A colleague joins the fight against Putting the ASS in clASSical!

Just a quick post this week about possibly the most insanely ridiculous idea to attract the very young to music I have ever read about!  Take random noises, mix it in with a debunked theory and add screaming children….presto MUSIC IS SAVED!  A blogger hit this one out of the park, we need to to start calling out these ridiculous programs….

Patti Hartigan writes for the blog ARTicles and wrote a post titled Opera Baby in which she nails the Scottish Opera’s new program for babies called Baby O based on the Mozart Effect!:

Classically trained singers will create baby-friendly noises, such as Wellington boots splashing in puddles, buzzing bees, quacking ducks and the fluttering of feathers.

Doesn’t sound much like Mozart, and hasn’t the Mozart Effect been completely debunked?  Yes it has, even by one of the people who was involved in the original research as pointed out by Patti:

Jane Anderson, Scottish Opera’s director of education, risks “sounding pompous” by insinuating that such performances can actually boost IQ scores. From the Times:

Recent research into the so-called Mozart Effect has claimed that exposing babies to music can boost IQ, improve health and strengthen family ties.

“My goal was to create a performance piece, but, at the risk of sounding pompous, I wanted to contribute to the body of academic research about when tiny infants actually start to listen” [Anderson] said……………..

Frances Rauscher, one of the original researchers, explicitly said that her study never claimed that listening to Mozart would boost IQ. In fact, here’s what she had to say to the New York Times in 1999: ”I’m all for exposing children to wonderful cultural experiences. But I do think the money could be better spent on music education programs.”

BINGO!!!!!! Sounds like the director of education needs to research…..THE RESEARCH.  Of course it is beneficial for all ages to be exposed to the arts but the participatory aspects of the arts seem to have the most benefit but that is a whole other discussion, suffice it to say that just when I thought programming and marketing couldn’t get more ridiculous, IT DOES!  Instead of Baby O it should be called Baby NO! Patti sums it up best:

“Baby O” may very well be a lovely production, what with the sounds of all those Wellington boots and quacking ducks. But the notion that it might contribute to advances in cognitive science is, well, sheer quackery.

Bring in the babies, if you will, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that this is anything but a lighthearted entertainment for the wee ones, no more, no less.

Calling all Opera students, make sure you bring wellington boots and feathers to your lessons!

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