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Music & Your Baby

Did you know that the first sense organs to develop are the ears? How important the ears and sound are to our development. A young fetus is affected by sound from inside the womb. The fetus lives in such an enchanting aquatic environment and since sound travels much more efficiently through water, it is amplified.


September 18, 2009
By Laura Nashman & Michael Moon

Did you know that the first sense organs to develop are the ears? How important the ears and sound are to our development. A young fetus is affected by sound from inside the womb. The fetus lives in such an enchanting aquatic environment and since sound travels much more efficiently through water, it is amplified.

The growing fetus is inundated with sound; the pounding bass drum-like sound of mother’s heartbeat, the rush of mother’s blood, external sounds like laughter and music. We all begin our lives exposed to nine richly sonic months!

music

As parents, you can be in control of the sounds that your fetus or baby hears. You have the power to increase positive effects and modify the negative effects of environmental sound.

1. We must become aware that we are responsible for the sounds we allow into our bodies, just as we are responsible for the food that we eat. Sound is a kind of vibrational nourishment that has a profound effect on our health. Just as certain foods can increase or decrease our vitality and general health, so can the “diet” of certain sounds and music. 

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It is clear that sound and music affect our lives in very real ways and that certain sounds contribute to stress, ill health and disease, whereas others will optimize our vitality and life. Long-range ingestion of noise creates damage to the ear, disrupts the central nervous system and creates perpetual distortions in
hearing and other senses

Dr. Hans Jenny studied extensively the relationship between waveforms and matter, and how sound vibrations affect and create physical form. He would send constant pitches into materials such as a droplet of water, and a thin surface covered with licopodium powder, as well as others. When the pitch sounded it would create incredible geometric patterns in the substances. 

A famous Japanese photographer/researcher, Masaru Emoto, has published a book in two volumes of photographs of crystallized water, forming pentagonal stars and hexagonal cells, spirals, leaves and complex mandalas, (a mandala is a circular, complex, usually mathematical collection of harmonious geometric patterns often used for meditation).

What is striking about his photographs is that ‘healthy vibrations’ be they thought forms or music radically affect the ways the water crystallizes. Humans, being composed of 70 per cent water, can therefore be sound compositions, based on what we choose to ingest vibrationally.

Sounds and music are direct vibrations and affect our bodies accordingly. The fetus hears sounds as early as five weeks and, when exposed daily to music, develops early and more advanced speech patterns.
 
Music’s greatest power is on our learning processes, brain development and organization, and the refinement of the entire neurological system. Neuromusicology, the study of how music affects the brain, is a growing field that has advanced significantly in the last 10 years. 

Scientists have found that music trains the brain for higher levels of thinking. Also, “Motherease,” or the rhythmic musical jargon between mother and baby, helps the child’s budding language development.

Music is truly such an experience and parents can increase their children’s brain functioning, enlarge their capacity for learning and also enrich their lives through classical music.

Some report that newborns can recognize music that their parents played for them when they were in the womb and even perk up or fall asleep when they hear a familiar song. Some also say that fetuses breathe in time to music they enjoy.

California obstetrician, Dr. Rene Van de Carr says he’s observed a 33-week-old fetus pattern his breathing to the beat of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Dr. Van de Carr, who wrote “While You’re Expecting” … Your Own Prenatal Classroom and teaches parents how to stimulate their unborn babies through music and other exercises at his Prenatal University in Hayward, California, says because the fetus followed the rhythm of the symphony, it’s obvious he learned something about the rhythm and enjoyed it. 

Dr. Van de Carr says if you decide to place a CD player or speaker near your abdomen, you should limit it to no more than an hour a day, since the music is up close and may over stimulate the baby. Amniotic fluid is actually a good conductor of sound, yet one should be careful not to turn it up too high, no higher than 70 decibels. That is about as loud as background music in a store.

Dr. Rosalie Pratt, a professor of music medicine at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah recommends classical music. Mozart’s symphonies are excellent, says Pratt, because they have the right mix of new sounds and repetition, which she believes babies may enjoy. 

It is also very important to use sound to mask disruptive sounds in the environment so that your baby gets ‘fed’ healthy sounds. Another very important thing a mother-to-be can do is to ‘sing’ or ‘hum’ to her baby, as it is a fetus in her womb.

With regard to choosing music that is appropriate and helpful, Mozart is very good. Don Campbell wrote a book, “The Mozart Effect” and has several CDs out that are useful.

Additional research proves that parents have been soothing newborns with lullaby music and repetitive, calming tones throughout history.

In Tamar Weiss’ essay, Magical Melodies, The Benefits of Music for You and Your Pre-term Infant, she says, “These days, it is possible to document the health benefits these practices have on newborn and, more specifically, premature babies.”

“Music is a logical intervention, because it is structured and sequential,” says Jan Schreibman, a music therapist at Methodist Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.

A steady, calming rhythm and melody introduced into an environment supports and encourages those in that environment to become steady and calm, says Schreibman, adding that such advantages have been shown to dramatically increase the health of premature babies.

Dr. Schwartz’s studies, as well as those of Dr. Jayne Standley, show that the use of specific music, (generally lullabies sung in a female voice and uterine sounds of a pregnant woman’s voice mixed with female singing) increased oxygen saturation levels, healthy sleep patterns and weight gain in newborns.

In addition, irritability (causing stress which forces the infant to expend much-needed calories) decreased, sucking ability improved, the length of the hospital stay was shortened, and head circumference, which indicates brain size, increased.

Clearly, choosing calming classical music and traditional lullabies is most helpful in the development of a newborn baby and keeping mother calm too. As a flutist, I have had the wonderful opportunity of both producing two lullababy CDs on flute and piano, plus performing live for newborns. It is quite an exceptional experience.

Implementing sound healing methodologies with co-writer/musician Michael Moon has helped make the “Above the Sound of Gravity” a perfect CD for baby massage as well as massage in general.

In the process of recording a new CD for babies, entitled, “Newborn Forever,” this flute sound-healing CD with Michael Moon, will transport the listener to new heights and depth of soothing and relaxation.


• Co-writers: Laura Nashman flutist/producer and Michael Moon sound healer/composer
• Recommended CDs: Mozart for Babies; Lullababy; Celtic Lullababy; Above the Sound of Gravity; Miracles by Debbie Danbrook; Enya (all of her CDs)
• Reference: 1. Michael Moon, sound healer, in his sound-healing article, www.thetempleofsound.com


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