How Music Affects Your Baby's Brain Development

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Baby with Headphones
Music and Your Baby’s Brain
Just like the way an upbeat song can make you want to get up and dance or a ballad can help calm you down, babies react much in the same way. Even before they understand actual words, a baby’s brain can form musical connections and react to the tone of different kinds of music.

When babies are born, their brains possess billions of neurons, or brain cells, which will help them grow and develop. During the very first year of your baby’s life, these neurons will form connections with other neurons. The connections that are most commonly used will become stronger.

If your baby is exposed to music early on, the connections to music he or she will make can even affect the way they think growing up.

Baby girl playing piano

Music and Communication

Lullabies are used all over the world for a reason—the repetitive, soothing sounds are able to relax and calm your child in preparation for sleep. But they are also one of the first ways to teach comprehension and memorization.

While singing a lullaby to your little one, your facial expression likely changes depending on the phrase you are singing. This transfers to your child, who can start picking up on body language and reciprocating. This is the start of healthy parent-child communication, and will help them to feel at ease.*

Exposing your child to music is listed as one of the top 10 ways to promote language and communication for infants and toddlers by the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina** for the following reasons:

  • Children with stronger musical skills are more likely to have greater phonological awareness.
  • Songs and musical activities have been shown to increase children’s vocabulary.
  • Musical activities are linked with improvements in children’s communication skills.

Baby playing piano with mom

Teaching a Love of Music

There are many simple things you can do to help boost your child’s love of music and help make those musical neuron connections stronger in your baby:

  • Sing to your baby, whether you think you have a good voice or not! Your baby will love picking up on the patterns and will even begin to recognize melodies they hear over and over.
  • Play music around your baby, whether a musical instrument, the radio, or from your phone. Just remember to keep the volume moderate—anything louder could damage your baby’s hearing.
  • Encourage music learning at your baby’s daycare or with caregivers. The more people that sing to or play music with your baby, the better for building stronger communication and a love for music from a very early age.

Recorded Music vs. Personal Interaction for Development

While it’s important to expose your child to music to assist in brain development, it shouldn’t take the place of personal interaction. A show like Baby Einstein is great to keep their attention for a few minutes while you get the dishes done, but singing face-to-face, talking, or reading to your baby is proven to promote brain development. ***

At CSP, Inc., we understand that as a parent, you want nothing more than for your child to thrive. Exposing your child to music for baby brain development right from the start is one of the best ways to help them learn how to communicate and make emotional connections with others.