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Musical Developmental Milestones (0-18 months)

“Children respond to music in a combination of responses.

They move as they listen. They dance as they play.

Music is auditory and visual and kinesthetic, cognitive and emotional.”

(Schwartz, 2008)

"Before a child talks, they sing. Before they write, they draw.

As soon as they stand, they dance.

Art is fundamental to human expression. "

-Phylicia Rashad

Psychoanalycal theory:

1. Sigmund Freud

Oral Stage 0-18 months

Child develops emotional attachment through oral satisfaction. (Schwartz, 2008)

So what did we learn from this?

Babies taste the musical instruments and

That is OKAY!

It’s our job to source for high quality/ child-proof musical instruments.

Stay away from drum beaters for now for hygiene reasons.

2. Erik Erikson

Oral-Sensory Stage 0-12 months

Child develops through trust or mistrust of environment. (Schwartz, 2008)

Research has indicated that singing to our babies create bonds and stimulate development. The effect of infant-directed singing is as effective as book reading, playing with toys, but far more effective then listening to prerecorded music (De l'Etoile et al, 2017).

"The tempo and key certainly don't need to be perfect or professional for mothers and infants to interact through song. In fact, infants may be drawn to the personalized tempo and pitch of their mother, which encourage them to direct their gaze toward and ultimately communicate through this gaze."

(de l'Etoile et al, 2017).

Music therapy is used in the Neonatal ICU in KKH in Singapore. According to Loewy (2015), music therapy is effective, cost effective, improves vital signs, weight gains in premature infants, shortens hospital stays, and supports parents/child bonding especially for parents who experience postnatal depression.

Are you aware of the two singing techniques when we are singing to infants and babies?

1. Infant-directed singing VS Singing like a pop star

2. Song of kin- change it to lullaby in ¾ timing

(de l'Etoile et al, 2017; Loewy, 2015)

How about the two types of songs?

1. Play-song: more brilliant, clipped, rhythmic, more consonants, and more smiling

2. Lullabies: more airy, smooth and soothing

(Schwartz, 2008)

Cognitive Theories

Jean Piaget


0-6 weeks

Development of reflexes

6 weeks- 4 months

Development of habits

4-9 months

Development of coordination. Beginning of object permanence.

9-12 months

Development of logic and goal planning

12-18 months

Development of increased thinking and planning skills.

What does this inform us?

1. Using songs as transitions,

2. Using scarves/ parachute to support the discovery of object and person permanence

3. Playing cause-and- effect toys-> MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS are great cause-and-effect toys!!!


de l’Etoilea, S., Behuraa, S., Zopluoglu, C. (2017). Acousticparameters of infant-directed singing in mothers of infants with down syndrome. Infant Behavior and Development, 49, 151–160

Edwards. J. (2011). Music therapy and parent-infant bonding. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Greata, J. (2006). An introduction to music in early childhood education. NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning.

Humpal. M. (2018). Tips for making meaningful music in early childhood settings. In Knight. A.,

LaGasse, B. & Clair. A. (Eds.), Music therapy: an introduction to the profession (p.176). Silver Spring, Maryland: American Music Therapy Association, Inc.

Loewy, J.V. (2015). NICU music therapy: song of kin as critical lullaby in research and practice. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1337, 178–185.

Lopez-Teijon, M., Garcia-Faura, A. & Prats-Galino, A. (2015). Fetal Facial expression in response to intravaginal music emission. Ultrasound, 23(4), 216-223

Schwartz, E. (2008). Music therapy, and early childhood: a developmental approach. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers.

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