New research suggests that playing music to babies helps their brains to develop and leads them to become better communicators as they grow up.
A new study, published in the journal Development Science, indicates that listening to music affects the development of the brain in babies. The study looked at one-year-old babies. The babies showed positive response to interactive music classes, smiling more, communicating better, and showing altered brain responses to music.
The study was led by Laurel Trainor, study author and director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. The paper was titled “Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development.”
According to a press release from McMaster University, the study placed babies into one of two groups. In the first group were babies that participated in an interactive music-making classes where they and their parents learned to play percussion instruments and sing lullabies, nursery rhymes, and songs with actions,. In second group babies that spent that time playing with toys.
UPI note that, after six months, babies in the first grip, who participated in the interactive classes showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music. That is, they preferred music that stayed in key. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones. Babies in the second group, who had been playing with toys, did not show such preferences.
The two groups of babies also showed differences in non-musical skills. Those that had participated in the interactive classes showed better communication skills, like pointing at objects and waving goodbye, and smiled more. They were also easier to calm and seemed less distressed in unfamiliar situations.
Music is said to be good for the soul, may be it is also good for the brain too.