It seems even in the womb we are learning.
Scientists at the University of Helsinki conducted a study last year, which found when babies are played music in the womb, they remember and recognise what they have been played, for up to four months after they are born! During the study, the babies were played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, up to five times a week by their mothers, in the last trimester of pregnancy. Shortly after birth they were played the nursery rhyme again, but with several notes altered. Brain activity showed the babies recognised the change and the more the song had been played the greater the recognition.
Previous studies have shown babies recognise some words spoken to them in vitro, as well as music from their mothers favourite TV programme. This study was considered unique because it suggests babies memories formed prior to birth, can be stored post birth! Awesome!
The jury is out still on whether or not playing music, the so called “Mozart Effect” has been proven to boost babies brains. This is because there hasn’t been a great deal of research done on this area. Even the study mentioned above is only very small and doesn’t prove whether or not playing music to your bump will lead to your baby having an enhanced auditory system or an increase in brain development.
The advice from health professionals suggests, the most important thing to consider if you are pregnant and want to play music, is to choose music you find relaxing, as this will be more beneficial to you and your developing baby, than forcing yourself to listen to certain tracks on a loop.
Safety tip! Researchers warned that turning up the volume by placing a speaker right on the mother-to-be’s bump, does more harm than good.
Baby - lets’s rock and roll!
So how can playing music to your child help once your baby has been born? Kids it seems, love music. We all know how singing a lullaby can calm a fractious baby and reseach published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science confirms what most parents already know - babies are literally born to dance! The sudy suggests infants are programmed to move to the beat and respond to music better than they do speech. Again, this was quite a small study ( 120 children aged between 5 months and two years) listened to samples of classical music, speech and rhythmic beats and anaylsis of their responses showed that even the youngest babies rocked rhythmically to the music in accordance to the tempo.
In sync! The study also found that the babies and toddlers smiled more, the more they were able to synchronise their movements to the music. Think how we get a buzz ourselves from a good boogie!
So although your baby or toddler, might not quite be able to get down and groove with the polished moves a pop professional, they and you, can still enjoy some musical movement!
Why not crank up the volume and dance?!