The Mozart Effect¨ For Children: Awakening Your Child's Mind, Health, and Creativity with Music Want to help your child be a musical genius? Or simply a well-adjusted, musically exposed child? Much has been said in recent years about how classical music stimulates brain development in young children, leading not only to increased musical talent but to added math prowess and overall I.Q. as well.

Regardless of whether this is true (author Don Campbell believes wholeheartedly in what he has termed the "Mozart Effect"), who can argue with the benefits of introducing children to music and rhythm at an early age? Campbell, who wrote the best-selling The Mozart Effect about music's power on the body, spirit, and intellect, now writes The Mozart Effect for Children, an informative guide for parents and educators. Whether you want to "crawl, reach and clap" with a toddler or create a musical sense of identity in a 10-year-old, you'll find a symphony of suggestions, organized in various age-relevant chapters.

For instance, Campbell notes that for toddlers, language development in general often parallels that of musical ability. He suggests specific games and songs, not just Mozart, but everything from nursery rhymes to rock. Incorporating music into all sorts of daily activities "gives kids a chance to develop basic timing, coordination, creativity, and problem-solving skills," Campbell explains.

Music is indeed an area I'd like to incorporate more into my own family life. Our 15-month twins are doing just as Campbell predicts, starting to sing as they form their first words. It's a joy to watch how their little bodies respond to rhythm and dance. I plan to keep Campbell's book as a reference for them and their older brother as well.

Campbell also gives plenty of fun suggestions for older children, such as "learning to the beat," making spelling lessons more fun by practicing words to different rhythmic patterns. Several activities address learning to read: "try turning down the lights a bit and playing Mozart, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, or Bach softly in the background as your child reads aloud." One father set the multiplication tables to music, with great success for his previously reluctant mathematician.

Regardless of your family's musical knowledge or talents, The Mozart Effect for Children is full of easy, practical suggestions to help children excel in school and learn to fully appreciate music. So sing, dance, and clap to your heart's delight! Everyone will be the better for it.

Alice Cary sings, dances, and claps from her home in Groton, Massachusetts.

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