♥ The Mozart Effect. Is It the Real Deal?

Copyright Andy Dean Photography

Have you ever heard or read about the theory of The Mozart Effect? If not, you should totally look into it, it's pretty fascinating. 

I studied it quite a bit when I was a newborn Nanny and I personally am a proponent. I actually believe in the stuff! Call me crazy, cuckoo, Mary Friggn' Poppins... whatever. But having a strong musical background myself, I have a little bit more in-depth knowledge on the subject and having studied music theory, as well as baby brain development - I guess I just put two and two together and I really do think it's the real deal. Here's my take on it. 

They say when a baby is in utero (latin for in the uterus) before they're ever even born, they can hear sounds and songs and voices in their environment - outside of Mama's tummy. That's why many doctors and scientists say that it's good to talk to your baby in utero and to read to your baby and have Daddy or partner sing and talk to the baby. Have Daddy or partner put their mouth right up to the tummy and talk softly and read directly "into their ear" so to speak. Over time the baby becomes familiar with that person's voice and is drawn to that person once they come out to the world, because they've been listening to that voice for months now already. Nine months of books being read to them in the womb. Flash forward 9 months later - baby comes out baby is soothed and comforted by that familiar voice. Same thing goes for music they hear playing while in the womb. This develops their ear and helps them to listen, learn, maybe even mathematically for emotionally develop sooner/earlier & faster than if you hadn't done it at all. 

That's where The Baby Mozart music comes comes into play. They say playing music (classical music specifically, for whatever reason) but any music I think is good to play for your baby when they are very, very, young, teeny, tiny newborns - because they are learning and listening and it helps develop their ear to har and listen for certain things like patterns, rhythms, pitch, octaves, harmonies, instruments - all those musical qualities that musicians, like myself, aspire to be really good at and try to hone in on and tap into and study and learn. So if you can expose a baby as early as possible, why not? What have you got to lose? Even if you don't expect them to become the next amazing composer or famous singer songwriter, performer, vocalist mega star or whatever. It's still beneficial to your baby in so many other ways where their development is concerned. I've seen newborns get a grin or a smile or a look of fascination and wonder in their eyes when a certain song starts to play. I can even tell when a baby notices when a song changes from one song to another new, completely different song - they turn their head, they notice the difference in the sound quality or the tempo or tone or instrumentation. It's incredible to me.

I mean... c'mon. There's a reason why preschools and kindergarten classes have music classes. It's fun, it's social, it's mathematical and magical, it's freeing and expressive and just plain beautiful. Whether your kid can sing well or not ... whether they can carry a tune in a bag or not (or even if they can't carry a tune in a paper sack or a cute polka-dot backpack... or a beach bucket... ha ha! Any hoo...) It's just fun and wonderful and precious. 

I can remember singing with my family in church at a very young age. I learned to harmonize at the age of 3 or 4 sitting next to my Grandpa singing his loud low bass part and my Dad singing tenor or bass as my Mom would sing the highest soprano part. I learned very young how to find the part that nobody in my pew row was singing and I would sing the missing parts! (usually alto) As I got a little older I would sit with my friends and we would take turns swapping who would get to sing the soprano part and who would get to sing the alto part. It was fun and challenging and I truly believe to this day, that is where I got my gift for music and harmony. That's where it all started for me - where I got my love of music and performance and why I eventually became a well traveled singer, entertainer, stage performer, studio musician and singer/songwriter.

Music is not necessarily only for musicians tho. It's so applicable and so relevant to so many different facets and aspects of a little one's life and childhood and part of growing up, so that a child can appreciate and learn grow and enjoy listening to music in general. Whether it's The Psychedelic Furs or good old fashioned 1930s scratchy record phonograph music or old slavery hymns or an Italian concerto in G minor, opera, jazz, country music, rock & roll. It just helps a child to learn who they are, what they like, what their personal tastes are and favorite genres are. Maybe if we start them listening to music young enough, they'll be diverse and well-rounded and they'll like all kinds of music and be able to fit in at any social gathering or party screen or barbecue that they ever go to for the rest of the lives! 

I've played music and CDs and my ukulele songs for babies since very young ages and it's really fun to watch their bewilderment and their eyes light up and widen when they hear a certain melody or notice a cymbal crash or hear a flute start to play a beautiful sad solo. It's just amazing to me that they hear that and notice that and are attentive to it and interested. It affects them. Sometimes it's visceral. And that's just so magical to me. I like to work on harmonies and play around with different pitches and tones with babies. Working on vowels, consonants all the while learning about ABCs and 1,2,3s and nursery rhymes and lullabies. There's just so much about music that brings joy to a baby's life. That's why they have musical classes for toddlers and mommy & me groups and music lessons & classes. I have helped raise little babies who eventually grow up to be world traveling musicians in bands and drummers, pianists, even a cute little sweet violin player. I loved taking them to their little music classes after school as well as attending their recitals. I was just beaming with pride every time I saw a little kiddo taking up a musical instrument even if it's just for band class at school. Whether they pursue it as a career or not it's just amazing to me. 

Even kids in grade school are encouraged to listen to classical music while doing homework. It heightens their acuity and clears their mind of cluttered thoughts and distractions. It makes homework a calming event, it relaxes them, soothes them, opens up their mind and help them think with both the left brain and right brain and supposedly makes them "feel" smarter and thus their performance is higher, their self confidence is improved, they study better and absorb more information and even do better on tests.

So hey...play music in the house when you're doing dishes or just sitting around. Play it whenever you're in the baby's nursery getting things ready, organizing baby booties, painting the walls pink or blue. Your baby will hear it if you have music on in the background, it doesn't have to be loud. Hey, you might even enjoy it too! Anything that feels good to a pregnant Mama can be felt (chemically) by your unborn baby!!

So sing to those babies Mama's! 

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