Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baby Music

I read an article at work last night on my break that was very interesting. Now, it was in some magazine that I don't remember the name of... Paste maybe? No, that wasn't it... Anyway, it started with an interview with this guy named Doug Schulkind. He's a "self described music obsessive DJ" and when his wife went into labor with their child, he brought his boom box and a stack of CDs with him to the hospital. After a long and stressful labor (and what labor isn't?) a baby girl was born, and the first music this little baby heard upon entering this world was John Coltrain's A Love Supreme. Doug says this was no accident. As one who is passionate about music, the first music his child heard was just as important as important as picking out a name or buying the right car seat.
The Boston Globe's classical music critic, Jeremy Eichler had a similar decision to make when he brought his newborn child home. "It did actually feel like there was a lot of pressure as I was standing in front of our CD library," he says. "It was fairly paralyzing to think what would be the appropriate music to play for someone's very first-ever taste of music. And I ended up choosing Bach's Art of Fugue, in an arrangement for string quartet. I thought, 'Why not begin at the summit?' Bach's Art of Fugue is one of the pinnacles of his art. He's taking a single subject and manipulating it in many different ways. I just thought it would be like honey for the infant mind."
(By the way, if you're wondering how I can quote it without even knowing the magazine it came from, I took notes. Yes, I'm a dork)
I've never really thought about what the first music I heard was. This article kind of got me wondering. It also got me thinking about all the claims out there that say that you can make your baby smarter by playing the right kind of music. I've no doubt there's something to this. Studies show that babies can recognize complex rhythms and are surprisingly sensitive to the differences between consonant and dissonant music. It stands to reason, if you play the right kind of complex music, you can get your baby's mind working pretty early on. Kind of like jump starting the baby brain :)

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