Besides an early appreciation of music, here are some of the rich cognitive, developmental and emotional benefits of baby music classes. #babymusicclassesbenefits #mondaymorningmomschildcare #benefitsofmusicclassesforbabies #parentingtips #montgomeryMDchildcare
Miriam Schnider holds her four-month-old son, Jaxon, as he confidently hits his little mallet on a baby xylophone to the tune of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” They’re seated on a living-room carpet in a circle of four smiling babies and their parents. One little tyke shakes a rattle to the rhythm of the guitar; another bounces up and down in her mom’s arms.
It’s their fifth week at Little Tunes, a baby music class for infants and toddlers three to 18 months old in Toronto, run by Schnider’s friend, certified music therapist Miya Adout. There, Schnider and her little man do everything from singing to playing instruments. Jaxon was timid at first, but now he’s a natural.
“He loves the drums,” says Schnider, an early-childhood educator and elementary school teacher. “He’ll actually bang his fists like Donkey Kong on them—he goes crazy with it.”
Adout says the goal of her baby music class is to “have parent and infant bond through music-making.” As parent and child connect using music, babies also enjoy other important benefits.
A 2012 study out of McMaster University showed that babies who participated in music classes with their parents in the first year of life “smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.”
Laurel Trainor, the author of the study and the director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, says that through hands-on music classes, infants are exposed to activities that help develop their motor skills (like crawling and grabbing things), language skills and social skills—all of which stimulate their brains.
Besides an early appreciation of music, here are some of the rich cognitive and developmental benefits of baby music classes:
1. Social development and interaction
Using music to help infants be in tune with emotions like happiness, sadness and anger gives them a solid foundation for social skills, Trainor says. By conveying those emotions through song and combining it with parent interaction, like bouncing games and instrument play, infants can become familiar with these feelings early on and kick-start their own emotional awareness.
“A lot of social development involves feeling emotions, understanding your emotions and empathizing with other people,” Trainor says. “So there’s something about the fact that music elicits these emotions in us that makes it particularly powerful for social development.”
Another McMaster study showed that moving in sync to music with others helps toddlers form social bonds. The study observed that 14-month-olds were more likely to help an adult (who dropped something) if they had previously bounced in time with the music, compared with an adult whose movement was off-tempo.
2. Motor skills
As infants discover new instruments, they figure out how to use them and how to make the sounds they want. “Babies, they’re not that coordinated,” Trainor says. “So they have to learn to coordinate their actions, but in response to the information that’s coming in.”
Infants can develop their motor skills by, for example, playing an instrument like the tambourine—or, as Schnider did with Jaxon, having your baby grasp a mallet and guiding their hands over xylophone keys. As they catch on, infants can then practise refining their movements to make a desired sound. That also plays into another amazing benefit…
3. Sensory enhancement
The mix of sensory awareness and motor control is crucial for a baby’s overall development, Trainor says. Being able to notice differences in sounds and fine-tune one’s movements is important for playing instruments and even learning to talk and sing.
Schnider notices that music classes have made Jaxon more comfortable around loud sounds, as well. As he’s gotten used to noisy instruments like drums, she says, the world around him has become a bit less scary. For example, on a recent outing, balloons were popping while she was out with friends, which startled Jaxon but didn’t make him cry like loud noises previously would.
4. Language development
Any exposure to language is good for babies, especially through an accessible activity like making music. As Schnider discovered first-hand, singing can prompt babies to chime in, in their own little way.
“[Early on,] Jaxon was kind of quiet during the music, but now he kind of babbles and will do his own sort of talk during the music class,” she says. Research shows that gabbing attempts—even if it’s just gibberish—is good for babies’ brains and can even give them a leg up once they start school.
5. Emotional regulation
The classes teach parents to soothe their babies through music, particularly by singing favourite songs, which helps to create healthy associations. “It helps [babies] to trust the parent because the parent becomes effective at helping the baby to regulate their state [of mind],” Trainor says. Music is also an important tool for expression and self-regulation and allowing your child to be aware of their own emotions, and recognize that their state can be shifted by positive triggers.
6. Brain boost
Researchers at the University of Washington discovered that musical play sessions help activate parts of the brain responsible for both music and speech processing, as well as other important cognitive skills like controlling attention and noticing patterns. When looking at the responses to music of two different groups of babies through a brain scan, the study found the group who participated in musical activities showed a stronger response to changes in the music than the group who played with toys while music simply played in the background.
