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Music and Your Baby

By Eliane Leao, PhD

To have the most rewards from playing with Music and the baby, follow these simple ideas: music-and-your-baby.jpg

  • Young children tune in to the sounds of music;
  • Their body movements also manifest happiness through music spontaneity;
  • The baby may acquire musical concepts by playing with sounds, singing, moving, and listening; 
  • Experiencing music is a chance a baby has at pre-verbal learning;
  • The baby should be encouraged to use his body as a musical instrument for physical experience;
  • The child learns music by personal experience and discovery. It’s necessary to promote positive effective growth, using success as a motivating factor;
  • Knowing by perception of oral images and movement is the basis of music expression;
  • The baby is only able to find the meaning of music when he acts on a piece of music;
  • The discovery of her own movements and environment enables the baby to form concepts and function to order his inner musical world;
  • The baby shows s/he has musical concept without verbalizing it when s/he displays consistent response to a certain class of stimuli;

When choosing locomotion, you can experiment with walking, running, jumping, hopping, lunging, galloping, and skipping. The movements to the music can reflect energy, speed, and dimension, level in space, flow, and direction.

When choosing to use the voice, you can play low, high, somewhere in between. The voice can be loud, soft, somewhere in between. Playing with the sounds, one can stop immediately, last a long time, keep sounding, and get louder or softer. In order to make melodies, your voice can go up or down with different shapes, in steps with wider spaces, by sliding. It can be jerky, you can sing words, hum, whistle, go tra-la-la, go oo-oo-oo, or sound sad and lonely. You can do what you want with your voice, and the baby will profit from your actions.

You can use the drum, the rhythm sticks, the tambourine, the triangle, the melody bells, the piano, and the guitar to stimulate your baby in order to have precocious experience with music.

Improvise, choose a song and sing it with the baby, and play music games with the baby (examples: Statues, marching, ‘Contrary Mary’, ‘Follow the Leader’, ‘either-or’, play what I play, etc.).

No matter how simple or complex the activity, play with music with your baby. S/he will love it and you will both have fun and benefit from it!

About the Author:
Dr. Eliane Leao is a native of Brazil, South America. She has a background in Education from Purdue University (Masters) and a PhD in the Department of Educational Psychology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP)/Purdue University (Ph.D.). Dr. Leao has also three Bachelor’s degrees, one in Piano, another in Musical Education, and a third in Voice. Dr. Leao is currently a professor of Music Education and Music Therapy conducting research on the influence of Music in Early Childhood Learning. Visit her website for more information on Babies and Reading, Music, and Learning and for a Free Ebook on these subjects at

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