Avery was only three weeks old when she started going to a music class. I didn’t have her enrolled in one, but she went with me when I took my oldest to her music class. For the first couple of classes she slept through the entire thing. The loud sounds of the band playing and 20 little kids screaming and playing whatever instrument they could get their hands on, didn’t seem to bother her at all.
As she got a little bit older and was awake more during the day, she was more alert for class. I didn’t know how she would react the the music at such a young age, but I was surprised with what I saw. The first time that she stayed awake for class, she sat in my lap completely content for the entire hour. She was so enamored by the music, the instruments, the bubbles, that it completely kept her attention.
I don’t know if it is a New York City thing, but taking infants and babies to music classes is quite common here in the city. We have dozen of options of places where we can take our children. Parents enroll their child in classes not too long after they are born. Although most of the time many moms do it as a great way to meet other moms with babies, new research says that babies’ brains benefit from the musical training.
The researchers from McMaster University have discovered that musical training benefits children even at a very young age. The study followed one-year old babies that took a weekly music class for six months.
The first group of babies took a music class that was very interactive. The babies learned lullabies, nursery rhymes, and even songs with actions. They also played with musical instruments during the songs.
The other group took a music class that was much less interactive. The class had the babies playing with toys at different stations while Baby Einstein music was playing in the background.
“Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parents showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music,” says Laurel Trainor, director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. “Specifically, they preferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Infants who participated in the passive listening classes did not show the same preferences. Even their brains responded to music differently. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones.”
There was much more than just musical benefit. The babies that were in the interactive musical class also showed to have better early communication and social skills. The babies pointed at objects, waved goodbye, and smiled more. The research showed that they were also easier to soothe when upset.
My oldest started taking a weekly music class as soon as we moved to New York City, when she was just nine months old. From my personal experience, I would agree with the findings from the study. Music has become such an important part in her life that she loves to be surrounded by it.
We have taken some of what we’ve learned in the classes to our home. We have an entire set of musical instruments and spend time making music with one another and singing. Although Avery is still so young and can’t play along, I still get her involved while we play because it is fun for all of us. I’m glad to know that it not only helps her musically, but will also help her in other ways in life.
When did you expose your child to music?