A similar McMaster study supports this, showing that while infants seem to be naturally drawn to beats and rhythms, babies who go to music classes show more responsiveness than those who don’t. The study says having musically trained parents helps with this as well.
7. Parent-child bonding
Last but not least, life as a new parent is hectic, but it’s important to spend regular focused time with your little one in order to strengthen those parent-child emotional connections, Trainor says. Having fun by experiencing music together is one of the best ways to do that. “We try to give opportunities for the parents to really engage with their little ones in music,” Adout says. “Instead of just having babies playing and playing instruments and moving [alone], we get the parents involved.”
Even something as simple as singing to your child can do wonders in building a stronger bond, according to a study from the University of Miami. While researchers discovered that babies engage more with being sung to versus just listening to music, they also noticed that as mothers sing to their children, they have a natural ability to adjust their singing to keep their baby’s attention. The mutual interaction also results in feeling more empowered as a parent, the study says, which is particularly helpful for mothers with postpartum depression.
Like singing, there’s still a lot you can do at home if you can’t get to a music class:
DIY baby musical instruments
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on musical instruments. Pots and pans are great for beat-making, or you can create do-it-yourself shakers by taking empty water bottles and putting some pebbles or small raw pasta shells inside (make sure to superglue the cap shut!). You can also make a tiny guitar with a tissue box or shoebox and some rubber bands for your little ones to try plucking at.
Music the millennial way: baby music apps and videos
For parents looking to add a little 21st century to their musical endeavours, technology offers plenty of options. Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music has a neat app called Smart Start packed with musical activities to do with your child wherever you go and songs that it says will aid in your baby’s brain development. iPhone users can download the app, which includes a free album and two purchasable albums, from the App Store.
There are also YouTube channels like Intellidancing that have excellent examples of musical play to do with your little ones. You can even find digital playlists and albums like “Lullabies and LapRhymes” by mother-daughter team Sally Jaeger and Erika Webster, which have a collection of fun songs to play along with your little ones.
Musical chores and transitions
Trainor says incorporating music into daily routines is a marvellous way to make them more enjoyable for your children. For example, having a bedtime song can be very effective in winding down rambunctious tots. Think of it as some mild baby brainwash.
The same can also be done for making household chores more enjoyable for little ones. For example, rather than simply asking your children to clean up after themselves, take some inspiration from a beloved purple dinosaur (Barney, the legend of the cleanup song) to make being neat and tidy a blast for babies and their parents.
Play music you enjoy
According to Trainor, there’s no evidence that one type of music is better for children’s development than another. In fact, researchers at the University of Vienna debunked the idea that listening to Mozart makes you smarter. All that matters is that you enjoy the music you’re playing. Because if you’re happy, your baby will be happy, too.
Whether you’re participating in a baby music class or enjoying musical moments in other ways, make sure you make the most of the experience with your baby. For Schnider, once the Little Tunes sessions are over, she says she continues singing and playing music with Jaxon at home (their favorite song is “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles). Schnider hopes parents take the time to explore music classes with their children. “It’s not only the chance to spend the time with your child, but it’s also a chance…to see how important it is to incorporate music into a child’s life.”
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Music at early ages helps children express themselves and share feelings. Even at an early age, they can sway, bounce, move their hands in response to music they hear. They can even make up their own songs. They learn to laugh, repeat words and it encourages them to use these words and memorize them.What are the benefits of music for babies? ›
Music at early ages helps children express themselves and share feelings. Even at an early age, they can sway, bounce, move their hands in response to music they hear. They can even make up their own songs. They learn to laugh, repeat words and it encourages them to use these words and memorize them.Is music class good for babies? ›
From the time they're born, babies start developing their motor skills. Music class is a great way to help them develop these skills because there is so much opportunity for expression and movement! Music encourages children's inclination to move, developing both their fine motor skills and gross motor skills.What are the benefits of music lessons for children? ›
- Exercises the Brain. According to PBS.org, the brain works differently for people who play music versus those who do not. ...
- Helps with Language Development. ...
- Improves Memory. ...
- Boosts Confidence. ...
- Teaches Discipline. ...
- Offers Creative Expression.
