Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Babies' brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk

Date:
May 9, 2012
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
After completing the first study of its kind, researchers have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk. They found that one-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.

After completing the first study of its kind, researchers at McMaster University have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk.
Credit: © Fernando Cortιs / Fotolia

After completing the first study of its kind, researchers at McMaster University have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk.

Related Articles


They found that one-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.

The findings were published recently in the scientific journals Developmental Science and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

"Many past studies of musical training have focused on older children," says Laurel Trainor, director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. "Our results suggest that the infant brain might be particularly plastic with regard to musical exposure."

Trainor, together with David Gerry, a music educator and graduate student, received an award from the Grammy Foundation in 2008 to study the effects of musical training in infancy. In the recent study, groups of babies and their parents spent six months participating in one of two types of weekly music instruction.

One music class involved interactive music-making and learning a small set of lullabies, nursery rhymes and songs with actions. Parents and infants worked together to learn to play percussion instruments, take turns and sing specific songs.

In the other music class, infants and parents played at various toy stations while recordings from the popular "Baby Einstein" series played in the background.

Before the classes began, all the babies had shown similar communication and social development and none had previously participated in other baby music classes.

"Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parents showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music," says Trainor. "Specifically, they preferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Infants who participated in the passive listening classes did not show the same preferences. Even their brains responded to music differently. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones."

The non-musical differences between the two groups of babies were even more surprising, say researchers.

Babies from the interactive classes showed better early communication skills, like pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. Socially, these babies also smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn't go their way.

While both class types included listening to music and all the infants heard a similar amount of music at home, a big difference between the classes was the interactive exposure to music.

"There are many ways that parents can connect with their babies," says study coordinator Andrea Unrau. "The great thing about music is, everyone loves it and everyone can learn simple interactive musical games together."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. David Gerry, Andrea Unrau, Laurel J. Trainor. Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development. Developmental Science, 2012; 15 (3): 398 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01142.x
  2. Laurel J. Trainor. Musical experience, plasticity, and maturation: issues in measuring developmental change using EEG and MEG. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2012; 1252 (1): 25 DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06444.x

Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Babies' brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm>.
McMaster University. (2012, May 9). Babies' brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm
McMaster University. "Babies' brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) — Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins