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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK


Classical music 'good for babies'

Children's brainwaves have been tested

By BBC Washington Correspondent Stephen Sackur

Mozart and Beethoven are good for the brain - and that's official. In the United States, anyway.

Experts say that good music can stimulate a child's development.

In Florida all state-funded pre-schools are now required to play classical music by law, and hospitals have started giving away classical CDs to new mums.

However, some sceptics have dismissed the whole thing as unscientific nonsense.

John Flohr, a professor of music from Dallas, is one of those who believes the rhythm and beauty of classic music can help children's brains to develop.

'No little Einsteins'

[ image: Professor John Flohr tests out his theory]
Professor John Flohr tests out his theory
Professor Flohr said: "I don't think anyone is saying if you put on this music you are going to develop a little Einstein. That is not the point.

"The point is that you are going to help the child have the best chance to learn about music and also have a good chance to enhance some abilities from listening to good music."

Professor Flaw has tested his theory by monitoring the brain waves of children who undertake tasks while listening to classical music.

Stephen Sackur: "Many mothers are playing classical music to their children"
The theory is beginning to spread across the US. In a Dallas maternity hospital babies are exposed to classical music before they have even tasted their mother's milk.

New mother Peggy said she planned to play classical music to her son Carson.

"They say in the nursery it calms the baby down and I believe that," she said.

However, sceptics have questioned the science behind the theory, and warned of the dangers of over-stimulating young children's brains.

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