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Musical Brain
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The Many Benefits of Prenatal Music Stimulation

Over the past several years new scientific research has overwhelmingly shown that there are many benefits to playing music while pregnant, including; positive affects on fetal brain development, prenatal learning, reducing stress levels during pregnancy, improving a baby’s sleeping habits after birth, and providing a wonderful bonding opportunity in utero.

Of course, there’s no need to take our word for it. Click on each of the headings below and read for yourself what the experts are saying.

 
 
 
 

REDUCE STRESS LEVELS DURING PREGNANCY (click to read more)

"Pre-natal stress hugely growths the likelihood of a child having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, cognitive delay, anxiousness and depression. Stress during pregnancy as well increments the risk of the child being autistic and, in rare cases, schizophrenic. Stressed mothers also produce babies with lower birth weight, which can be an indicator for coronary heart condition in later life." - Vivette Glover, Professor of Perinatal Psychobiology, Imperial College London

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"When a mother is extremely stressed during pregnancy, she produces hormones called glucocorticoids that cross the placenta to the baby and can alter the development of its kidney and heart." - Dr. Karen Moritz, University of Queensland School of Biomedical Science

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"Stress and a series of unpleasant experiences can reactivate the emotional circuits. But, going back to our main subject, music has the capability of transforming emotions into love, moments of happiness and tenderness, and thus contributing to the child’s harmonious development." - Musica Prenatal, Scientific Discoveries

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"93% were positively affected by the music, and typical reactions were that the music was exceptionally relaxing and good against stress; that it was energizing, etc. No one was negatively affected." - Independent 12 week study by musicians and composers, Claus D Jensen and Henrik Birk Aaboe

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"As to the indirect effect on infant/toddler, which is the effect achieved when the parents are calmed and their state is imparted to the infant/toddlers, we cannot draw any certain conclusion from our study. However we refer to the section on stress, where 57% of the parents questioned believe that there is a connection between their stress and their children’s restlessness." - Independent 12 week study by musicians and composers, Claus D Jensen and Henrik Birk Aaboe

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"Because the premature infant does have a developed sense of sound, and due to his/her loss of the intrauterine environment, sounds evocative of the womb can greatly improve the health of an infant. Lullabies increased oxygen saturation levels, healthy sleep patterns and weight gain in newborns. In addition, irritability decreased, sucking ability improved, the length of the hospital stay was shortened, and head circumference, which indicates brain size, increased. Researchers have found that low birth weight babies, whose head circumference does not grow at a fast enough rate, display decreased cognitive abilities later in life." - Dr. Fred Schwartz, and Dr. Jayne Standley

 

IMPROVE SLEEPING HABITS AFTER BIRTH (click to read more)

"The newborn, when it hears music that it heard when it was still in the mother’s womb, eats more, sleeps more and cries less. This occurs not because the babies have received any special treatment, but because powerful, positive links were created through love and music." - Vivette Glover, Professor of Perinatal Psychobiology, Imperial College London

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"Babies remember music they hear in the womb more than a year later. Some mothers find that playing the same calming music they listened to before the baby was born calms the baby after birth." - Keith Whiting, 3 Types Of Music You Must Avoid If You Are Pregnant

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"Babies who have been stimulated while in the womb exhibit advanced visual, auditory, language and motor development skills. These babies sleep better, are more alert to their environment and surroundings and are far more content than infants who did not receive any form of prenatal stimulation." - Thomas Verny, M.D., and Rene Van de Carr.

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"After becoming involved in playing music and singing to our twins in the NICU, we felt for the first time like we were helping them get well. To this day, my kids love Vivaldi, which we played for them, but they vastly prefer our singing. Even today it soothes them and helps them sleep." - Tamar Weiss, Magical Melodies: The Benefits of Music for You and Your Preterm Infant

 

BOND WITH YOUR BABY DURING PREGNANCY (click to read more)

"And music helps with bonding. Imagine the joy you'll share with your child when you sway to the beat of a lovely melody." - S. Jhoanna Robledo, Music and Your Baby

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"This should be a special time of enjoyment and bonding shared between you, your spouse/partner and Baby. Remember, it is not about the amount of time, but the quality of the wonderful experience you are sharing together." - Jennifer Lacey, Music in the Womb: Bonding with Baby Before Birth

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"Repeated exposure to the same song and to its mother’s voice has notable benefits to the child, and another beneficiary is the expectant mom. This time of relaxation and focus on the coming of the baby produces calming chemicals in the blood which are transferred to the baby through the placenta. These chemicals allow baby and mother to share the bonding experience, laying a foundation for later learning." - expectangmonthersguide.com, Prenatal Bonding Lays Foundation for Learning

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"Prenatal stimulation through music heard regularly while in the womb might provide some babies with a sense of confidence and relaxation after they’re born. You and your baby also will quickly discover an excellent way to bond and share in the emotional and potential intellectual development benefits this method may bring." - Jennifer Lacey, Music in the Womb: Bonding with Baby Before Birth

