“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
Let it be said: I feel that music is a necessity for living. If you could have asked William Congreve, he would have said music soothes the savage beast (breast). If you ask Mr. Cheeks from the Lost Boys, he would say that music makes him high. Different people will make mention of music using different words but similar sentiments. Easily, music can be considered a very important aspect of life (as a whole).
Yet, there is a new issue on the horizon.
A new study (of sorts) made mention to the correlation between musical genre and intellectual levels of its listeners. Virgil Griffith, creator of WikiScanner and a Cal Tech grad student, did some research looking at the connection between SAT scores and the music people listened to . With a survey, and test scores handy, he collected data on some students. He found that the smartest students listened to Beethoven (average SAT of 1371) and the students who rung in at the bottom of the SAT scores listened to Lil’ Wayne (average SAT of 889) . Thus, his findings led him to believe that “music has the power to make you smart or dumb”.
Interesting concept with a faulty premise. Actually, his premise is so conceptually ignorant that I wouldn’t use it for toilet paper after a bout of loose bowels.
I guess that is how I feel about it, huh?
Chocolate covered lie: music makes a person dumber or smarter.
What Helped Lead to All of This
What really gave people the grand idea about music having a direct effect on intelligence is the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect is a set of research results that indicate that listening to Mozart’s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as “spatial-temporal reasoning” . It was conceived through an experiment measuring the effects of music on brain functions. Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky came to this conclusion:
The subjects had experienced each of three listening conditions: a sonata by Mozart, repetitive relaxation music, and silence. They found a temporary enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning, as measured by the Stanford-Binet IQ test. Shaw and Rauscher claim that their work has been misrepresented. What they have shown is “that there are patterns of neurons that fire in sequences, and that there appear to be pre-existing sites in the brain that respond to specific frequencies.”* This is not quite the same as showing that listening to Mozart increases intelligence in children. 
Thus, the Mozart Effect was a profound finding linking music to intellect.
Things are Not As They Appear
However, there was a problem with this research. First of all, it only deals with spatial temporal reasoning, as mentioned by Rauscher . General intelligence is not really affected by music. Second of all, it doesn’t take in account anything that actually DOES affect intelligence (nature, nurture, environment, upbringing, ect.) . So, thinking the “Mozart Effect” affects all around intelligence isn’t all that effective.
Then, there is this chart is intriguing and meaningless at the same time. First of all, if one pays attention to the chart they would notice that a lot of music spans the spectrum of listening. Meaning this: people of different “intellect levels” listen to different types of music. Second, we are taking test scores into account. If people REALLY cared about intellectual levels, then there would have been a review of IQ’s or something more profound and meaningful. Last, there isn’t a truly defined relationship outside of “the lowest scorer listens to Lil Wayne” and “the highest score listens to Beethoven” . For a chart that said a whole lot, it simultaneously said very little.
Let’s face it: I’m not going to be impressed by a two outliers as reference to research. You can miss me with that bullshit.
In short, Virgil Griffith can take this study and shove it. It is “cute” at best. What are we supposed to gather from a collection of test scores that says nothing about the individual? Am I supposed to gather that “Lil Wayne” makes everyone dumb when I see other music on the charts that aren’t “smarter” but still ranked higher? As much conversation as this chart creates, the research still lacks vision. Music does not truly affect intelligence, nor does this chart bring up anything concrete.
‘Nuff said and ‘Nuff respect!!!