Monday, May 20, 2013

Lullabies Are Great for Babies, But What About A Nice Peppy Polka?

If someone told you to pick a song as a lullaby for your baby, would you pick this?

Well, one of the parents in a Beth Israel Medical Center study on how music effects premature newborns did. And with was no doubt a great deal of imagination, the participating musicians converted it into a much softer, more palatable song lullaby.

The results of the study, which involved 272 children over two weeks, point to subtle but real developmental benefits for premature newborns.

But it's important to remember that this wasn't about how music benefited the babies, but how one form of music--the lullaby--helped. As pointed out by the Average White Band example, the researchers went to great pains to take suggested songs from parents and convert them into "lilting waltzes" accompanied by gato drum pulses and the whooshing sounds of an "ocean disc."

When it came to making musical choices, the researchers made a priori, culturally grounded assumptions about what would be beneficial. I wonder what effects some peppier tunes might have had?