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"The reaction of the unborn child to music depends on if it is an "awake or sleeping" state and of the affective relationship that exists between mother and child through the music itself. Maternal sentiments are somehow transferred to the unborn child. In other words, when the fetus hears music it is influenced by the mother’s emotional response." - Hans Zimmer, The Early Years

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"79% of the pregnant women could feel a reaction from the fetus, either often or occasionally or infrequently. Several could directly perceive that the fetus was calmed and that it was responsive to the music." - Independent 12 week study by musicians and composers, Claus D Jensen and Henrik Birk Aaboe

 

LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR LEARNING (click to read more)

"Studies have proven that music played to your unborn child helps to; Facilitate intellectual development, Engage the baby’s attention, Communicate a mother’s and father’s love, Develop learning, language and memory skills, and Stimulate latent musical abilities" - Thomas Verny, M.D., with John Kelly, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child

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"The children that have been "bathed" in music and motivated in this way usually perform better in mathematics and reading. Singing lullabies and telling stories to the baby, even before birth, stimulates the beginning of speech. It provides verbal preparation." - According to Janellen Huttenlocher, of the University of Chicago - Musica Prenatal, Scientific Discoveries

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"Recent studies and numerous experiments scientifically demonstrate that the unborn child, even before birth, is capable of SEEING, HEARING, FEELING and even LEARNING, even while it is in the uterus. During the third trimester, the fetus is capable of recording a sound, relating that sound with one that it has heard previously, and interpreting its significance." - Dr. Sheila Woodward, Chair of Music Education and assistant professor of music education, University of Southern California

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"Evidence also exists of memory and the capacity for learning. The unborn child not only hears, but is capable of discerning the major components of music and language, which are: range, length, intensity, and timbre." - Dr. Sheila Woodward, Chair of Music Education and assistant professor of music education, University of Southern California

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"Throughout history, parents have been soothing newborn babies with lullaby music and repetitive, calming tones. These days, it is possible to document the health benefits these practices have on newborn and, more specifically, premature babies. Music is a logical intervention, because it is structured and sequential. If a steady, calming rhythm and melody are introduced into an environment, it supports and encourages those in that environment to become steady and calm." - Jan Schreibman, Music therapist Methodist Children's Hospital, Indianapolis, IN

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"The fetus can see, hear, experience, taste and, on a primitive level, even learn in utero. Most importantly, he can feel, not with an adult’s sophistication, but feel nonetheless." - Thomas Verny, M.D., with John Kelly, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child

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"... the child from the sixth month in utero onward can already remember, hear, even learn. The unborn child is, in fact, a very quick study, as a group of investigators demonstrated in what has come to be regarded as a classic report." - Thomas Verny, M.D., with John Kelly, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child

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"Musical elements participate in the process of communicative development very early. In fact, recent research has suggested that they pave the way to linguistic capacities earlier than phonetic elements can do so." - Hanus Papousek, Musicality in infant research: biological and cultural origins of early musicality. In Musical Beginnings: Origins and Development of Musical Competence. ed. Irene Deliege and John Sloboda Oxford: Oxford University Press

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"One of the findings ---- is the early development of highly organized and remarkably articulate speech of the those children who have been exposed to prenatal music stimulation." - Donald J. Shetler, The Inquiry Into Prenatal Musical Experience, Music and Child Development

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Dr. Sheila Woodward discusses the long term effects of prenatal stimulation programs. She lists such programs as being influential in the development of height, fine and gross motor performance and speech and language acquisition. She concludes, "Using standard tests at appropriate ages, it was determined that...children in the experimental sample displayed significantly superior developmental and intellectual achievements than the control group." On the same subject, Donald Shetler, The Inquiry Into Prenatal Musical Experience, Music and Child Development, writes; "One of the findings...is the early development of highly organized and remarkably articulate speech of those children who have been exposed to prenatal music stimulation."

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"Prenatal sounds form an important developmental component in prenatal life because they provide a foundation for later learning and behavior. With fetal sound stimulation the brain functions at a higher level of organization." - Giselle E. Whitwell, R.M.T., Life Before Birth: The Importance of Prenatal Sound and Music

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"While in the womb, Baby learns to recognize and respond to different stimuli, which leads to encouragement of physical, mental and sensory development." - Jennifer Lacey, Music in the Womb: Bonding with Baby Before Birth

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"Most pediatric specialists agree that almost any type of music is suitable for you and Baby to enjoy. Diversity of different kinds of music are essential and can be useful for the baby’s future writing, reading and language skills." - Dr. Philip A. De Fina, associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and chief neuropsychologist and director of neurotherapies at the NYU Brain Research Laboratories.

