Is classical music for babies a surefire way to a Mensa membership—or simply another fad soaked in pseudo-science?
We live in a world where you have to sign your child up for pre-school when they’re but the first drink on date night.
Where six-year-olds learn computer programming, and mamas feel like they’re falling short if their kid hasn’t mastered the sonnet form before they’re tall enough to go on a rollercoaster.
There’s so much pressure out there to turn your child into some kind of Super Being, so it’s no wonder that the idea of playing classical music for babies to boost their brainpower is a popular choice.
So now for the big question:
Does classical music make babies smarter? Or is this simply another one of those ridiculous pregnancy fads, like not cutting your hair while pregnant?
Let’s find out.
In this article: 📝
- How does classical music affect a baby’s brain?
- Is classical music good for babies?
- What is the best classical music for babies?
- How can I stimulate my baby’s brain development?
- What is Baby Mozart?
- Are Baby Einstein videos good for babies?
- Should you play classical music for your baby?
How does classical music affect a baby’s brain?
Does classical music really make babies smarter?
And does classical music help baby brain development?
Well, as it turns out, that’s a big question that has a complex answer.
For starters, let’s talk about a term that has somewhat confused the issue: the Mozart effect.
What is the Mozart effect?
In 1993, a psychologist by the name of Frances Rauscher conducted an experiment to see if playing a Mozart sonata would have an impact on intelligence.
Turned out, it did! The participants who listened to Mozart performed far better.
So, does that give the Mozart effect for babies a thumbs up? Well, not exactly.
Is the Mozart effect proven?
You see, the participants in the study were college students—and while the music may have given them a boost for a rather specific kind of task, these results are not exactly a copy-paste when it comes to babies.
But, while scientists are not convinced when it comes to using Bach for babies to create mini-masterminds, we shouldn’t throw classical music for babies out with the bathwater.
Does classical music make you smarter?
Not strictly speaking, no.
While different types of music can engage different parts of your brain, there isn’t one specific genre of music that increases your IQ.
Is classical music good for babies?
While playing classical music for babies may not guarantee them entry into the Particle Physics department at Oxford, it’s not without its massive merits.
Both during their time in the uterus and once they’ve sought other accommodation, your little peanut can reap great benefits from all the wonders classical music for babies has to offer.
Does music help baby brain development?
Well, it might surprise you to learn that it’s not actually classical music for babies that helps their brain development, but music (or even spoken word) in general.
So your favorite jams might just be helping baby develop their brain and get ready to start talking!
When should babies start listening to classical music?
Whenever you want! And it doesn’t even have to be classical music for babies, either.
Putting on a podcast, audiobook, or your favorite Britney tune can all do wonders for baby’s brain development.
How can I increase my baby’s IQ in the womb?
So this is pretty astounding when we’re looking at music for baby brain development.
A 2018 study found that fetuses love classical music.
More than, say, pop and rock.
The study found that 84% of them responded by moving their mouths to classical music played for them.
Yup, those little beans have some fabulous taste.
Why does your baby respond in this way?
Perhaps it has something to do with an ancestral memory that harks back to a time before language, when tones and rhythm provided the framework for all communication.
Or maybe they just really like it. Like we do.
Either way, this method of fetal home entertainment seems to work pretty well.
So playing classical music for baby brain development while pregnant can be a great way of helping baby work their minds before they’re even born!
Do newborns like classical music?
And then they arrive in the outside world and, guess what?
Their love of the genre appears to continue.
And not only is this wonderful for them, but it’s also pretty great for you too.
One fascinating element of classical music for babies is that it helps them forge a bond with you.
You may know this from personal experience if your own mama played or sang a specific piece to you that still makes you think of her when you hear it.
But wait. There’s more—and you’ll want to stick around for this one if you can count the hours of zzzzz’s you’re getting a night on one of your baby’s tiny little hands.
Classical music for babies’ sleep?
Yes, it works—either because it’s an innately calming piece or because it’s become “your song” with your baby.
So that’s pretty special.
Every time your baby hears a specific piece of music, they feel reassured and safe.
