Early Musical Training Enhances Infants Language Learning
New research by scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (T. Christina Zhao and Patricia K. Kuhl) show that early music training helps your baby better process musical sounds, and enhances their speech processing and language learning.
The research involved 47 9-month old infants who did not come from a musical background.
Nineteen of the babies were exposed to music in triple meter during twelve 15 minute sessions over a 4-week period, while the remainder of the group did not listen to music. Instead, they played with toy cars, blocks and other objects.
The responses were measured a week after the sessions ended by a specialised form of encephalography that identified the precise location and timing of brain activity. The results suggest that the play sessions featuring music improved the babies' brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.
One of the researchers, Christina Zhao, says in a statement: "Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech.
"This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills."
The full research paper can be found here.
Examples of music in triple meter: