Some of my earliest memories revolve around music.
I remember sitting on my living room floor, surrounded by records (yes, I’m that old!) and asking my dad to please put on The Go-Go’s album. Again.
I remember sitting in a stadium, far away from the stage, with my mom and feeling the vibrations of the beginning of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. I was 4, and I STILL am a huge MJ fan.
I remember singing at nursing homes all though elementary school (and beyond). I remember playing the recorder on stage in Kindergarten, singing my first solo in church in 3rd grade, taking piano lessons after school in 6th grade, my first band class, and auditioning for a Broadway musical in 8th grade.
I remember being transported back to my childhood garage, with my dad listening to records, when my (now husband) boyfriend took me to see Willie Nelson for the first time.
I remember pacing my hallways with my Moby Wrap, singing show tunes, when Finn couldn’t fall asleep on his own.
The timeline of my life is written through my musical memories. And that timeline continues to be written.
When I was pregnant with both of my children, I listened to music, put headphones to my belly, and sang as much as I could! In fact, I was playing ‘Audrey’ in “Little Shop of Horrors” while newly pregnant with Finn! (Picture below!) In addition, when Finn was an infant, songs from “Little Shop of Horrors” always soothed him to sleep…they were familiar to him! Random, but true!
As an educator in the arts, I am a firm believer in music exposure and education from an early age. And it is not just a personal belief – a quick google search shows pages and pages of blogs, articles and research that prove how beneficial music exposure is to children.
This blog is the first of a series discussing the benefits of music exposure to children. Today I want to share a few of the benefits of music exposure during pregnancy and encourage you to give your kids the gift of music….every single day….even before they are born!
Benefits of Music – Prenatal
- Reduce Stress Levels
“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
- Improves Sleeping Habits After Birth
“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.
- Lays the Foundation for Learning
“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
- Encourages Early Brain Development
“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
And, of course, my favorite (not-so-scientific) benefit: Feeling baby dance in your belly to his favorite songs! Anytime “We Are Young” by fun. would come on the radio, Finn would start moving and grooving. One time I was walking around Academy and it came on, and, I kid you not, my belly started dancing! To this day, he loves that song and it’s a regular part of our life – in fact, last year fun was Finn’s first concert!
Stay tuned for parts two and three of this series and learn more about the benefits music exposure and education can have your children – I am so thankful that we are in Austin and have such an amazing music culture at our finger tips!