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Music is a part of all our lives; it shapes us as individuals, affects our moods and promotes health in several ways. But did you know babies can also benefit from music in their developmental process? To learn more about how music can be used to help your baby reach these early developmental milestones, we spoke with board-certified music therapist, Kelly Holden.
Benefits of Music Therapy
“As a music therapist, I use music to reach non-musical goals,” says Kelly. “Music is a great way to help develop everything from language skills, social skills, emotional awareness and cognitive skills to physical coordination.”
Music alone has been shown to have several health benefits including reducing stress, improving mood, lowering anxiety, improving memory, soothing premature babies and providing comfort.
“Music therapy builds on the already known benefits of listening to music and allows us to use it to ensure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones on time, or possibly even earlier.”
Little Music Makers: Sing, Play, Grow
“In our Little Music Makers classes, we have three separate age groups — newborn to 6 months, 6 to 12 months and 12 to 18 months,” explains Kelly. “It’s so great to watch these babies develop their skills before my eyes and their mom’s. We’ve had so many moms tell us their baby’s first step or when they crawled for the first time was during our class.”
“In our class for newborn to 6-month-olds, we mainly focus on developing language skills like cooing and babbling, social skills, like smiling and eye contact, and motor skills like reaching and grasping as well as tummy time.”
You may be thinking this is too early to be developing language skills, but these earliest months can be crucial in the long-term development of language processing, comprehension and vocalization skills.
“In the 6 to 12-month-old class, we also focus on these same language skills by continuing the babbling and cooing exercises but now we’re also working on giving baby a sense of independence and freedom. We encourage them to work and play separately from their parents and to start socializing with the other children.”
Additionally, in the 6 to 12-month-old class, the focus is on developing more advanced motor skills like sitting, standing and walking, as well as dancing. Reaching and grasping are still worked on but now with a focus on the musical instruments.
“The 12 to 18-month-olds are where you really start to see socialization come to the forefront. It’s really cool to see the interaction between the kids and watching them play together, trade instruments and taking turns. During this period, we work a lot on independence and getting and giving back instruments. We work on taking turns and having flexibility in their social interactions.”
In the 12 to 18-month-old class, your child will also continue to work on physical coordination like standing, walking and dancing as well as singing, talking and social interaction.
Attend a Class
“Music is a great motivator,” says Kelly. “People will work for music, even babies. Music makes what could be considered work, fun and playtime instead.”
Classes are available to all children (newborn to 18 months old) and are held every Friday and the fourth Saturday of every month. Tickets are $12 for one class or $40 for a pack of four tickets, which can be used at any time with no RSVP required. To purchase your tickets, please visit our Baby Place Academy