Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Infants respond to music from birth – especially to loving, relationship-based musical interactions with their parents.
Long before birth, the infant has been listening to the musicality of the mother’s voice – the ebb and flow of the pitches, phrases and timing, as well as the rhythms of the mother’s heartbeat, sounds of her digestive system, and movement of her body.
Research shows that the newborn infant can distinguish elements of rhythm, pitch and melody. Sound, rhythm and movement, play vital roles in the physical and psychological development of the foetus. These elements contribute to laying the foundation for the emergence of a musical, social infant who is born to interact, play and learn as a social being.
It is no surprise then, that the study detailed in the link below, reveals how infants respond to highly expressive, emotional interactions that incorporate rhythmic, physical movement, gestures and visual aspects. Such relationship-based, playful and expressive Musical Play, provides numerous opportunities for synchronous movement and the sharing of a flexible, musical pulse. This allows infant and parent to adapt their movements, gestures, tempi, musical form, pitch and contours of sounds.
Parents universally have found that lullabies help to relax, soothe and comfort both them and their tired infant – especially if they are rocking, patting, or stroking the baby with deep pressure touch, or bouncing or walking the infant around the room.
Musical play helps to build strong bonds of love and a secure relationship, which is vital for laying the foundation for a positive start in life.