What better way to begin the new year than by talking about new lives and musical beginnings! Babies and music are a source of endless fascination – and the subject of a lot of research. We know that babies like to be sung to (think lullabies), they like bouncing or waving their arms when they hear music, they like toys that make musical sounds, and if musical toys aren’t available, they find their own musical instruments.
Newborns have a wide range of musical abilities, some of which I’ve written about in Are we hardwired for music? Now a recent study by Laurel Trainor and colleagues at McMaster University in Canada shows that babies benefit from musical training even before they can walk or talk. One-year old babies who had participated with their parents in interactive music classes communicated better, showed more sophisticated brain responses to music, and even smiled more. Continue reading