Even Before Birth, Baby Hears Sounds
One of the first of the five senses developed by a fetus in the womb is the sense of hearing. You know, from your pregnancy, that your baby responded to certain noises outside of the womb - perhaps kicking to upbeat music or quieting when you or your partner spoke lovingly to your baby bump. When the baby was born, the responses remained the same. Babies respond to sound. As a matter of fact, there are only two fears a baby is born with, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.
All of this points to the truth that your baby can benefit from the sound of music, from birth onward. Think about how you are affected by music - how great dance music makes you want to move around and quiet music can lull you to sleep. Now, think about how a lullaby can quiet your baby when he's fussing at 2:00am and you want him to go back to sleep. Music is amazing.
Does Music Make My Baby Smarter?
When it comes to music making a baby smarter - there is no concrete science to back up the claim. However, there is a phenomenon known as the Mozart Effect which showed that listening to classical compositions by Mozart seemed to improve performance of certain mental tasks. Some experts insist that playing an instrument makes children smarter in mathematics, but that finding is based on research on older children and not infants and toddlers.
Listening with your baby to music that is pleasing and upbeat can create a fun atmosphere for playtime. While there isn't necessarily a "best type" of music for babies, classical baby music does seem to have a positive effect. Statistics back up the idea that classical baby music helps in infant development by stimulating mental awareness. Neural coding is helped when children are exposed to good music as well.
You Are The Music
Baby songs are available in any number of ways. You are one source. Your baby really doesn't care what you sound like and if you're on pitch. Sing to your baby - lullabies at bedtime and more upbeat music during the day. You can turn playtime into musical theater by making faces and doing actions to songs or by using puppets and creating a little play complete with music. Baby will enjoy it, and you will too. Make up songs for your baby to suit whatever you are doing.
Stay Away from the Hard Stuff
Let your own personal preferences for music be the basis of your baby song choices. If you like classical music and your baby seems to enjoy it as well, then listen away. Play your favorite music and dance with your baby, singing the songs to baby. Pick the slower ones for bedtime and the spicy ones for just having fun. There are a few styles you will want to avoid - hard rock, head banging stuff, grunge music and rap all have negative impact. Animal studies have shown that constant exposure to chaotic, discordant music alters the brain's structure. Dr. Rosalie Pratt, a professor of music medicine at Brigham Young University said that even plants abhor this style of music, growing poorly and languishing in the presence of it.
Where to Find Good Baby Music
Many of the current brainy baby educational products like Baby Einstein, use a combination of music, visuals and books to feed the baby's brain. There are myriad sources of baby music online and places where you can get baby music to download. Check out any of the great places for baby music mp3 downloads and find the ones that fit your child's disposition best.
Make music the most important fixture in your home rather than the television. An investment of music in the life of your baby will help your child cultivate an interest in and ear for music. Who knows, maybe another Mozart is on the horizon.