Classical Music for Classy Baby?

baby-einstein-take-along-tunes-musical-toy

Nurul Wardah Ishak

u1017458

Music is a necessity. It is a touch of magic in our everyday lives. I believe it encourages creativity and is a unique form of emotional expression. Thus, it is no surprise that expectant parents would love to introduce their child to the world with music in tow. Luckily enough for these parents, there are several educational toys that include or even emphasizes musical features. One of the said products is the Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes. Click here for the link to the toy. The toy is designed with a big handle and a colorful central button to cycle through several musical pieces. The musical pieces are from famous classical melodies such as Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin, and Rossini. According to the website, this product is targeted for children age 3 months and up. The product claims to be beneficial for children because it will promote auditory development through classical music pieces. I chose this product because I believe this is one of many products that highlights the intriguing but important nature of music in a child’s development.

In regards to auditory development, newborn infants are able to distinguish various intensities and frequencies of sound as the auditory nerve and peripheral sensory system is basically mature by birth (Borstein, Arterberry & Lamb, 2014, p.154). Meanwhile, by 6 to 7 months, infants are already sensitive to features of music and are capable of discriminating pitch and timing (Borstein, Arterberry & Lamb, 2014, p.106). Since the product is targeted for 3 months old, I believe the effects will fall on deaf ears –pun intended- as infants respond to music by 6-7 months of age.

According to the product description, use of this device will boost auditory development through classical music. Though I couldn’t find a specific article that emphasizes on the effects of classical music, I did however come across an article that highlights the effects of music on auditory development. The goal of the study was to find structural brain differences in response to music training. The study sample consisted of 31 children who are randomly assigned into 2 groups; the instrumental group and the control group. The instrumental group, with the mean age of 6.32 years old, were subjected to private keyboard lesson. Meanwhile, the control group, with the mean age of 5.90 years old, were not subjected to musical training. The study was conducted in the period of 15 months. The participants were tested on a series of behavioral tests and an MRI scan of the brain at the start and end of the study. The behavioral tests were conducted to assess fine-finger motor skills along with music listening and discrimination skills. The study found that the instrumental group did significantly better in both finger motor sequencing task and the melodic/rhythmic discrimination test. Furthermore, the study also found a significant change over time in the instrumental group brain deformation. More specifically, they mentioned a deformation in the right primary auditory region and the right motor hand area of the brain. Therefore, the study proves that music does have a significant impact on brain development especially in terms of auditory development (Hyde et al., 2009).

Personally, I find that the claims that Baby Einstein Company makes on the Take Along Tunes to be well-founded on the aspect of musical benefits for young babies. As mentioned in the article, music has the ability to develop the auditory part of the brain (Hyde et al., 2009). But it is important to note that there’s a lack of research on the exact impact of classical music on infants’ auditory development. In fact, I have to point out that the study sample above did not include 3 month-old babies but younger children instead. However, I do believe the effects of music on the development of the brain can still be applied to them. In conclusion, this product is a convenient and adorable way to introduce a child to music.

Reference

  • Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes. (2017). Toysrus. Retrieved 17 February 2017, from http://www.toysrus.com/buy/stroller-car-seat-toys/baby-einstein-take-along-tunes-30704-2967795
  • Borstein, M., Arterberry, M., & Lamb, M. (2014). Development in Infancy, Fifth Edition (5th Edition) (5th ed., pp. 106, 154-156). New York: Psychology Press.
  • Hyde, K., Lerch, J., Norton, A., Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Evans, A., & Schlaug, G. (2009). Musical Training Shapes Structural Brain Development. Journal Of Neuroscience, 29(10), 3019-3025. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.5118-08.2009

 

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6 thoughts on “Classical Music for Classy Baby?

  1. Treasure Lundskog u0795077

    From the time I was 5 years old I have been involved in music (violin, guitar, piano, harp, etc.) all of which have helped to enrich my life on a personal level. Because of my love for music, I found your article very interesting as it talks about the effects of music at a young age. I personally believe (as do several other scientific sources) that being involved in music during your life can greatly enhance it. Your mention of the study of children who took musical lessons compared to those who didn’t was extremely fascinating (although not too surprising). I really enjoyed this piece and the fact that it concentrates on something that interests a lot of parents raising young children.

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  2. Hannah Rentz-u0991445

    I do agree that music is beneficial to infant development. Some say that classical music aids brain function. As many caretakers have sworn by, including Karrie from “The Incredibles”, “Mozart makes babies smarter”. When I and my younger brothers were infants and up until the age of approximately five, we listed primarily to classical music and simple tunes from Disney. We have all become smart individuals, and are all very skilled in music, rhythm keeping, and all have deep rooted interest in music. My husband, however, was exposed to his father’s consistent heavy metal and rock music as a child, in addition to the typical children’s tunes and nursery rhymes of Mexico. He is not only also mentally gifted, but also have a very good gift with music. This makes me wonder, would a variety of music and exposure to as many different styles as possible help a child more than merely listening to one style in their youth? Either way, I agree with you that music is not only beneficial for children, but also educational in the long run.

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  3. Hannah Twede- u0741064

    I really enjoyed reading this! I have always wondered about music in the context of child development. I have heard a lot about exposing babies to classical music when they are young and even during the pregnancy. I have questioned the validity of that, but I am happy to have a better understanding of it now. I absolutely feel very effected by music, so it makes sense that it would have an effect on a child to some degree. I would be very interested to hear about more studies done that are geared more toward understanding if classical music has any differing effects, whether positive or negative. I would imagine the results would be just about the same, as music is music, and different things speak to different people, but I cannot say for sure. I absolutely would agree that music is an amazing educational tool for children!

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  4. Alexis May U1009709

    This is a very interesting topic! From the time that I can remember, my parents would play classical music in the car. I certainly gained an appreciation for classical music like Beethoven and Mozart. However, gaining an appreciation for music does not necessarily correlate with infant development. There is not enough research surrounding this topic and with that being said I do not believe that any clear points can be made in regards to infants listening to classical music. I do believe that it is important to have an appreciation for classical music because of the history surrounding it and I definitely believe that there is no harm for infants being exposed to classical music. I do wonder if exposure to classical music as infants has any correlation with musical achievement later in life.

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  5. Jeffrey Orrego – u0885013

    It’s fascinating how music is able to influence children. Just like you mentioned, the toy is a convenient way to introduce the baby to music. However, I do have questions regarding the product. I wonder if the toy is able to reproduce a high quality of sound that is not too loud to harm the infant. There have been governmental regulations set in place to control the volume of these sounds to prevent harmful consequences. Regardless, most of these regulations often fall short. Since this toy is directed for 3 month old infants, they will have it even closer to their ears when chewing the toy. Perhaps the parents will not notice, but there is possibility that it could harm the infant’s hearing. That is my main concern. Besides that, it looks to be a great toy for babies. I would like to believe that classical music is a great tool to help children develop themselves in both auditory processing and motor skills.

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  6. Nikolajs Pecholcs u0827629

    I love psychology studies that involve music they always kind of reinforce how important music is to a persons life. When I was an infant, and through my early childhood I really didn’t listen to music at all. I find things like this very interesting because I did struggle as a child with many things such as school. I wonder if I was exposed to music throughout my early life if things would have been different. For the past few years I have been listening to classical music as I study, and do my school work. Overall I have been a more relaxed person, and I feel that I have had increased performance since i have started doing this. I think it would be interesting to do a study comparing the effects that different genres of music might have on development between infants, and if it leads to future music preferences.

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