After our last guest post, I am happy to follow up with this one focusing on how you can help a baby’s brain development with music.  It is just NEVER to early to start children on music.  (I had fun adding pics of my own kids playing around when they were little.)  Enjoy reading about these simple, yet effective ways to build those sweet little brains.  And as always, please share other ideas and stories in the comments of how you may do or have done the same! ~EMP

My son Zach at age 2

Music has an influence over everyone’s emotions, young and old alike. As adults, we know certain types of upbeat music will lift our spirits, while slow, sad songs may send us on a tearful trip down memory lane. But music also has a much deeper affect on our brains. In fact, research (Diane Bales, Ph.D.) has shown music plays an important role in a baby’s brain development. Music, singing or playing an instrument does not necessarily make a child smarter, but it does improve cognitive skills, which in turn lead to developmental advancements at every stage of life.

How Music Works
We are all born with billions of brain cells. During the infant and childhood years, those brain cells form connections with each other. As we grow, the brains connections we use most often become the strongest. Listening to music helps strengthen the music related cell connections which strengthen thinking and reasoning skills.

Turn on the radio or your iPad and listen to some music. As soon as the first note is played, your brain begins to think and reason what the name of the song is, the timing of the first word in conjunction with the music, the name of the band or singer and recalls all the words to a favorite song so you can sing along. Several other subconscious thinking skills were involved with you being able to sing along to a favorite song. Those skills were encouraged and created when you were a baby and listened to music.

Get Baby Rocking
Experts are in semi-agreement to what kind of music helps a baby’s brain develop best. All agree that classical music is the best due to the complex structure of the musical composition. However, most of them also agree while Mozart and Beethoven are the best, pop, country and even a little rock and roll will strengthen brain cell connections.

My daughter Grace at age 1

Play Music
A simple thing like turning the radio on in the nursery can help your baby become smarter. Keep soft music playing in the background while baby plays or naps. While the music plays, brains cells are connecting and outside noise is blocked so Baby can sleep more soundly. The type of music will also impact a baby or child’s mood, so be selective about the music you chose. A lullaby will soothe a baby or toddler while a heavy metal beat may increase activity and energy level.

Sing To Baby
Sing to your baby to accelerate brain development. Your baby or child will not care if you don’t sing well, and it’s a great way to have bonding and play time with your child. Sing all the baby lullabies and silly childhood songs that you loved as a child (which you remember because of the strong musical brain cell connections) and your child will love them too.

Early Music Lessons
If you plan on providing music lessons for your child, start early. Even very young children can learn to keep rhythm on a tambourine or maracas. Introduce them to the piano, drums or other instrument before they start school to help foster a love for music and strong thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their lifetime.

Nick Hernandez writes about child development, parenting and education. His best work is about online education degrees.

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