Music Therapy for Royal Babies

Ah, baby fever has gripped the world with the arrival of the Royal Baby.

Everyone loves a baby, especially music therapists. That might be because of all the fascinating research out there on music therapy and infants. We've discussed the amazing outcomes music therapy in the NICU can produce here before, but it's not just premature infants who benefit from music! Music is a fantastic developmental tool, and classes like our Kindermusik groups really take advantage of those powerful effects.

But what you may not realize is just how tuned to music and sound a baby's ears are from birth! In honor of the Royal Baby, I thought I'd share one of my very favorite studies from the Journal of Music Therapy on aural stimuli presented to infants and what their preferences are. The results really are quite amazing.

Comparison of Infant Preferences and Responses to Auditory Stimuli: Music, Mother, and Other Female Voice (Journal of Music Therapy, 1990)

Alright, prepare yourself for possibly the most adorable study in the history of science. In order to study the preference of each infant (aged 2-8 months), the researchers attached a switch to the baby's ankle. By moving her leg, the infant could control 2 tape recorders and choose to either listen to her mother's voice reading a book or a random female voice. Other measures were used to gauge interest, such as eye focus.

The results indicated that the mother's voice was preferred over all other stimuli, though these results were not significant. Interestingly, there WAS a significant difference between the age of the infants, with younger infants preferring their mother's voice. Another interesting result was that the babies listened more intently to the music stimuli, as measured by their gaze towards the sound source.

Pretty fascinating to think that even at that young age, these babies can A) use a switch to make choices and B) recognize the difference between their mother's voice and another woman's voice!

If I had to guess, I'd say the newborn Royal Baby probably prefers the voice of the Duchess of Cambridge over all the other voices going on all around him right about now (certainly more than all the media squawking, right?)

Interested in learning more about what music therapy can offer your own little Royal Baby? Sign up for a free consultation!



Image Credit: Flickr user David Holt London