Ever wondered about Baby Einstein? Or even Baby Mozart?
Does it really make your baby smarter if you listen to it while pregnant? Is classical music for babies good for her brain development?
Or is it just another money-making scheme dreamt up by a marketing department determined to cash in on spend-happy parents anxious to give their children an advantage over their peers?
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was wondering the same thing.
Would I give my baby a leg up if I blasted baby Mozart at her at all hours?
Could I raise her IQ points only through replacing my usual playlist with Mozart sonatas? Just imagine if she’d sail through any future school tests, just because I was savvy enough to play her classical music for babies when she was still only in my womb.
I was determined to find out. Truth be told, it took me a while to uncover the facts, as there has been a lot of media hype and widespread debate about this phenomenon.
Still, once I found out the truth, it set me off on a life-enriching journey that I’m delighted to share with you here. So you can use this to your advantage and start your baby’s soundtrack to her life from now on.
The answer is yes.
Classical music is good for your unborn baby and beyond-all the way through to adulthood.
In fact, listening to and actively playing music can enhance a person’s life by several factors.
Let me explain.
Why classical music for babies?
Have you ever heard of the Mozart effect? Well, in 1993, a scientific review was published in the well-regarded journal Science. The research found that students who were exposed to Mozart’s 1781 Sonata for Two Pianos in D major did better in spatial tests than other young adults who either had listened to different or no music at all.
Even though there were no babies involved, this study led to intense media interest. I don’t know who first coined the phrase: Mozart Effect, but it seemed everywhere. Still, as the study was small, there has been a debate since about whether the effect even exists.
However, the hype spawned more studies and the rise of a whole new cottage industry selling books and CDs of classical music for babies and unborn children. Even the state of Georgia gave away a classical music cd for newborns.
In more recent research, fetuses were exposed to classical music during the final weeks of pregnancy. After six months, those babies were checked and found more advanced when it came to intellectual and linguistic development than their peers who weren’t treated to 70 hours of classical music while in the womb. The lucky babies were also reported to have more advanced motor skills than those peers.
Interestingly, a Spanish study found that when fetuses were exposed to Bach, Mozart, and Bohemian Rapsody by Queen (piped through the womb), they seemed to enjoy this music more (by moving their mouths or tongues) than songs by Shakira and the Beegees. Who knew babies could be such musical connaisseurs?
The result of all the different studies leads scientists to believe that exposure to music helps babies and children to improve their physical, emotional & intellectual development. And it also strengthens their cognitive and sensory development.
This is not just classical music. If your baby gets exposed to lots of music and plays an instrument as a child, he will reap many benefits throughout his life. Not least a lasting love for music and a great hobby. So saying yes to a life filled with music can help your child boost:
- his creative skills (a Hungarian study found that 3-4-year-olds following a music/singing lass had greater creative skills than their peers who didn’t receive such tuition.
- his memory (music is linked to the learning process)
- spatial intelligence -listening to classical music will help spatial tasks such as folding, cutting or doing intricate puzzles
- mathematics (music helps children understand mathematical concepts more easily)
- language (listening to music will help babies practice to code auditory data and sharpen her auditory memory-building stones of language development
- emotional intelligence (listening to classical music will help babies to start detecting moods & emotions in other people)
Even celebrities have cottoned on to this:
“I basically played Mozart and violin concertos again and again because it stimulated the inner ear of the unborn baby. And everything that they promised happened to both my children. They came out alert, unbelievably clever, and very relaxed.”Helena Bonham Carter
More benefits of music for babies
But wait, there’s more. If these benefits aren’t enough to convince you to put Classic FM on right now, keep reading…
Classical music for babies: great for bedtime
Some babies who find it hard to go to sleep or suffer from restless sleep might benefit from a soundtrack of classical music before and during nap time.
Dr. Trevor Holly Cates of The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians claims that music can help a child relax and prepare for sleep. What’s more, pediatrician Dr. Sears finds that music can help children sleep longer. You will benefit most from this if you build calming classical music into his routine, to make your baby associate this music with sleeping.
But what music is best? Have a look at our ultimate classical music for babies list.
But don’t just use your i tunes. Did you know that your own voice is the most effective instrument of all?
Singing lullabies to your baby before bedtime is not just a great bonding experience, but it usually sends her off to sleep pretty quickly too. Heck, it’s even scientifically proven that lullabies are the best way to calm a baby.
A doctoral student from the Université de Montréal, Marieve Corbei, conducted a study into this well-known phenomenon. She concluded that lullabies:
- help with regulating baby’s emotions
- work to foster a stronger bond between a baby and her parents
- help with setting the all-important routine
So there you have it, classical music for babies is a positive thing to introduce into your life. But if this isn’t enough to convince you, I just wanted to add to this with my own experience of classical music for babies and older children.
Classical music is a hit with our kids
What I wasn’t prepared for was the start of a love affair with classical music. I loved listening to the playlist. It relaxed me when anxious, and it set me off on a music appreciation journey, which has benefited my now three small children no end.
Because I find myself playing classical music in the car before school drop-off. What’s more, Vivaldi provides us with a mellow soundtrack to our lazy Sunday mornings.
Also, my oldest has just taken up piano lessons and loves it. Often I find my boy racing to the piano as soon as he gets home. It relaxes him after a long and busy day.
So as you can imagine, I’m very thankful; I had taken up classical music for babies when they were young as we are now all reaping the benefits.
ps…Do you love reading and would like to raise a reader? Start now with our 8 easy ways to foster reading habits in your baby.