Babies soothed with music therapy


This article really resonated with me. I know it’s true. When I was pregnant, we all sang to my sweet, baby girl all the time. “Parents who sing to their babies, there’s a better bond. They feel closer to their babies,” Murphy shares.

Murphy says, ” Your baby has heard your voice for a long time while they were in the womb, they think you’re the MET opera star. They think you’re the best singer in the world. It’s really all they know and they want to hear that voice because it’s a comfort.”

“When live music is provided, by a music therapist in conjunction with a family, baby’s tend to gain weight faster. It improves their oxygen saturation rate, and in some studies, they’ve been released from the NICU earlier than babies who have not had music therapist working with them,” said Dr. Kathleen Murphy.

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Early Music Lessons Boost Brain Development

“If you started…lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded – or loved – helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain.”

-Virginia Penhune, Professor in Concordia’s Department of Psychology



Last month a study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, stated that musical training before the age of seven developed stronger connections in the motor regions of the brain. Thirty-six adult musicians were given a task involving movement. Each of them were tested and their brains were scanned. Half of the musicians started their musical training before the age of seven, while the other half started later, but both groups had the same amount of experience and training, as far as years go. These two groups were compared with individuals who grew up having little to no lessons or formal training.

The musicians who began music lessons before the age of seven showed more accurate timing after only two days of practice. Those that received this jumpstart in life displayed “enhanced white matter in the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibres that connects the left and right motor regions of the brain.” The researchers discovered that the younger the musician started, the greater the connections in that part of the brain.

“This study is significant in showing that training is more effective at early ages because certain aspects of brain anatomy are more sensitive to changes at those time points,” says co-author, Dr. Zatorre, who is also the co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound Research.


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Music To My Ears


Did you know that 50% of Americans suffer from Insomnia? Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently conducted a study which using a non-invasive approach to reduce to symptoms of insomnia. Their study involved a new technology whose purpose is to help the brain frequencies acheive greater harmony and balance through musical tones. The technology is called HIRREM, high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring, aka Brainwave Optimization. The results were based on a zero-to-28 scale called the ISI, or Insomnia Severity Index, which judged the severity of sleep disruption. On average, the study participants ranked between 18.7 and 18.9 on the ISI scale, placing them in the moderate-to-severe insomnia category. Researchers found that the HIRREM group dropped 10.3 points on the ISI. Their symptoms improved and, clinically, they moved into a category of ‘no insomnia’ or ‘sub threshold insomnia’.


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When a Mouse Loves a Woman

wooing mouse

According to a new study, males who imitate Pavoratti or Beiber in an attempt to woo the female species are not alone. Male mice appear to do something similar thing by attempting to match the pitch of the ultrasonic serenades of other male mice. “We are claiming that mice have limited versions of the brain and behavior traits for vocal learning that are found in humans for learning speech and in birds for learning song,” said neurobiologist Erich Jarvis from Duke University, who oversaw the study.


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Opera singing apes


We are all familiar with how the human voice becomes high pitched when inhaling helium from a balloon. Well, helium gas is also a useful tool when studying the vocal techniques of animals because it boosts resonance frequencies and sound velocity.

This study, conducted by the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University, Japan, demonstrates how the recordings of gibbons, singing under the influence of this gas, uncovers a physiological likeness to the human voice. The recording show that gibbons are able to purposefully change their vocal cords and tract to produce their unique sound. It states that singing gibbons, without fail and with little effort, take on the intricate vocal techniques, which in humans, has only been mastered by professional soprano singers.



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Music and autism

music therapy

It has been said that music has helped individuals with autism. In a study, by the College of Alternative Medicine, Jeonju University, Korea, improvisational music therapy sessions and toy play sessions were examined to see if there was any evidence to support the value of music therapy in advancing social, emotional and motivational development in children with autism. “Improvisational music therapy produced markedly more and longer events of ‘joy’, ’emotional synchronicity’ and ‘initiation of engagement’ behaviors in the children than toy play sessions.”



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Two thumbs Up!

hospital thumbs up

In a study conducted by the University of Alberta, children from the ages of 1 month to 18 years were examined to find out if music was effective in reducing pain and anxiety associated with medical and dental procedures. The studies proved positive. Music therapy was found to significantly reduce pain and anxiety in these clinical cases. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18355741

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Babies can learn their first lullabies in the womb

Babies can learn their first lullabies in the womb

I am now three and a half months pregnant, so this article really struck a chord with me.

Babies can recognize and remember the songs sang to them in the womb, finding comfort in the familiar tune and sound of your voice.

Researchers believe that song and speech benefit the fetus with of speech development. The processing of singing and speech in the babies brains are partly based on shared mechanisms, and so hearing a song can help build a baby’s speech development.

“Even though our earlier research indicated that fetuses could learn minor details of speech, we did not know how long they could retain the information. These results show that babies are capable of learning at a very young age, and that the effects of the learning remain apparent in the brain for a long time,” says Eino Partanen, who is finishing up his dissertation at the Cognitive Brain Research Unit.

So, sing to those babies!

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Working to the Beat

Music alleviates physical exertion

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences have found that music does not simply distract us when physically working hard by making the work seem a lot easier, but it actually reduces the effort, probably because of improved muscle coordination.

“These findings are a breakthrough because they decisively help to understand the therapeutic power of music”, explains Thomas Fritz.

No wonder why I love to listen to music when I work out. Awesome!

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I was inspired to post this quote after watching the movie, Music of the Heart.

Great quote

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“Music should strike fire from the heart of a man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.” -Beethoven

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Check out one of my student’s songs. Good stuff! Keep sharing your talent, Cameron!