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"Listening to music, such as classical or jazz, may make learning easier and more effective since music exercises some of the same brain circuits involved in learning math, language, and other skills." - Ronald Kotulak, Inside the Brain, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series

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"...Musically stimulated babies seem to develop more quickly, talking up to six months earlier, and have improved intellectual development." - Dr. Sarah Brewer of Super Baby

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"For the most part, however, the first few years have been left to 'child's play' because it was thought that 'real learning' begins when a child enters elementary school. Now we know that that’s too late to start. A growing number of children enter the school system with intellectual deficits that could have been prevented with early mental stimulation." - Ronald Kotulak, Inside the Brain, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series

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"The sooner children begin to enjoy a rich music environment, the sooner their music aptitude will begin to move upward toward its birth level, and the closer it will come to reaching and remaining at that level throughout life." - Edwin Gordon, A Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children

 

ENCOURAGES EARLY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT (click to read more)

"We also encourage you to listen to all kinds of music during and after pregnancy. This will help stimulate baby's senses and improve his brain development. Exposure to different sounds and scenes is essentially what helps establish connections from one set of neurons "the nerve cells of the brain" to another. This is how we all learn. These neural structures are shaped like a tree and root system. A baby's brain is extremely plastic, meaning that it can constantly adapt and make new connections between trees." - Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, 5 Pregnancy Questions Answered - Oprah.com, www.oprah.com

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"From a neurobiological point of view the early years of childhood are crucial for the development of synaptic connections in the brain." - Wilfried Gruhn, Emeritus Professor of Music Education, University of Music Freiburg, Children Need Music

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"Brain development is basically determined by its genetic disposition, but its individual structure depends on its use. The brain develops according to how we use it. All experiences are stored in the brain and influence its neural structure." - Wilfried Gruhn, Emeritus Professor of Music Education, University of Music Freiburg, Children Need Music

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"Music stimulates the growth of brain structures and connects many activated brain areas. Musical practice calls for fine motor coordination, and enhances the phonological loop." - Wilfried Gruhn, Emeritus Professor of Music Education, University of Music Freiburg, Children Need Music

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"What suggestions do experts have for building a baby’s brain? Babies’s brains need stimulation to develop their full potential." - Kathy K. Oliver, County Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Your Child's Brain: The Crucial Early Years

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"There are some 100 billion brain cells in a human, a number that is reached by just five months gestation in the womb. So there are literally some quadrillion synapses or connections in a child’s brain, each of which can be altered by a child’s experiences. Synapses can be gained or lost, strengthened or weakened, as a result of their own electrical activity. There are a couple of useful phrases to describe this process: "Cells that fire together, wire together," which means that synapses that are highly active will be preserved and strengthened. On the other hand, synapses that are underactive will be pruned away, according to a "use it or lose it" rule, forever threatening the child’s ability to do a task." - Kathy K. Oliver, County Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Your Child's Brain: The Crucial Early Years

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"The brain’s plasticity means that new learning and relearning can take place at any age. Still, the first three years are life are by far the most critical. There’s a growing recognition today that the kind of experiences that the brain is exposed to in the first three years dramatically influence how it operates for the rest of its life." - Ronald Kotulak, Inside the Brain: Revolutionary Discoveries of How the Mind Works

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"Learning begins when some physical, emotional or intellectual activity is distinguished, comprehended and understood. Every human being is born with a potential for learning. However, only those people who develop this potential can use their abilities to the fullest extent. It is possible to learn easier and faster during infancy, since the brain of a child is much more active than that of an adult. During the first stages of life, learning is translated into brain connections that transmit and store information. When a baby is born, it’s brain is a jungle of neurons, all waiting to be woven into the loom of the brain." - Musica Prenatal, Scientific Discoveries

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"If the neurons are utilized they are integrated into the circuits of the brain and are connected to other circuits. If they are not used, they are discarded, sometimes definitely, by the nervous system. These connections are created through repetition and experience. Dale Curves, of Duke University, says: "Connections aren't formed just because we want them to be: they are created through activities." In the case of children, not all knowledge is processed easily. For example, it isn't easy to teach a child of four years of age to play chess or do mathematical calculations. However, these children are capable of processing music and enjoying it. Through auditory, visual and sensory perceptions these little ones are capable of imprinting the emotional experiences that trigger the learning process in their memories. When these experiences are repeated a number of times they make an imprint on the memory." - Musica Prenatal, Scientific Discoveries

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"Even before birth babies can assimilate maternal emotions that, as in the case of music, are determining factors in their formation." - Musica Prenatal, Scientific Discoveries

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"Listening to music stimulates the nervous system, because learning through hearing rhythms and music helps development and intelligence and fosters the association of the sensations of pleasure and security. All of this, I repeat, has been proven scientifically." - Musica Prenatal, Scientific Discoveries

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"The task of parents is to establish their children’s neuronal circuits." I hope that PRENATAL MUSIC has been able to convince you of the importance of your role as parent, teacher and friend of your children." - Bruce Perry, of Baylor Medical School in Houston, TX

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"When it comes to building the human brain, nature supplies the construction materials and nurture serves as the architect that puts them together." - Ronald Kotulak, Inside the Brain, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series

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"55% of the respondents noticed the positive reaction from the children immediately, while 17% replied that the reaction came after the child had heard the music several times." - Independent 12 week study by musicians and composers, Claus D Jensen and Henrik Birk Aaboe

Click to view our complete references section

 
 

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