There’s an old pregnancy myth that playing classical music for your baby in utero will have a beneficial effect on your baby’s mental development. This is also referred to as the Mozart effect. While the jury is still out on the long-term effects, what I find even more interesting is that the type of music you play could influence your baby’s taste once he or she is born.
I recently read a 2013 PubMed study focusing on linking prenatal experience to the emerging musical mind, which explains that external sounds do influence your unborn baby, and that these sounds could set the trajectory for the development of the musical mind.
The research says that soon after birth, infants show a strong preference for their mother’s voice over the voice of another female, because they have become accustomed to their Mom’s voice over time. This goes for the type of music they are exposed to in utero as well.
Interestingly, this research shows that “the newborn’s musical preference diminishes by 21 days after birth, suggesting that prenatal memory for specific sounds may be short-lived. However, other evidence suggests that newborn preferences can generalize to novel sounds that share structural features with sounds heard in utero, such as novel speakers uttering familiar passages.”
While I was pregnant with Layla, my husband and I figured that we’d skip the classical music and hit play on some classic rock instead. After all, we already have two geniuses in the family ;). We also wanted to pass down our family’s great taste in music.
Layla still rocks out to our favourite classic rock songs, but she also thinks Elmo’s songs are the bee’s knees too. I guess we can definitively say that it’s too early to tell what kind of taste in music she will have, and for now, we continue to play our favourites for our next little rock star.