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Your baby's brain on music

Your baby's brain on music

Did you know that a lullaby or soothing music will calm your baby down because it relaxes its heart?

Music is ever-present in our lives, in so many aspects. From birth, parents use music to calm and soothe children, to express their love, joy, and to engage and interact. At home, music can become part of our everyday experiences.

Research has proven that music plays a key role in brain development before birth. Listening to music during pregnancy has a soothing and uplifting effect on the pregnant woman, as well as a positive influence on the unborn baby.

Music ignites all areas of child development and cognitive skills, particularly when it comes to language acquisition and reading skills.

What music should a pregnant mother listen to?

Around 16─18 weeks of pregnancy, the little one hears its very first sound.
By 24 weeks, the little ears start to develop rapidly and babies have been shown to turn their heads in response to voices and noise. In the last few months of pregnancy, an unborn baby can recognize her mother’s voice, her native language, word patterns and rhymes.

In the third trimester, the baby will be able to hear the music you play. Classical music, gentle sounds like lullabies, and soothing melodies that inspire happiness all are designed to be calming and relaxing. 

How music can help your baby sleep

A familiar tune or song becomes like a session of music therapy. Slow, soft, repetitive music will actually slow down the heartbeat and allows for calmer and deeper breathing. The music must be soft, soothing and relaxing to create a calm atmosphere and help regulate their sleeping patterns.

Can music help your child socialize?

Listening to music or playing it with other people has an amazing way of making you feel connected to those around you. Music at early ages helps children express themselves and share feelings, and they can sway, bounce and move their hands in response to music they hear.

Early music training can benefit children before they can walk and talk.
Research has found that children participating in interactive music classes tend to smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.

How Classical Music Influences the Brain

A lot of brain activity occurs as kids listen to classical music. The brain processes the sound, separates the melody from the rhythm and then puts it back together so that the listener enjoys the musical experience — all in a  fraction of a second.

Playing a musical instrument requires increased brain activity. The musician may seem like they are calmly enjoying reading the musical notes and making the required movements, but there are multiple things happening at the same time. Creating songs takes up most parts of the brain. These are the auditory, visual, and motor cortices. When a young mind is involved in such a practice, their brain function is strengthened, and this allows them to be sharper in other activities.

Playing music involves skills controlled by both hemispheres of the brain. Research has shown that it also increases the capacity and the activities that occur in the corpus callosum, which is the bridge between the two regions. The increased volume of the corpus callosum means that messages are relayed faster within the brain. Children who can read music are then able to solve problems quickly, creatively, and effectively.

The Mozart Effect: Does classical music make kids smarter?

The Mozart Effect is a theory that was developed by Doctor Gordon Shaw in the 1990s. It suggests that listening to classical songs makes a person smarter.

Shaw started studying the brain in 1973 when he began investigating the brain’s capability in spatial reasoning. Spatial reasoning is used in playing mind games such as chess, solving arithmetic problems, science, and engineering. He created a model of the human brain where musical notes represented brain activity, and the overall sound produced was similar to the sound of classical music. This inspired Shaw to test the effect of classical music on the brain.

His research showed that preschool students who were introduced to piano lessons once a week recorded a 34% increase in spatial reasoning compared to those who didn’t have lessons. He later conducted the same on college students. He reported that the IQs of college students had risen by as high as 9 points after they listened to Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major by Mozart. 



Benefits of classical music for babies

Undoubtedly, music enhances the development of children. It gives them sustained and focused attention from adults. The benefits are rewarding and can last a lifetime. However, parents shouldn’t leave classical songs playing in the background and assume that its benefits will reach their children. They should be interacting and involved with their kids.

Here are some of the many benefits your baby will experience from being exposed to classical music from day one: 

1. Reduces Blood Pressure
Studies have proven that classical music is effective in lowering blood pressure while other genres of music, such as pop, rap and techno, contributed to an increase in blood pressure. Some studies suggest that classical music can be used to complement treatment for kids with heart disease.

2. Boosts Creativity
Artists often play classical music while doing some artwork. The music might not directly make you creative but it forms the creative mind-set required for work. Teachers have emulated this while training children who engage in creative activities.

3. Boosts Memory
Listening to classical music increases brain wave activity, which is directly connected to memory. 

4. Suppresses Stress Levels
Several studies have proven that the tempo of classical music is similar to the beating of the human heart. This synchrony eases anxiety and explains why classical music often plays in the background of cartoons and other children’s movies. Other reports have suggested that pregnant women who listen to classical music have a lesser chance of feeling stressed.

5. Relieves Depression
Different studies have shown that classical music helps fight melancholy and depression. Teachers opt for classical music to raise the spirits of their children when teaching due to this benefit. 

6. Boosts Brainpower
Did you know that listening to some classical songs can supercharge your brainpower and help you ace your upcoming tests? Classical music not only boosts concentration but also improves memory retention and brainpower.

7. Improves Sleeping Patterns
It is well known that the fastest way to put an infant to sleep is by playing lullabies. The slow tempo of the songs is similar to that of classical music, which lulls the child into a deep slumber. For adults too, listening to classical music before bedtime can help avoid tossing and turning in bed while trying to sleep.

8. Improves Productivity
Classical music is used to make repetitive tasks more enjoyable. Whether in class or at home, you can play classical music around children to improve their reading culture. The tasks the kids perform are likely to be more accurate and efficiently done.

9. Raises Mood
Listening to classical songs increases dopamine secretion, which activates the pleasure and reward centers of the brain.

10. Relieves Pain
As proven by various researchers in London, patients who listen to classical music used less pain-relieving medicine. If your child has a headache, play some classical music instead of giving them another paracetamol. 

11. Therapy for ADHD
Classical music can do wonders for ADHD patients, as it can improve impulse control and enhance language development. Classical music has been tested and proven to help ADHD children focus and concentrate better. For example, Beethoven’s ‘Emperor Concerto for Piano’ is complex but beautiful music, with  details, patterns, and structure which have been proven to excite different portions of a child’s brain simultaneously. This ultimately helps in advancing skills in speech, language, and motor tracking. 

Need some Perfectly Healthy help during your pregnancy and when the baby is born? Browse our wide range of natural wellness products on www.perfectlyhealthy.co.za

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