Music Can Benefit Your Unborn or Born Child
Music can benefit your unborn or born child. In this blog, we will address the potential benefits of music on both the unborn child and the born child.
Studies have examined the effects of different forms of music on plant growth. Classical music is consistently shown to have the most positive effect.
Studies on animals have shown that “chaotic” or “atonal” music affects brains in a negative way.
Most of us know from our own experiences that different types of music inspires different responses in us. Up tempo music may energize us. Slow, sonorous music may be restful or pacifying. But can music do more than affect our emotions . . . can it affect the functioning of our minds as well? And, if music can affect us in both emotional and cognitive ways, can these benefits transcend the moment that the music is heard to create long-term enhanced capacities? To know this, scientists are studying the effects of music on children’s ability to learn and to be creative.
Music and the Unborn Child
Studies have shown that an unborn child can hear music and respond to music by moving. What studies have not conclusively established is whether that movement indicates pleasure or discomfort. Further, there is a paucity of scientific evidence on the post-birth effects of stimulation on an unborn child (i.e., whether stimulation increases intelligence, creativity, or emotional range in later development).
Anecdotally, however, parents who play music for their unborn children have reported that some unborn children alter their breathing to keep time with the music. Additionally, when the same music is played after the children are born, some parents report that the children recognize the music and respond to it by either perking up or falling asleep, depending on the type of music involved. This suggests (but does not conclusively prove) that music played to unborn children can energize or pacify them, and that effect (energizing or pacifying) can persist post-birth.
Whether or not music can affect the unborn child directly, studies have conclusively shown the effects of music on adults (i.e., music energizing or pacifying adults). Since a pregnant woman’s experience is translated physically and chemically to her unborn child, it follows that music may have at least a secondary effect on unborn children (the the primary effect then being on the mother).
In sum, music played to an unborn child likely affects the child’s emotions both pre- and post-birth, but it has yet to be seen whether music played to an unborn child can affect the child’s post-birth intelligence and creativity. Whether primary or secondary, the unborn child can benefit from well chosen music.
Music and the Born Child
Studies have established that music (specifically, playing a musical instrument) can enhance a child’s ability to learn and to be creative. For example, among three-year-olds and four-year-olds, piano lessons have been seen to enhance math and spatial reasoning skills.
It is also well established that music can affect children’s experience of emotions.
Since there are fewer gray areas regarding music and the born child, many parents shift their focus from “if music affects a child” to “what music should I play to affect my child”. Slow, sonorous, concordant classical music is recommended.
In sum, music played to and by a born child likely affects the child’s intelligence, creativity, or emotional range.
Whether unborn or born, children may benefit from music.
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