(And it’s also pretty special that it might send them drifting off to sleep)
What is the best classical music for babies?
Well, to be honest, what classical music for babies you play depends on your own personal preference—and on what you’re trying to achieve.
As in, you may not want to be playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture if the goal is to get your little one to sleep.
Added to this, what speaks to one mama may not speak to all.
Having said that, we have some faves when it comes to lullabies classical music for babies (and the mamas who dote on them).
Piano Concerto no. 21 in C major, K. 467 — Mozart
Jimbo’s Lullaby — Debussy
Für Elise — Beethoven
Nocturne, in E-Flat Major — Chopin
Soldatenmarsch — Tchaikovsky
What songs do babies like most?
That really depends on your baby ‒ while, in general, babies prefer classical music to, say, rock or pop, every baby is different.
Some of our mamas on Peanut have said playing metal music works as a lullaby for their little one (at a lower volume, of course), because they played it while they were pregnant.
So familiarity counts when it comes to what music to play for baby.
But another study suggests that babies prefer female voices in music, along with slower beats ‒ in fact, Imogen Heap created this song, which might just be the best music for babies:
Does Mozart help babies sleep?
Yes, Mozart may help your baby to sleep, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to getting your baby to sleep.
If your little one loves classical music for babies, they might respond well to a slow-tempo piece of Mozart while they drift off to sleep.
After some relaxing, calming, slow Mozart for babies? Try this playlist on Spotify.
Is it OK to leave music on all night for baby?
This is up for debate.
In her book, The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby ‒ and You, Janet K. Kennedy suggests that playing classical music for babies while they sleep should be limited to 30 minutes.
This is because playing classical music for babies to stimulate the brain may mean that they aren’t able to get into a deep sleep, which can impact their development and make them grouchy when they wake up.
However, some of our mamas on Peanut say that their baby won’t stay asleep during the night unless they’re playing some baby classical music, so you find what works for you, mama.
How can I stimulate my baby’s brain development?
Keen to get baby’s brain whirring?
There are some other things you can do to help baby’s brain development, other than playing classical music for babies at every waking hour.
What music is good for baby brain development?
The reason why classical music for babies is popular for brain development studies is because of the slow tempo.
But other types of music can help with baby’s brain development ‒ if you’re not a fan of Mozart and Bach:
- Easy listening
- New age
What is Baby Mozart?
Baby Mozart is a free website with lots of musical collections designed to help aid baby’s brain development.
Baby Mozart is based on the Mozart effect, and uses not only classical music for babies, but also white noise, relaxation music, and ‘funny sounds’.
What age is Baby Mozart for?
Are Baby Einstein videos good for babies?
The Baby Einstein Mozart videos have been doing the rounds on the internet for a while.
With over 770 thousand subscribers (at the time of writing), it’s easy to see that Baby Einstein Mozart videos are popular.
The thing is, Baby Einstein Mozart videos don’t actually claim that classical music for babies makes them smarter ‒ instead, their videos are designed to “cultivate curiosity… through experiences of shared discovery and creativity”.
Keeping your baby curious and always keen to learn is fantastic for their brain development, setting them up for success throughout their life.
Keep the curiosity alive!
Should you play classical music for your baby?
While the Mozart effect for babies may lack some scientific backing, that should be no reason to throw shade on Mozart and his sonata-sounding squad.
Classical music for babies, for teens, for adults, for seniors—it’s life-changing wherever you’re at.
In our humble opinion, a classical music baby is our kinda baby.
🎵 More from the 411:
10 Life-Changing Mom Hacks From Peanut Mamas
Probiotics for Babies: A Good Idea?
5 Things I Wish I Knew About Baby Sleep as a First-Time Mama
What Do Babies Dream About?
Newborn Sleep Schedule: Patterns and Timings
Mom Groups: What to Know
50 Parenting Quotes to Remember
What is Gentle Parenting?
13 Pieces of Advice That New Moms Need to Hear
What to Do When Your Baby Cries in Their Sleep
Your Labor and Delivery Playlist
8 Baby Movies to Watch Right Now
15 Best Baby’s Playpens & Playpens for Toddlers