In a recent article in Scientific American renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks of Columbia University had this to say concerning music, “Certainly music seems to be the most direct form of emotional communication. It really seems to be as important a part of human life and communication as language and gesture.” Emerging evidence also indicates that music brings out predictable responses across cultures and among people of widely varying musical or cognitive abilities. Even newborn infants and people who cannot discern pitch enjoy music’s emotional effect.
When I was pregnant with my first child I was also in graduate school studying piano pedagogy. One of the pieces that I was working on in my private lessons was Nocturne in B Major, Op. 32, No. 1 by Chopin. I would spend hours at the piano - practicing, refining and memorizing this beautiful composition. I never really considered the effects of all of this music on my unborn child until several months later. My son, Aaron was a fussy baby. We did many things to quiet and calm him. One night after much exasperation I suggested that my husband bring him downstairs in my piano studio. As he held this squirming and screaming infant, I began to play the Nocturne. After only a few measures, Aaron became very quiet and gazed up knowingly at his father. It was as if he was saying "this is my music". It was at that point I realized the power of music.