2018 with Majeta Kramar
What role does music play in a baby’s life? How can it affect a baby’s well-being and development?
We are not talking about all music or just any genre, but about music that has been specifically selected for babies. Scientific research has proved that classical music, specifically, has an incredibly positive effect on a baby’s development. So we must choose the right music, the best music for our babies.
Babies live in an inexhaustibly rich world of sounds. But within that world, music stands as a powerful force for good. It is not just for entertainment – not for babies. We must be very careful what kind of music we choose for them, not only for their benefit but also as a prevention of harm.
Why does music have such power?
Sound, in general, works not only through on our ears, but through our entire body. It is perceived as vibration. Unlike other sounds, music carries a whole world of sense and meaning with those vibrations, it has patterns and rhythms, beats and tunes. It has emotional content.
Why should we be selective in choosing the type of music they should listen to?
Before it is born, your baby already listens to and reacts and cares about what kind of music mummy listens to. Babies share the feelings and emotions of their mothers. If you enjoy it, they will enjoy it too. But babies have no way to understand to cope with the more intense or disturbing feelings some music can create for adults. They have no experience in that world. They need to be protected from loud and aggressive music.
The right selection of music is of huge importance for the baby’s development from the third month of pregnancy. Research has proved that the most babies prefer classical music, especially the wonderful classics of Bach and Mozart. This music has a similar rhythm and beat as mother’s heartbeat.
What is the therapeutic power of music?
There are multiple therapeutic benefits. Music calms, stimulates and gives encouragement, it opens up the hidden ‘drawers’ in our interior, it helps us and our babies heal both psychologically and physically. Since we can’t always know how our baby is feeling most of the time, music can work like a preventative shield or psychological support. It can provide feelings of safety and security and being loved – the most important feelings in these earliest stages of life.
Does music also help in other areas of baby development?
Sure! Music is a living background, it builds and supports and builds the baby’s foundation for life. Music is an acoustic shield that grows within and stays within the baby’s subconscious for life. It helps to prevent anxiety, it brightens baby’s mood, it improves learning abilities, it helps faster recoveries from health problems, it improves memory of retention. It even improves baby’s appetite.
What role can music play in building sleeping routines in babies?
If we repeat the right relaxing and soothing music at the same time each day, then a conditional reflex is established; the music not only allows baby to relax and become calm – it causes baby to relax and become calm. We have selected special music for ‘Sleepy’ time to help establish a sleeping routine.
How does your music selection contribute to better baby development in the earliest months?
The first organ that develops in a baby – as early as the 3rd month of pregnancy – is the ear. From this time on, the baby is exposed to sound, especially to the mother’s heartbeat and voice, as well as other voices and sounds around. This is why it is important what mummy is hearing and listening to during pregnancy, and her resulting emotional state. By making sure that baby receives positive sound stimuli from this very early stage, we give positive influences to the baby’s development.
How can parents best include music in the baby’s life?
First, try to prevent disturbances, like waking up to an alarm clock! If possible, help the baby to become awake by hearing the same music, as going to sleep. What a peaceful and relaxing start to the day! Start with lower volume and slowly increase it. The perfect volume level is what we know as ‘background’ level – it is audible but does not disturb or interrupt other sounds and activities. Once you and baby are awake, switch to more lively and interesting music, but keep the volume at background level. This is perfect for all normal activities.
For parents who do not usually devote such importance and focus to music, what would you advise them about how to include music in their baby’s life?
I try to educate parents and future parents to include music at the earliest stages of pregnancy. Start including music in baby’s life before going to sleep and during wake-up. Aim for a minimum of 5-10 minutes each time. After wake-up, let baby listen to the BMS ‘active’ selection for at least another 5-10 minutes. Parents will notice the difference because babies have an extraordinary interest in rhythms. It is even better if the mother joins in with the listening. Baby feels safe and loved. Over time, spend more time listening to music – in the background – as it becomes a normal part of baby’s life.
Can highly structured music, like your classical selection, really affect the development of the baby’s brain and intelligence?
Yes, this has been proven repeatedly and conclusively. Babies and children who listen to certain music and compositions, such as the classics of Mozart and Bach, from the earliest stage of life were faster to learn, developed greater emotional intelligence and were to more likely to become well-adjusted adults and happier human beings in general.
What is the difference between the music for children and adults?
Adults listen to a vast range of different music, mostly for entertainment purposes. And unfortunately, most babies are basically forced to listen to the same music as their parents. They usually have no choice. From multiple scientific studies we know that very young children and babies prefer and respond best to music with complex patterns of melody, rhythm and harmony. They appear to react to complex music as if it was language. They are driven to try and understand it. This drive, this fascination and interest, helps to create an understanding of patterns in general, which helps baby to make huge leaps in learning and understanding life’s basic skills and communications.
