Recently, we can often hear both from pediatricians and psychologists about benefits of listening to music for babies. Of course, it is not surprising at all, as already our grannies sang songs to babies, to calm them down. Are there any medical researches on this subject?
Excursus to history
THE ANCIENTS were the first who noticed a beneficial effect of music both on soul and body. They treated neural-mental illnesses with music, and tried to use it as anaesthetic in Middle Ages… But all these experiments were carried out with adults.
In the beginning of 20th century scientists already could see that it was curative for babies to listen to classical music and lullabies, that music not only develops children, but also makes them healthier.
Scientists decided to find scientific grounds of music therapy. And the first patients, who received treatment with music, were prematurely born babies.
What the researches showed
AS a rule, if a baby suffered from lack of oxygen during his prenatal development, no matter whether he is premature or not, his activity of cell ferments is lowered. After listening to classical music, activity of babies’ cell ferments rose. A cytochemical analysis showed this. They also took babies’ blood pressure, pulse, rhythm of breathing. And they always observed a classical reaction of adaptation: organism adjusted itself to environment and felt better.
Well, may be, children react this way to any sound irritant – alarm-clock ticking, conversation? May be, harmony and melody have nothing to do with it?
Researchers switched on a metronome for babies, which beat out a slow rhythm at a calm music pace. Babies behaved rather well: calmed down and fell asleep. But cytochemical analysis registered objectively: on the background of metronome working, an oppression of ferments took place in cells.
By the way, this is a proof of the fact that rock music with pronounced pulsatile rhythm is harmful for small babies.
When parents were going to take away their babies from hospital, doctors recommended them to continue carrying out music therapy procedures at home, along with massage, special gymnastics and exercises in water. Parents treated such advices in different ways, some of them switched on music for their babies, some of them did not.
But when a year later all these babies passed a checkup, interesting facts were discovered. Babies, who were constantly listening to classical music, coped better with neurologic defects, than the ones, whose parents did not believe in a healing power of music therapy. This way a reliable statistics appeared.
Which music should babies listen to?
EXCITABLE, fidget children should listen to melodies at a slow pace – “adagio”, “andante”. As a rule, second parts of classical sonatas and instrumental concerts have such pace. German scientists worked out main scientific literature on this subject, and German and Viennese classical music prevailed in their programs: Mozart, Schubert, Haydn… Later they added Vivaldi and Tchaikovski…
For example, this can be a second part of a “Short nocturnal serenade” by Mozart, “Winter” from “Seasons” by Vivaldi, a duet of Lisa and Polina from Tchaikovski’s opera “Queen of spades”, lullabies.
A melody with words influences babies stronger, than a melody without words. And live singing is stronger, than instrumental performance recorded on CD. A language of singing does not matter, new-born babies can gladly listen to, for example, a lullaby by Brahms or Christmas motets in German language.
And babies, suffering from syndrome of distress, who nurse badly and sometimes even breathe spasmodically, should listen to musical compositions at “allegro” and “allegro moderato” pace by Mozart, Schubert, Haydn… For example: waltzes from Tchaikovski’s ballets “On troika” from his “Seasons”, “Spring” from Vivaldi’s “Seasons”, and also martial music.
Music therapy procedures are also of benefit for healthy, normally developing children. They also should be calmed down or, on the contrary, emboldened sometimes. This can be done with the help of relaxing or energetic music.
On no account, put on ear-phones on your baby. Our ears are adjusted to diffused sound by nature. Immature brain can receive an acoustic trauma because of directed sound.
Music therapy is contra-indicated to:
Babies with predisposition to fits.
Babies in a serious condition, which is accompanied by organism intoxication.
Babies suffering from otitis.
Babies, whose intracranial pressure increases sharply.
Rest on a cellular level
NOW parents have large selection of remedies – they can buy CD-discs with classical music in traditional performance. Or discs with classical music, arranged especially for babies. This music is accompanied by hand bells. Some may like such arrangement, other may not. You should see yourself your baby’s reaction.
You can also buy CD-records of classical music on the background of sounds of nature – rote, sound of rain, murmur of the forest…
Listen to music together with your baby and relax, as restless babies’ mothers just need a good rest, on a cellular level.