Baby Music: Will Mozart Make Your Baby Smarter?

Filed under: Babies


Will playing Mozart for your newborn inspire your child? Credit: Getty


You've got the car seat installed, the diaper bag packed and the nursery is finally painted and decorated. But have you been busy introducing your baby to classical music?


Studies have found playing your baby music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may help elevate spatial reasoning during fetal development and in children up to 3 years old. But can showering the womb and your newborn with "Symphony No. 40 in G minor" and "The Magic Flute" really help start your child on a path to genius?

And what about The Beatles? Many consider the Fab Four to be musical geniuses in their own right. Could a serenade of "Blackbird," which incorporates elements of Bach's "Bourree in E minor," have a similar effect?

The so-called Mozart Effect was first conceived at the University of California, Irvine, in 1993 during research on Mozart's effect on college students taking the Stanford-Binet IQ test. Those results showed a temporary improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning by students who listened to Mozart compositions for 10 minutes prior to taking the test. The results sparked a phenomenon of Mozart baby music and government programs designed to expose newborns and infants to classical music.

However, other research, such as a recent University of Vienna study, has concluded that playing your baby music by Mozart, Bach or even Pearl Jam to increase intelligence simply may be a myth.

Yes, some studies have shown increased performance by rats in mazes after listening to a few Mozart sonatas, and plants have behaved differently when exposed to classical and rock music. But babies are neither rats, nor plants.

Parents should be cautious of over-stimulating fetuses and newborns when exposing them to music, some experts warn. Baby development studies have stated that over-stimulation can have a negative effect by interfering with sleep and causing an overabundance of stress hormones in the brain. And, as in most things in life, moderation is recommended.

And, if you like your Beatles and Bach and hope your baby will too, although there is no definitive agreement on the positive aspects of playing your baby music during fetal development, scientists have yet to prove that slipping some headphones on your tummy for some soft in-utero lullabies is damaging.

Experts suggest the best approach may be to just relax and enjoy music as you normally would and let your relaxed state carry over to the baby naturally. Avoiding loud volumes and long listening situations is advised, though.

What seems to be more definitive is an accepted agreement by researchers on the positive effects of music exposure, as it relates to overall brain development. Long-term studies have shown that music education and participation over time have resulted in higher verbal, math, reading and science scores on tests, better overall emotional development and an increased ability in dealing with anxiety issues. Music exposure may even help contribute to your child having a better chance at being accepted into medical school.

Cue "The Marriage of Fiagro." It couldn't hurt.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.