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It's Music to My Ears
Calming, soothing, or rejuvenating, the right kind of music can promote a feeling of well-being and serve as a distraction from pain or anxiety. It works for the young and the old!
Researchers have also found a correlation between music and brain development. Playing music is known to stimulate brain development by promoting the development of neural synapses, that is, the building up of brain cell connections. The more developed the neural synapses; the better developed the brain on both the intelligence and physical levels. There will be a quicker grasp of language, improved motor movements and better spatial understanding.
Listening to music is less effective than playing it, but it does help stimulate the brain. If babies do not receive sufficient stimulation, the neural synapses will not connect to a great extent and mental development will be slowed down. This is why it is important to constantly interact with your baby, to cuddle her, talk to her, sing to her and play music that will capture her interest.
Listening to music can also contribute to the production and release of antibodies called endorphins in the brain. Endorphins, which are also produced when you run or do aerobic exercises, are brain chemicals that have feel-good, infection-fighting and pain-alleviating properties. So, in short, listening to music can make for a happier, healthier life.
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In the Symphony?
There has been plenty of research concerning classical music and baby brain development. One of the most well-known is the so-called Mozart Effect research, which was carried out in the 1990s. In this research, which was initially conducted on college-level students, it was found that listening to classical musicians, such as Mozart can improve spatial reasoning abilities on a short-term basis. This could lead to some interesting conclusions, however the research is controversial as it has not been successfully replicated, and the same music will affect people in different ways.
However, the Mozart Effect caught popular imagination in a big way and led to the idea that listening to Mozart made people smarter. This led to the practice of exposing babies and young children to classical music, and Mozart in particular, to give them a head start in life.
While the Mozart Effect may or may not hold true, listening to music does, as mentioned, promote a sense of well-being and have a positive effect on babies.
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Ways to Include Music
- Use calming music or lullabies to soothe your baby to sleep.
- Play up-beat music to create a happy, lively atmosphere during bath time or playtime.
- Music can make mealtimes fun.
- Calming music provides a soothing distraction during a visit to the doctor.
- Listening to familiar music can help a baby adjust better to an unfamiliar environment.
- It can be used to calm an upset baby.
- Listening to your favorite music with your baby can help you bond better.
Different babies have different likes and dislikes. You can try out various music pieces and see which ones your baby responds to the best. Let the music play and watch your baby bounce along in tune. The early musical exposure may lead to a life-long love of music and an enriched world-view.