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Music and Early Childhood Development

            As believed by many, "Early childhood is a period of critical intellectual growth and a critical time for perceiving and formulating ideas about the world" (Kalmar 1). The developing brain absorbs information like a sponge. Therefore, exposure to certain things at a young age or even before birth could affect a child in their teens or even into adulthood depending on the circumstances. This is especially apparent with music. Music can have amazingly beneficial effects on the brain. In children it can improve memory, reasoning skills, and be used as a tool to help with learning in a classroom setting. In addition to this, based on genre and lyrics, music can affect mood and behavior. Based on many studies and extensive scientific research the importance of the introduction of music to the developing mind is apparent.
             Even in the womb, at later stages, a baby has the same sensitivity to music. In the study "Prenatal Perception, Learning and Bonding", conducted in 1993, 120 mothers attending prenatal enrichment in Hua Chiew Hospital were trained to regularly practice music related activities throughout their pregnancies (Wilkins 1). They were exposed to specific types of music and after the babies were born, 87.5 percent of the infants recognized the music, and of course, their mothers' voices. Not only does this highlight the importance of prenatal exposure, but it also shows how even unborn children can begin to be taught. This in turn could result in better developed learning skills and the ability to begin learning at a faster pace. This kind of prenatal training can prepare unborn children for life in the real world. After birth children are still especially sensitive to the effects of music. In the article, "The origins of Music Perception and Cognition: A Developmental Perspective" a separate study of infants was conducted to test the effect "bad" music had on children.

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