I recommend that all parents give their baby the chance to grow into a great child and a happy, emotionally intelligent adult. The BMS music selection is such a simple tool to enable this. It enables the baby and child to reach full potential. Babies can’t choose their music, so it is the parent’s responsibility to choose wisely what is best for their baby.
Are certain music styles more suitable for babies?
Yes, it’s true – it is important to choose the right kind of music for your baby to listen to. Choosing the wrong music can also have negative consequences. Most people believe that baby should hear only classic music, which is not entirely true. After all, this music was written for adults. Much of it is too fast or too emotionally intense for a baby or child to appreciate. By careful selection and by adapting different instruments to these selections, classical music can be far more pleasant to infants and have a positive effect on them. This was also one of the main reasons I started building the BMS audio library for babies available on Distrokid. In the flood of music available today, most mothers and fathers are lost and confused about what to choose, about what is the best for their babies. I am so grateful that today’s technology has now enabled us to bring my selection of music to every baby in the world.
What is the so-called ‘right’ music for babies?
There is much music out there that claims to be ‘Baby Music’. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Ideally the music should include these elements:
*the appropriate speed – not too fast, not too slow
-*soft sounds – no disturbing instruments or voices
* a pleasant and memorable melody – patterns
* the right rhythm – think heartbeat
Finding the right balance of these elements has been my life’s work. My intuition has been finely tuned by years of experience in the application of music for baby development. The result is the BMS music selection.
When should I start playing music for my baby?
An unborn child develops hearing about six months before birth. I recommend that you start playing music every day from the 3rd month, but initially at short intervals. And remember – music also affects the mother. For the mother-to-be, music can provide calm and help to relieve the stress caused by pregnancy. This in turn reduces the baby’s stress and contributes to a healthier birth cycle.
Its interesting to note that we play the same music for a newborn baby as during pregnancy – the newborn baby actually recognizes the music it has heard while in the womb. This gives the baby familiarity and a sense of security in the turmoil of its new life. And security is the base, the foundation, for every human to grow from.
Is there a correct or incorrect way to play music for baby?
Yes, there is:
THE PROPER WAY:
Play music at home, with volume at a background level, and if possible, without disturbing noises. At the beginning after birth, always have at least one parent present to monitor the baby’s responses and introduce play and familiarity while listening. Later, baby will feel safe even when parents are not in the same room because their sense of security has been established.
THE INCORRECT WAY:
Fast, loud and intense music should be avoided. Listening to such music can lead to stress and discomfort for the baby. Even if you are listening to your favourite classical music, don’t play it all day. This could lead to excessive exposure where the baby gets too much ‘information’ that they cannot yet process. This can lead to a situation where even good music can become an irrelevant noise and no longer have any beneficial effect on the baby. The BMS selection eliminates this risk by having a limited repertoire with which the baby becomes familiar.
How can we be sure the BMS music selection really helps?
After birth it’s easy – look into the baby’s eyes. You will see that the music has established a ‘connection’ between you and the baby with the music you are playing. You may also notice that baby moves or ‘wobbles’ with the music. These movements are also apparent for the unborn baby. Mothers-to-be can usually tell the difference between a wobble and a jump! Bear in mind that sometimes it can take some time for baby to get used to the music. Be patient – the BMS music selection is not primarily for entertainment, its main purpose is for baby’s brain and emotional development with a lifelong lasting effect.
Can your music help the baby in difficult periods, such as when baby cries uncontrollably or can’t go to sleep?
Yes. It can really help. But first, it is the task of the parents to find out the cause of the anxiety or pain which may be causing the problem and eliminate it. Our music can certainly help to calm down and relax the baby, making it easier to sleep. Never, however, should music be allowed to conceal a medical or physical problem.
Why so much emphasis on music? Why not television, a video or computer entertainment?
In addition to the advantages that music brings for the baby’s development itself, it also stimulates emotions and responses. Listening is the first sense we acquire in the womb and the last sense to leave us when we pass away. Music has power, it is not a myth, it is real and we should take every opportunity to use it as a simple and affordable tool every day. I am with the American Academy of Pediatrics, who believe that children should not be exposed to any screen until they reach the age of two. This is not a fight against new technologies – the stimulation of the baby while watching a screen is minimal. If you want your baby to see colors, animals and shapes, please take your child out into nature, and bring BMS’s music with you (smile).
Where is your music selection different from other baby music or even other classical music?
My selections are based on my experience, education and co-operation with different experts in both music and pediatrics. I have selected music which has a certain flow, a certain ‘language’ that has rhythm, and a beat that stimulates the baby’s brain. And in such a way that is best for baby’s daily growth and development.