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Hannah Kraus opened her presentation with a story of her own performance anxiety and the various ways in which she attempted to treat her anxiety before performing her senior recital two months ago. She wishes to explore the ways in which the Mozart Effect has evolved, and how it can now be applied to herself and others in more contemporary uses.

The original idea behind learning and classical music is one that you are likely familiar with: while pregnant, women should play classical music (mainly Mozart) in order to improve the spacial and learning skills of their future child. Psychologist Dr. Rauscher actually coined the term “Mozart Effect.” He conducted a study among college students in an attempt to learn about spacial reasoning. The students were asked to take a test after having listened to either a sonata by Mozart, repetitve and relaxing music, and silence.

Hannah discussed the various ways in which music can affect people’s reasoning skills. Music in a major key, which typically sounds brighter and happier, will usually have a more positive effect on the listener due to its association with peace and happiness. Music in a minor key, however, tends to be more associated with sad moments and will be less effective for most people in de-stressing. In the end, Hannah says that it all depends on what you enjoy listening to. If you enjoy listening to Stephen King’s audiobooks more than classical music, that is the trick to reaching a state of better relaxation and higher spacial reasoning skills. Using this to her advantage, Hannah listened to a song titled How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep by Bombay Bicycle Club before her senior recital.

This technique is definitely not the solution to gaining perfect test scores or creating a genius child in the womb. However, by finding that music that is good for you as an individual, one may be able to greatly influence both their anxiety and critical thinking skills.