The Effect Music has on Babies' Brains

An article posted by Science Daily writes about a study that scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences performed on nine-month-old babies. The study showed that their brain processing of music and speech could increase, simply by listening to various music styles. For an entire month, researchers focused on thirty-nine babies, listening to music with their parents in the lab. There were twelve, fifteen-minute play sessions. Twenty babies were placed in the music group, where children’s music played and an experimenter led the babies and their parents through the music, tapping out the beats in time of the music. The songs were in triple meter, much like in a waltz, which is supposed to be fairly challenging for babies to learn. The other nineteen babies were placed in the control group, which had no music playing. Those babies simply played with their toys that allowed them to move in other ways, without music. In both of the groups, these babies were placed in social environments, moving around and taking part in all of the activities. This is how children learn. However, the difference between the two groups was the music. A week after the play sessions ended, researchers measured the babies’ brain responses, using magnetoencephalography. According to the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, magnetoencephalography is a non-invasive system for inspecting human brain activity. It displays where the activity of the brain is produced and allows the measurement of ongoing brain activity in a millisecond-by-millisecond basis. This enabled them to pinpoint the timing and location of brain activity. The researchers played different music and speech sounds that were occasionally paused or disrupted. They came to find out that the babies in the music group had stronger brain responses to the disruptions in both the music and speech sounds than the babies in the control group. The babies in the music group were able to identify the patterns in sounds, strengthening their cognitive and learning skills.

Researchers such as Christina Zhao found that the babies were able to take their experience with listening to the rhythmic patterns in music and associate them with possible rhythmic patterns in speech. With this said, it has been determined that surrounding children at an early age with music can have a positive effect on cognitive skills in children all around the world. Both music and language consist of steady rhythmic patterns. Having the ability to pick up on certain patterns and conclude what is going to happen next is an important cognitive ability. As children grow up, this skill could have long-lasting effects on their learning.

Surround your child by the beauty of music. Not only does it allow expression through the arts, but it also enhances learning at a young age. It is exceedingly important to us at Ryan Ace Music that every child is able to experience the love and passion that music instills in us.