Many researchers strongly believe that music plays an important role in building babies' emotional basis and helping them gain a sense of confidence. Additionally, music can also help establish a healthy relationship between babies and their caregivers  .What do babies learn through music? ›
Music plays a powerful role in the lives of young children. Through music, babies and toddlers can come to better understand themselves and their feelings, learn to decipher patterns and solve problems, and discover the world around them in rich, complex ways.What are four benefits of music in early childhood? ›
Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words.When should a baby start music lessons? ›
In summary, there are three answers to the question, “What age should children begin music lessons?” Informal activities with music should start soon after birth, followed by more systematic classes around age three, and lessons with the goal of learning the instrument should start between six and nine.What is the best age for music lessons? ›
Because of this, the ideal age to begin music lessons is between 3 and 9. This is a fairly broad range, allowing room for each individual child to mature enough to commit to formal lessons with a little encouragement from mum and dad.Do baby classes help development? ›
Baby sensory classes can also encourage your child to develop their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their hand-eye coordination through touching different textures and reaching out to grasp objects.
- Music Lessons Increase Students' Test Scores. ...
- Music Lessons Improve Students' Academic Skills. ...
- Music Lessons Develop Students' Creativity. ...
- Music Lessons Develop Communication and Expression. ...
- Music Lessons Teach Valuable Life Skills. ...
- Music Lessons Provide Joy and a Sense of Community. ...
- Accelerating brain development.
- Kickstarting social development.
- Boosting emotional awareness and regulation.
- Building fine and gross motor skills.
- Supporting sensory and language development.
- Enhancing hand-eye coordination.
- Teaching patience and perseverance.
If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.How does music calm babies? ›
This is because listening to, and playing music, produce changes in the brain. Also, both activities can release a healthy dose of endorphins, the so-called 'happiness hormone.Why do babies like kid music? ›
Babies are naturally drawn to repetition and patterns, and the simple melodies in kid music provide them with a sense of comfort and familiarity. 2. Catchy Rhythms: Kid music often features catchy rhythms and beats that encourage movement and physical activity.What kind of music helps baby brain development? ›
Studies have shown that classical music brings down a newborn's heart and breathing rates and soothes their stress, and that listening to a waltz or concerto might help promote brain development, especially in premature babies.What music is proven to make babies smarter? ›
The Mozart effect emphasizes that playing Mozart stimulates brain development, improves IQ, and spurs creativity in children. Playing Mozart to your baby even during pregnancy can help stimulate the growth of sophisticated neural trails that help the brain to process information.What do babies think of music? ›
Babies just love songs, rhythms and music and, like children and adults, greatly benefit from a musical environment. However, scientists have found that the effect music has on the young minds of babies is far more significant that one would imagine.What are the 5 importance of music? ›
- Music brings people together. ...
- Music improves your health and wellbeing. ...
- Music can improve confidence and resilience. ...
- Music is a creative outlet. ...
- Music is fun!
For example, children who undergo musical training have better verbal memory, second language pronunciation accuracy, reading ability and executive functions. Learning to play an instrument as a child may even predict academic performance and IQ in young adulthood.
Through music, children can invent games, songs, and stories that help them harness their feelings. Researchers observing music and movement classes have documented that participation in arts activities correlates with positive feelings for preschoolers and facilitates their ability to regulate their emotions.What age do babies try to sing? ›
Babies can start to sing as early as 3 months old, and you can teach them to sing and match pitches with this activity below (Kessen et al. 1979). At first listen we might not hear babies' early vocal expressions as music, but they are experimenting with basic musical properties like volume, timbre, and pitch.What color does baby see first? ›
Young babies are indeed capable of seeing colors, but their brains may not perceive them as clearly or vividly as older children and adults do. The first primary color your baby can see is red, and this happens a few weeks into life.Do babies know their dad? ›
When do babies recognize their father or mother? Babies can recognize their parents pretty early actually – as young as 4 days old. By making eye contact with your baby during feeding times, cuddle sessions and throughout the day, you're helping your child memorize your face and learn to trust you.What is the best instrument to start a child on? ›
Generally speaking, the piano and drums are the best instruments for younger kids to start learning first. These instruments don't have to be held and can teach young musicians basic skills like chords, musicality, and rhythm.What is the most effective way babies learn? ›
Your child learns best by actively engaging with their environment. This includes: observing things, watching faces and responding to voices. listening to sounds, making sounds and singing.What are the benefits of sensory classes for babies? ›
Benefits of attending Baby Sensory for your baby
"A sensory environment rich in sights, sounds, smells and textures promotes brain growth, increases the capacity for intellectual development and forms the foundation for all future learning." Dr. Lin Day.
Baby Sensory provides ideas for creative play, massage, tummy time, movement, visual development, textures, scents and music in simple practical ways that can be easily repeated at home.How are music and emotions connected? ›
Music and Mood
Listening to (or making) music increases blood flow to brain regions that generate and control emotions. The limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions and controlling memory, “lights” up when our ears perceive music.
