Music in Development for Digestion and Growth
Brain development is very important for your baby, especially in their earliest stages of life. We want them to experience a high degree of mental stimulation whenever possible as well as having every opportunity to become the best they can be!
Adding a music therapy program to every feeding can give your child that advantage. It can affect both their brain and body in various ways. Certain types of music can enhance intelligence and stimulate cognitive development. Music can aid in digestion, calming and soothing the body and mind for better absorption of nutrients; it can also aid in helping the GI tract to function at an optimum level in the process.
The right kind of music (and/or audio stimulus) can even strengthen the immune system and can be easily be partnered throughout your day in altering or improving just about anything throughout a daily schedule. A good example, try exercising with and then without music and see if you can tell the difference. It’s the same for a child of any age and it can affect their daily brain development.
Our voice and sound has always been an elementary means of communication and stimulus for the mind and body. Even the fetus (from about week 20) can perceive sound. As an embryo, our sense of sound is one of the first out of the 5 major senses to develop -- audio, visual, taste, touch, and smell. The hearing organs start to form at about week 3 and then are functional about week 20 (gestational age). As the brain and nerves of the spine are technically the first things we develop as an embryo, we are primarily wired to be sensitive to stimulus first, before anything else. Even after birth, until about week 6, your baby’s sense of sound is still developing, so it’s important to be careful as what sound is happening around them. During this time the frequencies they can hear are expanding as well.
You may have heard it said, “when words fail, music prevails.” Sometimes a song or a sound will say it best. Has there ever been a time when a certain song just said it all for you? Perhaps a time when you weren’t able to explain how you felt to someone but a certain song (or sound) was able to get the point across instead? Words by themselves can be limited, but combined with music, our messages can be enhanced greatly. You can test this by watching a movie without sound or without a soundtrack; it can be a very different experience.
As music and sound can be perceived and interpreted differently, choosing the right sound atthe right time for your baby can be important, especially as our minds are absorbing a higher rate of information when we’re young.
There was a study performed once of young, developing rats placed in 3 types of mazes to find cheese. In each scenario, the results were consistent. When one of these young rats was placed in a maze with no sound, they found the cheese in adequate time. When they were placed in the maze with classical music playing, they were able to find the cheese quicker than in the maze with silence. And in the third scenario, heavy metal music was played. In this maze, the majority of the rats found the cheese much slower than in the previous two tests; some of the rats didn’t even find the cheese at all! Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for every kind of music and sound. It just goes to show that we are sensitive at these early developing stages to sounds and rhythms can either aid or slow down the learning progress. Some music is good when we don’t need to think and find the cheese. On other occasions, genres like baroque or classical music can help our minds function clearer so we can think better. Stay tuned to how certain sounds (as opposed to music) can also aid or slow our mental functioning!
- In conclusion, when it comes to what stimuli we choose to enhance our life with, sound can be either a viable asset or a hindrance in growth. We want to be very careful not to yell or scream in the presence of our children as those are audio frequencies that can be felt and perhaps even misunderstood on levels a child can’t fully relate to yet. Moreover, helpful sounds and lighthearted music such as lullabies for a child can provide a comfortable environment that not only provides peace and rest, but stimulus for their brains to give them a little more advantage in life.