Babies, like the rest of living creatures (adults, animals, plants) greatly benefit from a musical environment.
Of course, It all starts even before the day of birth…
Music affects the physical, emotional, cognitive, sensory, and intellectual development of babies and children.
Your baby benefits from a VARIETY of music. You don’t have to limit your pregnancy and newborn baby playlist to only Mozart or quiet lullabies. “Diversity of different kinds of music are essential and can be useful for the baby’s future writing, reading, and language skills,” says Dr. Philip A. De Fina, chief neuropsychologist and director of Neurotherapy at the NYU Brain Research Laboratories.
As with all good things, the key to music stimulation is moderation. If you’re getting tired of listening to certain music, chances are your baby is too…
Music can bring on strong emotions. By listening to expressive (not only) classical music, babies enhance their ability to detect moods and emotions in others, while developing awareness of their own inner processes through the nuances of feelings evoked by the music. The modern word here is EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
Another one is SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE – Spatial intelligence is the ability to perceive various relationships in space and understand the visual world. Music can be a wonderful part in this learning process.
A study conducted in Hungary found that 3-4-year-olds who were given music and signing lessons obtained higher grades in CREATIVITY than children of the same age who did not receive any musical training. Never too early to start boosting your baby’s creative skills.
Three-month-old babies can use music to help them remember things they have learned. Scientists now believe that music gives significance to the learning process and helps remember it… so yes, every time you ask your smart speaker to play something beautiful know that you’re also helping to develop your baby’s MEMORY.
A study found that first graders who had been given intensive musical instruction demonstrated considerably more progress in MATHEMATICS than classmates who had received a standard musical education. Scientists believe that the connection between music and mathematics is partly related to the fact that music helps children understand mathematical concepts.
Recently I watched the first episode of a NETFLIX series “BABIES “which was called “First words”, all about how babies learn the language. There is a close connection between music and linguistic development. Both skills require the ability to differentiate between auditory nuances and similar sounds, such as “B” and “P”. Listening to music contributes greatly to babies’ development of this skill and will develop the ability to decode auditory data and sharpen your child’s auditory memory – abilities which are fundamental to language comprehension.
When working with babies I personally love to have the music on as much as possible. It feels like an upgrade to an already amazing day with little angel. One can either sooth baby to sleep, or wake up fully one very ‘sleepy head’. For sleep training, I played around and tried so called “delta sounds”. They do wonders. When baby wakes up at the’ crazy’ hour at night not long from previous feed and I am trying to form some nice pattern of night feeds for her/him, I try to prevent the unsettled wiggle progress into CRYING. Many times, just turning delta sounds music on will sooth baby back to sleep, without the need to touch, feed or pick up from crib.
What are DELTA sounds? Maybe I first explain what sound is? Sound is created by a vibrating object. Sound travels as a wave through a medium, for example, a liquid (such as water), a solid, or a gas (such as air). Therefore, sound does not exist in the vacuum of space. Although sound travels as a wave, the individual particles of the medium do not travel with the wave, but only vibrate back and forth centered on a spot called its equilibrium position. The frequency of sound waves is measured in hertz, which has the symbol Hz. The bigger the number, the greater the frequency and the higher the pitch of the sound. Human beings can generally hear sounds as low as 20 Hz and as high as 20,000 Hz (20 kHz).
When talking about the brain- delta waves – these have a frequency from one to four hertz and are measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG). These brain waves are thought to emerge from the thalamus and are generally associated with slow-wave sleep (during the third stage of sleep.) This period of sleep during which delta waves occur is often known as deep sleep.
In a process called entrainment (aka “tuning the brain”), when exposed to sound waves at certain frequencies, brainwave patterns adjust to align with those frequencies. It is done with good quality headset.
To make the matter sound more complicated I will introduce one more sound-related caption here, by which I got fascinated when I experimented with sounds on myself- BINAURAL BEATS.
What are binaural beats?
When you hear two tones, one in each ear, that are slightly different in frequency, your brain processes a beat at the difference of the frequencies. This is called a binaural beat.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re listening to a sound in your left ear that’s at a frequency of 132 Hertz (Hz). And in your right ear, you’re listening to a sound that’s at a frequency of 121 Hz. Your brain, however, gradually falls into synchrony with the difference — or 11 Hz. Instead of hearing two different tones, you instead hear a tone at 11 Hz (in addition to the two tones given to each ear).
Binaural beats are considered auditory illusions. For a binaural beat to work, the two tones have to have frequencies less than 1000 Hz, and the difference between the two tones can’t be more than 30 Hz. The tones also have to be listened to separately, one through each ear. Binaural beats have been explored in music and are sometimes used to help tune instruments, such as pianos and organs. More recently, they have been connected to potential health benefits. Binaural beats between 1 and 30 Hz are alleged to create the same brainwave pattern that one would experience during meditation. In general:
- Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) range have been associated with deep sleep and relaxation.
- Binaural beats in the theta (4 to 8 Hz) range are linked to REM sleep, reduced anxiety, relaxation, as well as meditative and creative states.
- Binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 13 Hz) are thought to encourage relaxation, promote positivity, and decrease anxiety.
- Binaural beats in the lower beta frequencies (14 to 30 Hz) have been linked to increased concentration and alertness, problem-solving, and improved memory.
The use of binaural beats in this way is sometimes called brainwave entrainment technology. One must use headphones for binaural beats to work. You can easily find audio files of binaural beats online, such as on YouTube, or you can purchase CDs or download audio files directly to your mp3 player or another device.
Even thou I obviously do not let baby use headphones at night to experience the binaural beats, still, I think the effect of sounds mentioned I observed was good enough.
Try to experiment with it, and do not worry that after some time your baby will need this music each time. I trust that overtime baby will learn how to soothe itself even in a quiet environment and to continue smoothly into the next sleep cycle.
I do not let the music play the whole night, after the baby settled, I lower the volume and after a short time turn it off completely.
Apart from music, there are other things I regularly have ‘on’ whilst in baby’s company. I often listen to AUDIO LANGUAGE COURSES (such as Pimsleur, Michel Thomas …) but I always ask the parents what their preferred language of choice is. This benefits us all, I listen to the sentence and I repeat out loud with my own voice. Baby is content, learning and kept awake.
Not only music but also some suitable radio or podcast programs in a language of the parent’s choice can greatly benefit the baby’s speech development. This also gives me, as a baby nanny, the opportunity to keep my mind stimulated. I believe that babies should be exposed to grown-ups talk in grown-up words and these are some of the ways I do it ( on top of talking to baby as much as possible ).
You can observe your baby and overtime notice what it likes and prefers. You can judge by its body language.
It has never been easier to source and access vast varieties of music. The internet has made it all accessible to us. On the go or at home.
Let’s use this gift to our and little one’s benefit.
“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” – Leonard Bernstein