Early Musical Experiences For a Brighter Baby

Written by: Kim Schiefelbein

While your baby may not remember their first music class, exposure to music during the first three years of life boosts early brainpower. Kim Schiefelbein, Director of Music at Bubbles Academy, shares five reasons why there is more to a lullaby than lulling your baby to sleep.

New parents typically sign up for music class to meet other new parents and to further bond with their baby. Parents learn new songs, quickly realizing that a mini maraca is a “must have” for their diaper bag! What they may not realize is the full impact that a baby music class can have on their baby’s brain development.

  1. Move them with Music: According to Dr. Diane Bales, Ph.D., author of "Building Baby's Brain: The Role of Music," the synapses used for music are similar to those used for spatial and temporal reasoning, which are skills needed for math. Just listening to music can “turn on” these baby brain connections and, like most adults, babies quickly respond to a melody.
    • Simple tunes sung in class with steady rhythms, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” are similar to the beat of a mother’s heartbeat and will generate excitement and recognition from a baby. 
    • Babies may begin to bounce, clap or simply relax in response to a familiar tune, facilitating important infant brain development. In fact, the movement of a baby’s hands or legs in response to music may be one of the first signs of a baby’s ability to communicate and respond to their environment. Movement is absolutely essential to a baby’s physical development, and music is a motivating catalyst.
  1. Music is a Universal Language: In an infant music class, parents quickly realize that their baby doest not care if they “can’t sing.” A child flourishes under the love and attention of a parent and his/her voice. According to Dr. Sears, world reknowned pediatricain and author, researchers believe that singing affects a baby’s language development center more than words without music. Your baby will begin to remember and file away their top ten favorite songs. Sing them frequently, and he/she will thrive on the repetition!
  1. Listen: It isn’t about the amount of classes that you sign your baby up for, but how that time in class is spent bonding with and focusing on him/her. There are numerous studies that show that the quality of time parents interact with their infant is crucial to establishing a strong bond. That time is also essential to baby’s brain development.
    • Finger-plays, songs and chants sung and recited in class, encourage parents to focus on their baby and foster an environment of high-touch, high interaction, sensory and auditory development. Repitative songs and melodies provide parents with the right tools to boost their baby’s brain activity.
  1. Watch and Learn: Parents can learn by observing and interacting with their baby in class. Simple lessons taught like, encourage your baby to reach for an object or to tap on a drum in response to the beat of the music, will further nurture their baby’s development. Music scientists suggest that music has an organizing affect on brain neurons and can stimulate both creative and calming hormones in your baby’s brain.
  1. Smart Play: Learning and playing are one and the same to a baby! Parents can use classtime to observe and interact with baby through songs and play, parents can begin to understand their child’s brain development and help facilitate it.
    • Simple games such as grab and shake, kick and hit, and peek-a-boo are all wonderful tools that provide your baby with a musical foundation that rewards brain development.

Early exposure to music will foster healthy growth of your baby’s mind. Share your love for your child through music, and know that these early musical experiences are a tremendous contributor towards reaching important developmental milestones.

Posted on December 06, 2013 at 8:57 AM