- Music Does Wonders for Your Health.
- Music Can Make You Smarter.
- Music Can Boost Your Social Life.
- Music Can Help Build Confidence.
- Music Teaches Patience and Discipline.
- Music Enhances Creativity.
- Music Helps You Connect with Others.
- Music Can Help You Learn Teamwork.
Our favorite melodies release dopamine, known as the feel-good hormone, which activates our brain's pleasure and reward system. Music can have a positive, immediate impact on our mental state; fast tempos can psychologically and physiologically arouse us, helping energize us for the day.Which instrument is best for brain? ›
According to a recent study from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, learning to play the violin or piano might help kids' brains by giving them some added benefits in key behavioral areas of the cortex.What is the best music to help the brain? ›
Research has proven that classical tunes are the ultimate focus music. There's even a term for this phenomenon: the Mozart Effect. Listening to classical music when you study arouses your brain, making it easier to absorb new information in a meaningful way. Ambient music is another solid option for studying.Why do babies like calming music? ›
The science suggests that music of a slow tempo, with free movement and little change or surprise, turns off pain receptors in our brains to prepare us for sleep. “The lullaby is not usually just an auditory experience – it's really a multi-sensory experience,” adds Trainor.What music do babies like the most? ›
Best of all, play Baby some of your favorite sounds. Classic rock, indie, reggae, R & B, Latin and pop tunes often have steady beats and melodies that are perfect for the very young.Can babies get emotional with music? ›
Taken together, our findings confirm that infants before their first birthday do not yet fully appreciate the emotional implications of music; we are able to see indications of this capacity only at 20 months.What are the 3 most important things in music? ›
Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony are the main elements that a composer uses to design the musical architecture of the piece. A great article to explain this important element in more detail is the Musical Form of a Typical March.What are the four purposes of music? ›
What is the Purpose of Music? There are four obvious purposes: dance, personal or communal entertainment, communication, and ritual.What is so special about music? ›
Music can raise someone's mood, get them excited, or make them calm and relaxed. Music also - and this is important - allows us to feel nearly or possibly all emotions that we experience in our lives.Why do babies love classical music? ›
Classical music has a more complex musical structure. Babies as young as 3 months can pick out that structure and even recognize classical music selections they have heard before. Researchers think the complexity of classical music is what primes the brain to solve spatial problems more quickly.
If you want to start playing music for your baby, the best time is around 24 weeks which is when your baby can begin to hear. But don't pump those jams too loudly!What kind of music should babies listen to? ›
The best music for babies should be quiet and soothing like classical and lullabies, so you should avoid loud and upbeat music. The soothing and calming effect of this type of music help reduce stress and the extremely high heart rate of babies so they can sleep more and grow faster.What month can babies hear music? ›
Starting in the second trimester, around 23 weeks, your baby will be able to hear the music you're listening to. Find out how music affects your baby's hearing development – and how to play it safely for babies in the womb.How does music affect the brain? ›
If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.Why does singing calm babies? ›
In a 2015 study, researchers from the University of Montreal discovered that babies remained calm twice as long when listening to a song as they did when listening to speech. Lullabies and other soothing songs may help your baby form neural pathways for calming down and falling asleep.What music stimulates a baby's brain development? ›
Studies have shown that classical music brings down a newborn's heart and breathing rates and soothes their stress, and that listening to a waltz or concerto might help promote brain development, especially in premature babies.What music is best for brain growth? ›
Many people consider classical music as the best music to use for the facilitation of brain growth as opposed to rock, pop, or other forms of music, but this topic is still up for debate.How do you know if your child is musically gifted? ›
- You Catch Them Humming/Singing Tunes Constantly. ...
- They Spend Long Periods of Time On An Instrument.
- They Notice When A Song or Instrument Is Out Of Tune. ...
- They Seem To Have An Understanding of Rhythm, Tunes, and Songs. ...
- Often Listen To or Talk About Music. ...
If you're still scratching your head about what makes a song a lullaby, here are some classic—and more modern—examples of lullabies that soothe Baby: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Rock-a-Bye Baby. Baa Baa Black Sheep.What sounds are easiest for babies to learn? ›
The M, B, and P sounds are what speech language pathologists call bilabials, and they're some of the easiest phonemes for babies to learn. All of which is a fancy way of saying that many of these sounds will be among the earliest that your baby might learn to reliably produce.