Most babies come into this world with only a few notable abilities at first, namely eating, sleeping, crying, and, well,……elimination, to be blunt, although not necessarily in that order. One of the constants in that first year of life is growth – physically, mentally, and emotionally – on a scale that is only matched again in the early teen years when, yes, they’re again extremely good at the same basic skills. Well, at least the eating and sleeping parts! 😉
However, in an article from the Daily Mail Online, dated 23rd September, 2008, researchers now tell us that even from day one, infants have a strong sense of rhythm as well as pitch and melody. Experts now say that introducing a child to music at an early age could possibly enhance these innate musical abilities and also help them learn to talk.
The fledgling musical talent was discovered by Hungarian researchers during a study of more than 100 boys and girls who were only one or two days old.
They played the babies music as they slept and measured their brain activity.
The researchers found that their brains computed changes in beat, tone and melody.
For instance, if a key beat was missed from a rhythmic pattern, the baby’s brain registered the change.
A change in pitch, similar to that between male and female voices, also provoked a reaction.
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences study was part of a three-year European project on how the brain processes music and other sounds, co-ordinated by Dr Susan Denham, of Plymouth University.
She said: ‘What is perhaps most significant is that not only do babies’ brains register changes in beat, pitch and simple melodic patterns but they do so more or less automatically, as they are fast asleep during these experiments.
‘People come into the world with brains that are wired-up to detect patterns’.
Dr Denham added: ‘A lot of music reflects the rhythms and contents of speech. If you are listening to music you will also probably be more sensitive to speech rhythm.’
This really does make sense when you think about it. After all, a baby spends 9+ months in utero, listening to a steady beat 24/7 of his/her mother’s heart. I’ve also had numerous Village moms tell me that their babies seemed to recognize not only their mothers’ voices shortly after birth, but also other voices heard consistently pre-natally, such as dad or siblings.
One Village mom in particular told me just last year that when she was pregnant the previous year, she tended to listen to one particular artist on a regular basis, almost daily. She had an album she enjoyed listening to, with one song that was a favorite, listening to it over and over again.
After the birth of her daughter, with all of the adjustments and changes in the family routine that results from a firstborn, listening to albums was not high on the daily schedule – until the day that mom turned on the CD player for some badly needed relief from a crying, inconsolable baby.
Without really consciously thinking about it, she chose the album and song she had listened to frequently during the pregnancy. Amazingly enough, the baby stopped crying within a few seconds of the beginning strains of the song. I don’t honestly remember the song title, but I do remember laughing with Yolanda at the time; both of us agreeing that it wasn’t the usual lullaby-type song you would expect an infant to enjoy and relax with.
Give your baby a head-start by joining us next Saturday, October 25th, or Monday, November 3rd, as we begin Dream Pillow in our Village classes. Online registration is available for your convenience here.