Monday, January 31, 2011

This is your brain on music!

We've talked many times before about babies and language development. In utero your baby is already listening and internalizing the sounds of their native language. However, I recently read a report that shed more insight into the amazing power of a newborn's mind. After exposing 22 newborns to recordings of made up words, the researchers concluded that the human brain may be hard-wired to recognize certain repetition patterns. "It's probably no coincidence that many languages around the world have repetitious syllables in their 'child words' – baby and daddy in English, papa in Italian and tata (grandpa) in Hungarian, for example," says Gervain from UBC Dept. of Psychology's Infant Studies Centre.
Move ahead several years with this same thought, and you begin to realize how important repetition will be in all areas of learning. Take for example, your child's ability to learn math facts. What about phonics and reading?  All of these skills require repeated exposure or practice. My tool of choice when trying to engage children through repetition- music. In fact, studies show that young children who take music classes show different brain development and improved memory compared to children who do not receive musical training. With the repetitive beats, melodic patterns, and rhyming words, music is perfectly suited for stimulating the mind and learning new skills. It's why most little one's can sing their ABC's long before they can "chant" them. Do you have a great idea for using music to learn something new? I hope you'll share it in a comment.

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