A German ministry decided to commission a study on this once and for all and try to settle, or at least clarify, what is known in the literature regarding the controversial effect that was claimed more than a decade ago. In it, the study claim that one can perform certain tasks better after listening just 10 minutes of Mozart. That study has since been challenged several times. This latest analysis throws severe doubt on that claim.
Most studies on the effect on intelligence of listening to music — a body of work collectively nicknamed 'Mozart's Requiem' by music scientists — were either unable to repeat the finding or found a transient effect lasting no more than 20 minutes after listening. Even the transient effect was not specific to Mozart, but to any sort of music, or even story reading, that the test subject preferred.
However, here's something that may make you retrieve that Amadeus soundtrack out of the trash can.
The report was less dismissive of claims for an effect of music lessons on IQ development, particularly in young children. Most published studies are small and difficult to interpret, it found, and some suggest no long-term effect at all on IQ. "But one or two large and careful studies have shown a small but significant effect on IQ — which can be seen over years," says Schumacher.
So who knows. For me, it is simply a pleasant background music that I play at work. It makes the office feels less "cold". Whatever other benefits that may come of such a thing would only be a bonus.