Rock the Cradle

Baby Band Practice

While simply listening to melodies won't turn your baby into the next Alicia Keys, actively making music together might give your little one a head start. In other research by Dr. Trainor, moms joined one of two different music programs with their 6-month-old baby. One group banged drums, played xylophones, and moved to music (with Mom's encouragement), but the other only heard music in the background while they played with blocks and puzzles. "The babies in the active music lessons showed earlier and larger brain responses to sound and greater knowledge of musical scale structure," says Dr. Trainor, who measured the babies' reactions via electrodes that detect brain activity. When given a head-turn preference test, the babies responded to music that sounded similar to what they'd played along to in class, while babies in the passive music class showed no such preference.

Help your baby benefit

Playing some tracks in the background is great, but getting your baby involved in producing sounds is even better. Shaking a rattle to the beat, playing pat-a-cake, or letting her bang on a pot with a wooden spoon are all good ways to merge listening and making music.

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