Who needs Baby Mozart when there’s Pandora?

Guest post by Jamie Tomasello

Music has always played a big part in my life. My sister, brother, and I always put on performances around the house while we were growing up. I sang in chorus all throughout elementary and secondary school and was originally a voice major in college. I’m trying to teach myself violin now (with limited success), and the house is filled with various Guitar Hero and Rock Band instruments. There’s never a day where I’m not singing some random tune or the television is playing a Sirius/XM station in the background because there is nothing good on television.

We want to expose E. to all different kinds of music to see what excites and soothes him. I’m not one of those structured moms who schedules exposures based on genre, time period, or potential high school performance. I originally looked at the Nuvo Ritmo Pregnancy Sound System and the Belly Buds, but eventually decided against them because we weren’t planning on extended periods of exposure. Honestly, babies in utero don’t need to be under a constant musical assault. They need their sleep, too.

What we decided to do was establish an evening ritual of my husband reading the What to Expect When You’re Expecting iPhone app daily update while I lie in bed and then play one or two songs from YouTube off of the iPhone. We would put the iPhone on the same spot on my belly, and I could feel E. “slime down” (it’s the phrase I use for his ninja-sneaking) to be near the phone when the music was playing. Some nights he would kick around the phone and sort of bubble right underneath it. (Bubbling is not quite kicking, not quite punching. It’s definitely a set of little movements near the surface though.)

Why do we think he likes it? Well, I can feel him move towards the source of the music.

Why do we think he likes it? Well, I can feel him move towards the source of the music. We know that he historically hates intrusive electronic things; for example, he moves away from the fetal doppler. (It is a little funny to feel him dart away from the doppler and watch the midwife try to chase him to get a solid reading.)

What kind of music is his favorite? After a lot of trial and error, he consistently likes ragtime music, specifically Scott Joplin. He tends to be most active and huddled under the phone for piano pieces. He does not like more chaotic pieces like “Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin. (E. drew back away from the phone and away from the surface for that one.)

We decided to go one step further from hunting down music on YouTube. We created a station with the Pandora iPhone app based on “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin. It now serves up music along a similar vein every night for us.

Perhaps you’re asking, aren’t you worried about radiation exposure? Truthfully, we aren’t. It’s 2 – 5 minutes of direct belly exposure every night. He probably gets more radiation exposure from me sitting in front of my laptop at home or the computer systems at work. We’re hoping this early exposure and activity will translate to more activity during tummy time once he’s born. We intend to play his Scott Joplin Pandora station then, too.

Comments on Who needs Baby Mozart when there’s Pandora?

  1. Ohmygosh! I have an “outside baby,” (12 weeks old) and have a newfound love for Pandora!! We do a Sesame Street station for playing & daytime entertainment, and Renee and Jeremy for sleepytime/good-indie-kids-music time. LOVE!!!

    I was also a music major (cello) for the first part of college, and finding toys and a mobile that don’t grate on my ears has been a Major Task.

  2. We did music with headphones (like the pic in this post) many times while I was pregnant and now that he’s on the outside, I totally made him his own Pandora station. His is based on that “You Always Make Me Smile” that’s in a hotel commercial (and inexplicably made me choke up whenever I heard it while pregnant and thus became Baby’s song) and I recently thought to add Raffi!

  3. I’ve barely started to feel my baby move, but I’ve been thinking for a long time about what kind of music I’m going to play for my belly buddy. DH talks to my belly each night before we go to bed, telling baby how much he loves it, but I think I might start playing music too!

  4. After reading this post I tried to find some info on the net about the benefits of talking/singing/putting music to the pregnant belly.

    Couldnt really find anything on it. Does anyone have any links to share on the subject?

    • Forgive the length of this excerpt, I found this interesting article..

      “In the early and mid-1990s, studies at the University of California-Irvine found that listening to Mozart sonatas improved the spatial reasoning of college students. People immediately jumped to the conclusion that classical music improves intelligence, and the earlier people started listening to it, the better. First, mothers were urged to play music for their toddlers, then their newborns… then their fetuses. In fact, follow-up studies were unable to confirm the experiments’ results in adults or children.

      Then Dutch researchers found that not only can late-term fetuses “hear” sounds, but they can actually “learn.” The researchers exposed the fetus to a noise, then used ultrasound to see how it reacted. They found the fetus reacted to the sound more quickly each time it heard it. But there’s no evidence that this early “learning” has any effect on later intelligence, either.

      ..but there’s evidence that mothers who continue to work out during their pregnancy have smarter babies. James F. Clapp, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, compared the children of pregnant women who continued to exercise throughout their pregnancy with the children of women who gave it up. He found that at five years of age, the children of the exercisers scored significantly higher on tests of general intelligence and language skills.”

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