Babies not only love rhythm and music but also greatly benefit from them Listening to music is not only fun and relaxing – it is also something that has a powerful effect on people. It creates a special atmosphere and has the power to soothe you, stir you, or just make you want to get up and dance. Memories, experiences, atmospheres and moods are all greatly influenced by the tunes that accompany them. So, if music really gets to you, you’re not alone. Recent studies show that music affects the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of babies and children and can actually improve many abilities, both in children and in adults.
Recent studies show that children exposed to classical music in the womb exhibit a positive change in physical and mental development after birth. In a recent experiment, fetuses were exposed to 70 hours of classical music during the last weeks of pregnancy. At six months, these babies were more advanced in terms of motor skills and linguistic and intellectual development than babies who received no musical stimulus during pregnancy. Babies are born with 100 billion nerve cells in their bodies. However, these cells are connected only loosely and each event a baby experiences - listening to his mother, seeing a picture, feeling a textured mat, or attempting to reach a toy hanging above – helps establish or strengthen the intercellular connections in the brain. The larger the number of connections in the brain, the richer its functioning. These early experiences mold the brain and determine much of the infant’s adult potential and scientists now believe that listening to music is one of those “brain-building” experiences.
By playing classical music to your baby you can activate the neural pathways responsible for many intellectual skills. General skills such as creativity, and more specific skills such as spatial intelligence, mathematical ability, linguistic ability, and emotional intelligence are honed by the effects of listening to music. Babies are naturally unaware of the complex, secret processes induced by music. Instead, they simply enjoy the experience of listening to the soft music that envelops them, challenging them, arousing their curiosity, and stirring a variety of emotions in them.
Various studies show that music has a positive effect on various intellectual and emotional abilities:
A study conducted in Hungary found that children between the ages of three and four were given music and signing lessons obtained higher grades in creativity than children of the same age who did not receive any musical training.
Three-month-old babies can use music to help them remember things they have learned. Babies in one study were played a particular kind of music when learning to kick a hanging toy to make it move. After seven days, the babies remembered that the kicking made the toy move, but only when they heard the particular music that had been played. The scientific conclusion was that music gives significance to the learning process and helps remember it.
Spatial intelligence is the ability to perceive various relationships in space and understand the visual world. A study of kindergarten children in California showed that children who were given piano lessons had a 34% better success rate in completing a jigsaw puzzle than children who were given computer lessons at the same time.
A study found that first graders who had been given intensive musical instruction demonstrated considerably more progress in mathematics than classmates who had received a standard musical education only. Scientists believe that the connection between music and mathematics is partly related to the fact that music helps children understand mathematical concepts.
There is a close connection between music and linguistic development. Both skills require the ability to differentiate between auditory nuances and similar sounds, such as "B" and "P”. Listening to music contributes greatly to babies’ development of this skill and will develop the ability to decode auditory data and sharpen your child’s auditory memory - abilities which are fundamental to language comprehension.
Music can bring on strong emotions. By listening to expressive classical music, babies hone their ability to detect moods and emotions in others, while developing awareness of their own inner processes through the nuances of feeling evoked by the music.
Sound is energy. Sound moves in waves and is measured in frequencies and volume. Don Campbell, a music lecturer, believes that sound waves have an effect on the body’s cells and tissues. He theorizes that music affects the body’s processes when we absorb energy from sound, causing slight changes in our breathing, pulse rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and other internal body rhythms. Campbell cites a number of health areas influenced by music.
A Florida study of 52 newborn babies with a low birth weight demonstrated that playing music to them contributed to a rapid increase in their weight, and shortened their stay in the hospital by an average of five days (as compared to a group of similar babies which were not exposed to any musical stimulus).
Listening to music whose sounds are long and slow usually makes breathing deeper and slower and also slows down the heart rate, giving the psyche a chance to relax and creating less tension.
Music can alter blood pressure. By playing music every morning and evening, people with high blood pressure can train themselves to lower their blood pressure - and keep it low.
The brain creates natural relaxants, called endorphins, which can reduce pain and promote a feeling of natural well-being.
Finally, music and sound can even boost immune function. Scientists explain that music can create a positive and profound emotional experience, which leads to secretion of immune-boosting hormones and helping protect the body against illness.
Any advice and information provided in this website is given as suggestions only and should not be taken as a professional medical diagnosis or opinion. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent.