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My unborn baby loves classical music!

Thursday, 16 January 2014  | 

Does anyone else listen to music specifically for their baby’s sake?
You might think I’m mad, but ever since I got to about 20 weeks pregnant, I’ve been listening to a lot more classical music – in the house, when I’m working and particularly in the car – nice and loud! I’ve even been listening to it on my iPhone when I’m walking the dog.
I don’t know exactly why I started. I have always been very musical; I come from a musical family and have played the cello since I was five years old and still play pretty regularly. I can’t picture my own childhood except full of music making, and I would like my child to grow up with music in his life too. So I suppose a part of me is trying to ensure that he develops a good ‘ear’ for music even now. I don’t know if that’s even possible at this stage.
I think another reason I have started listening to a lot more classical music is that it has a very positive effect on me, which can only be a good thing for the baby. Marching round the forest or the heath in the cold sunshine with the dog in the early morning is made so much more enjoyable with some lively upbeat classical music to stomp along to. Equally, working becomes a lot less stressful with soothing, relaxing pieces of music in the background.
And I’m pretty sure I can feel my baby react too. Whether he’s reacting to the music or to my feelings when listening to it, I don’t know. This morning, as I drove in to work at some unearthly hour, I was listening to Radio 2 and whoever was on at that particular time played Glen Miller’s ‘In the Mood’ – a really famous piece of jazz music and one that, when I was about 12, I used as my music for a gymnastics competition. It’s always been a firm favourite and while it was on, my baby was boogying away like you would not believe.
I’ve found it particularly interesting to note the effects on the baby when I play my cello too – obviously the instrument is resting against me and so I guess the sound and vibrations would resonate through to the baby pretty clearly. He goes very still and curls himself up in a ball in my belly when I play – I wonder if this means he loves or hates my cello-playing!
One thing I feel I should clarify, though, is that I’m not trying to create the so-called ‘Mozart-effect’ – the belief some people have that exposing an unborn child to Mozart’s music will make them cleverer. I really don’t believe that, just as I don’t believe that people who play music are any cleverer than those who don’t – the idea is frankly ridiculous.
I think I am doing it primarily to give my baby the best chance of having an enjoyment of music as he grows up. There are studies to suggest that babies have some ability to remember music they heard while in the womb, so clearly they can hear and are absorbing the music in some way.
My partner was pretty sceptical about the whole thing, to be honest. He is not musical and can’t see any particular value in exposing the baby to lots of classical music now. That is, however, until he had a brainwave; if I was encouraging our baby to become a budding musician at this stage, we ought to do our best to give him the opportunity to become a great cricketer too – M’s main passion in life. Using my logic against me, M decided that I should watch as much test match cricket as possible in the coming months, to give our baby an appreciation of the game. Brilliant.
Hearing my own arguments in this way did make them sound a little sillier...
And I might have just signed myself up to hours of riveting cricket. Still, I guess I don’t have to be awake for it – it’ll just go in by osmosis, right?<

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