Audio Development: The Importance Of Music For Babies

The Importance of Music for Babies

Playing music for babies is something that occurs naturally to many parents. How many of you remember your parents singing to you, or soothing a child with a gentle melody? Music seems to be an incidental part of growth for many, but it’s actually quite important for the development of a child. If you expose your child to music, he or she will get the chance to grow more and develop faster than many of his or her peers.

The way a baby is exposed to music early on can have a huge impact on how he or she grows up. It’s your job as a parent to figure out how to get the most out of this opportunity and help music grow to be important to both you and your child.

Dismissing the Mozart Effect

I think the first thing that comes to mind when people think about music for babies is the so-called Mozart Effect,” the idea that classical music somehow improves the intelligence of a child. There’s nothing wrong with classical music of course, but it certainly won’t make a child into the next, well, Mozart. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that classical music is no more likely than any other type of music to improve the intelligence of a child at any age.

So, why do people keep coming back to this idea? First and foremost, it’s got to be the music. After all, there’s a huge difference in the development of a child when he or she is or is not exposed to music. The fact that classical music is cited consistently is incidental. Indeed, you’re probably looking at a correlation between classical music and intelligence, as the playing of classical music during development probably also occurs in households where the parents are making other attempts to give their children a head start. The style of music isn’t the main factor – it’s the effort the parents put in to developmental concerns.

Curating Your Child’s Music

The good news is that you don’t have to go out and buy Bach’s entire catalog if you want to help your child to get the most out of music. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can blast whatever you like at a child and expect him or her to come out of the process as a genius. There are a few identified factors that make music more appropriate for a child, most of which should be obvious even to a new parent. With that said, there’s no harm in listing those factors for those who might be intimidated by choosing music for a child. Music for children should be:

Music Should be 1 Basic. This means simple rhythm and simple melodies.

Music Should be 2 Surprising. While the rhythm and melody need to be simple, changing tempos can help maintain interest and spur a child’s development.

Music Should be 3 Soothing. Nothing too loud, and certainly nothing that’s going to frighten a child.

Music Should be 4 Diverse. Children are sponges, and they will readily soak up anything to which they are exposed. Give your child the chance to listen to many types of music, so long as they fit the categories above. You’ll be surprised by what they might enjoy.

Developmental Benefits of Music

While the type of music you play doesn’t particularly matter, the fact that you are exposing your child to music at a young age does. Music carries with it a number of developmental benefits, ranging from the highly cognitive to the emotional. Understanding the various ways that music can help a child is a good way to convince yourself not only to start investing more of your time in your child’s musical exposure, but to look into the way that a child’s brain develops. A few of the more common benefits of music include:

Benefit 1 Increased memorization ability, including the ability to memorize language.

Benefit 2 Engaging both hemispheres of the brain, helping the child to make neurological connections and spur on his or her development.

Benefit 3 Emotional wellness, including the ability to associate the pleasant memories of the song with the presence of the parent and the soothing nature of the melody with rest and sleep.

Benefit 4 Increased ability to keep time and a developed sense of rhythm, which not only helps a child with future musical endeavors but might also be linked to the child’s mathematical prowess.

These are just a few of the benefits of exposing a baby to music, and they’re certainly worth exploring. The most important idea I want to get across, though, is that music helps your child’s still-developing brain make new connections. Music is a touchstone of learning – look at the simple songs we use to teach, like the Alphabet Song. The combination of tone, vocalization, and vocabulary helps a child to form connections that are otherwise difficult to make. The success of adding music to a child’s developmental schedule does require one other component, though – the human touch.

Sonic Bonding: The Importance of Music for Babies

Mother and Baby Bonding with Music

Music creates a special bond between mother and child.

There’s no doubt that music helps parents and children bond. Think of the image of a healthy mother/child relationship – how often does a soothing song come up? From lullabies to birthday songs, music is a clear part of creating a safe and happy childhood. It should come as no surprise then, that the human element of music is just as important for making those developmental connections as the rhythm and melody. While there is evidence that children certainly benefit from hearing music in the absence of their parents, the addition of a human bond greatly elevates the experience for all parties involved.

The traditional method of exposing a baby to music is through singing, but don’t worry – you don’t have to have a great voice, or even know the words to a song. Your goal is to expose your child to the melody and rhythm, not to your stalled music career. You don’t have to do this alone, though – singing along to music works just as well. The goal is helping the child to make a connection between one good thing (music) and another (the child’s parent). Putting them together should seem as a natural as breathing for the baby.

Not much of a singer? No problem, you can just dance. Dance is actually an important element in exposing a child to music, as it helps the child with body awareness, rhythm and general motor skills. Dancing to music with a baby is a great way to get both of you moving, and can help the child’s development by helping to make the connections associated with rhythm and movement in his or her mind. In the end, though, it’s the process of making sure that the two of you are together that really promotes bonding and growth.

You have a wonderful chance to enhance your child’s development and his or her ability to learn by exposing him or her to music geared towards children. You don’t need to concentrate on classical music, but you do need to concentrate on music fit for a child – and you need to make sure that you are part of the process. The real joy of choosing music for babies isn’t just in the learning, it is also in the ability of music to help a parent and child bond.

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