Many parents wonder if music really benefits their baby. Of course it does! First of all, think of how helps you. How an upbeat tune chases away sadness, or a soothing concerto calms you after a stressful day. It does the same for your baby. And that’s not all!
Many studies have been performed trying to determine music’s effectiveness in a child’s long-term development. While there is still much debate in some areas, these studies have conclusively proven that babies understand, process and react to music. They are able to notice and understand pitch, patterns, note changes, melodies and rhythm. Infants actually recognize the melody of a song long before they are able to understand the words. They often will mimic sounds and start moving to the music as soon as they are physically able. In addition, the act of processing music stimulates the brain’s synapses and interconnections. While it has yet to be proven as to whether or not listening to music actually makes babies smarter over time, just the fact that music stimulates their brains is one of many benefits associated with babies listening to music.
Everyone knows that soothing music such as lullabies calms fussy babies and eases them into sleep. But did you also know that music is linked to improved weight gain in premature babies and other health benefits? One study in Utah found that premature babies who had soothing lullabies piped into their isolettes gained more weight and had lower blood pressures and stronger heartbeats than babies who were not exposed to music. Another study found that 34-week old babies given pacifiers that activated recordings of lullabies had shorter hospital stays than those that didn’t.
Communication and social skills
Music can also help improve a baby’s communication skills and social skills. In a 2012 study, researchers from McMaster University in Canada discovered that 6-month-old babies who were placed in a participatory music class (like Kindermusik® or Gymboree® classes) showed better early communication skills, such as pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. In addition, socially, these babies smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when exposed to unfamiliar things or when something didn’t go their way.
Music also helps with bonding. Think about the joy you feel and share with your child when you sway to the beat of a beautiful melody. Remember how your baby stops and stares as you sing in a soft, high-pitched voice. Singing and dancing also helps ease Mommy and Daddy’s stress which is even more beneficial for bonding and your baby’s peace of mind. These are just a few of the ways that music can help form the bond between parent and child.
Listening to music can also help put your baby into a relaxed and receptive mind frame which is perfect for when you want to try a new activity with them. And it can often become a form of expression for your baby when they don’t yet have the language skills to express their emotions. In fact, some studies have shown that babies as young as 5-months-old are able to differentiate between happy and sad music.
Listening, language and literacy, creativity, coordination, memory skills
The benefits of exposure to music at an early age are many. Listening to music can help promote listening skills, language and literacy, creativity, coordination and even memory skills. In one study, babies as young as 8 months old were able to recognize snippets of a song two weeks after hearing the song! Music can also help teach your infant about patterns, sequence, rhythm, beat and tone – all of which are useful for problem-solving and reasoning. It can help improve bonding between baby and parent, calm frayed nerves, soothe sadness and more. Plus it cultivates a love of music.
And what about classical music?
Baby’s Brilliant is a wonderful way to expose your child to music. The app offers a variety of classical recordings from some of the most beloved composers, that are specially re-recorded for babies and toddlers. It also offers a variety of lullabies, as well as inspirational and popular children’s songs. In addition, the app also features movies that are full of everyday, common images from around the globe, helping to expose your baby to culture and the world. The movies are accompanied by the music of famous composers that has been re-recorded soothing instruments.
Another wonderful Baby’s Brilliant feature is Night Lights: a combination of visuals and music specially designed to help your baby fall asleep. Parents can easily arrange the order of play, create their own playlist, and even loop the playlist up to 90 minutes so you don’t keep walking in a disturbing your child. Baby’s Brilliant is the perfect way to keep your child entertained, while also keeping their mind engaged and learning.
Written by Alaina Bullock
Alaina Bullock currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University, and has since spent years teaching both preschool and elementary school. She has a love for teaching, writing and reading. She is also the author of Bullock’s Buzz, a Lifestyle blog.