[Dixielandjazz] The Mozart Effect

Burt Wilson futurecon at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 4 10:46:41 PDT 2005

Dear Charles--
    Regarding the effect of music on the individual, Psychological research
has proven that as we experience life we develop a "schema," or theory
about the world in which we live, based on our perceptions of various
stimuli. Throughout this life-long process, we mentally institutionalize
this "schema" in our mind by a process psychologists call "belief
perseverance." This becomes our "belief system" or “mind set” and it exerts
quite an extraordinary control over the drama of our daily life,
continually directing our thoughts into comfortable, well-worn ruts.
     The influence of a well-managed belief system on our daily life is so
strong and subtle we hardly ever realize we are in its clutches. Because it
would be too confusing and disorienting for us to have to constantly change
our entrenched view of things, we go to great lengths to maintain a
cognitive status quo. Thus we involuntarily develop a system of automatic
responses which psychologists call "availability-mediated influences" which
is a fancy way of saying we tend to deal with the world only in terms of
that which is familiar to us. In time, we come to nurture this condition
because it provides us with a convenient psychological crutch in helping us
feel comfortable with who we are and how we relate to the world around us.
Since our sense of "place" in the world directly affects our emotional
happiness, we thus tend to program ourselves to consciously re-create that
which pleases us. This is especially true of music.
     How many of us "learn" a new style of music? The act of learning is
called connoisseurship--to consciously aquire a taste for something new as
opposed to all that is contained in the statement "I don't know art, but I
know what I like!" Towards this end, there is a famous Chinese story that
goes: "The great Chinese lutist Po-Ya, upon the death of his friend,
Chgi-tze, laid down his lute and never played again because, he said, there
was no one to understand his music."

Long live music and music lovers!


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