Xylophones, Mozart, and Nursery Rhymes: Why Sounds and Music are Crucial for Development

Xylophones, Mozart, and Nursery Rhymes: Why Sounds and Music are Crucial for Development

Why is Music Essential for Babies?

Music for babies is essential, and it allows them to explore with sight, sound and touch. I’ve been taking my daughter, at the age of 6 months, to music classes because I noticed she enjoys sounds. She stops and listens when she hears humming, or if I’m singing a silly song. Her curiosity made me wonder why music is such a joy to her. When I Listen to music, I feel calm, so would it not naturally similarly stimulate my baby’s brain?

 

“It seems that musical experience, perhaps due to neurophysiological mechanisms, can help develop a small but an important facet of spatial ability in adults, children, and rats.” — Frances H Rauscher

Musical instruments and classes

The colors and shapes of the various sound makers, like a shaker, to a xylophone. They recognize the form of guitar and piano and can tell between different sounds. Each object is an ability for them to touch, taste and play.
I watch my baby as she explores in her music class; Music Together is created by Director Kenneth K. Guilmartin and Lili M. Levinowitz, Ph.D. They helped put to practice the famous science behind the making of the program, jazz-inspired temp music, they drop various types of instruments, the children hold, touch and just the babies tastes them.

They created this class where when a child watches her parent this helps the child learn and develop musically. As I hold my baby in the class, she feels the rhythm and bounces on my legs, smiles, and giggles.

“It’s simple: the best way to support musical growth is to engage in music activity. Keep encouraging and celebrating your child’s efforts, even though it might take a while for his musical potential to develop. Remember that a certain amount of physical maturation- and a lot of playful “practice”- is necessary before your child can learn to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm.” — Music Together at Home.

Music is an excellent way to help your baby tune in. My baby was getting fussy in a store, and they happened to have a piano that had a sign saying “Play me I’m not for sale.” A man started playing, and my baby stopped being agitated and relaxed.

Musical Toys

I encourage getting toys that have sound options, I know as parents the sounds might be too loud, but a lot of companies have been researching what toys would be perfect for babies; and sounds need to be part of childhood development.

I have the “Go Wild Jumper” from Fisher-Price. It has songs, and various sounds, my daughter is mesmerized by the sounds that this toy can make; when she moves an object, she gets to hear something.

Also, I would see a need for simplicity to have small toys like a rattle, singing a lullaby, rhythms, clapping, etc.

Have you ever wondered why nursery rhymes captivate babies?

In our local library, we have a baby sing-along. The nursery rhymes are repetitive, and the babies all engage in the sounds of the songs.

Music stimulates hearing impaired babies

I noticed at the Baby Rhymes at the library a toddler who had cochlear ear devices; she would dance, and recognize the rhythm of the music in the room. I wondered, what sound would be like for her?

Music therapy for children with hearing loss is a science, to help them develop their cognitive abilities and social skills. When a child without the capacity to hear can develop positively in music then why would not the same beneficial results happen to my daughter?

Ruth Montgomery, a deaf musician and music teacher, says in “NDCS” program “That music is not about hearing any more than language is.”
I’m blown away by how music can encourage not only my child but the hearing impaired babies. I see the benefits in my daughter, as her abilities expand with the exploration of music, rhymes, and instruments.

We continue to go to the Baby Rhymes at the library for this very reason, to enjoy ourselves musically, and watch her develop and grow.

“ Having the chance to enjoy music in
the early years can aid a child’s communication
skills and ability to engage with other people.” — NDCS

Have you heard of the Mozart effect?

If you were one of those moms who believe in the Mozart Effect, you were seen with headphones on your belly. My favorite episode of “The Good Wife” is when Alicia thinks she hears things, and it happens to be Peter’s secretary playing classical music to her baby in-vitro.

It might be silly to be seen doing this, and there is much speculation if there is a more significant development of cognitive abilities. Some beg to differ.

Nikihil Sawminathan wrote a compelling article encouraging us to give a child an instrument not merely hearing the sounds of a sonata would be enough to bring out their cognitive abilities.

I can see the benefits of physical touch; when my child is interacting with a musical object or considers something is hitting another object to create noise. She will often drum her hands on a table and enjoy the sound that is stimulated by her repetitive beat.

Music is the process of sound that my child creates. The joy of sounds is what stimulates her intelligence. With all the active research and support for babies to be encouraged early on in music. I believe the topics and the research validate what I’m witnessing in my daughter’s early development years.

“We believe researchers should continue to search for links between music instruction and cognitive performance because disregarding these effects may overlook a potentially important educational intervention.” -Rauscher

 

Baby playing musical instruments
Photo Credit Caroline Chojnacki

 

Work Cited

Hoffman, Susan, Guilmartin, Kenneth, Levinowitz, Lilli, Ph D. “Music Together at Home” Princeton, NJ, 2008. Print.

Sawminathan, Nikihil “Fact or Fiction?: Babies Exposed to Classical Music End up Smarter” Scientific America,13.Sep.2007.Web.14.Aug.2017

Rasucher, Frances, Sean, Hinton “The Mozart Effect: Music Listening is Not Music instruction.” Educational, Psych. 41(4) 233–238.Web.14.Aug.2017

Rauscher, Frances “Music Exposure and the Development of Spatial Intelligence in Children” Bulletin of the council for research in music education. Fall.1999.No.142.Web.14.Aug.2017

Ruth Montgomery, “How to make music activities accessible for deaf children and young people.”NDCS Every Deaf Child:8–9, Web.14.Aug.2017

 

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