In a small psychology study back in 2004 by Nakata and Trehub, babies as young as 6 months showed preference for singing over speech. This was the type of research I was reading to inform the creation of the Baby Love Music Fun program. The study played audio-visual samples of mother's singing and speaking to the babies. They were able to measure the babies 'fixation' by how long they gazed at the image and also by reduced movements showing their attention had been captured. I can tell you anecdotally I see this in class every day - especially when we do "opera time" When I talk to the parents about the activity the babies play, socialise and go about whatever their mission is. When we begin singing it's like rabbits in the spotlight. That's what I call it anyway. The babies heads turn and their movement stops and they listen -it really stops them in their tracks. Great - I think to myself we have your attention, now you will learn. That's when I ramp up the movement to the musical beat as well. I'm aiming to get the babies to move me me in-sync to the beat. It works and it is a true gift to be able to communicate with babies in this way. This is the type of research we love to use in our music program to teach parents how to do it too. Here's the findings of the research in a nice little graph and the citation of the research. Nakata, Takayuki & Trehub, Sandra. (2004). Infants’ responsiveness to maternal speech and singing. Infant Behavior and Development. 27. 455-464. 10.1016/j.infbeh.2004.03.002.
"Children who have been involved in music learning through singing, moving to music and using age appropriate instruments have been found to have; high levels of language acquisition, language decoding, phoneme awareness, reading comprehension and language syntax. This is because their auditory processing has been developed effectively through their involvement with music learning." Dr Anita Collins - Bigger Better Brains