pupils’ favourite music is accepted if deemed suitable.

The project is an adaptation of the accelerated learning programme for schools developed by the educationalist Alistair Smith. Chopin and Brahms are also used for assemblies, Beethoven is used as a calming influence and when pupils are given time to sit and think alone they can listen to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

However, pop music is also used to accompany more active moments, such as moving tables for group work.

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