Movement Rhythm Connection

Anyone who spends time with infants and toddlers can attest to their natural joy in hearing music and bopping along. We’re sharing an article that explores the crucial connection between movement and the developmental response to rhythm. Find the study linked here:

“The ability to feel and interpret the strong and weak beats in a rhythm pattern allows people to move and dance in time to music.”

The authors of this fascinating study conducted an experiment to test the effects of bouncing to different rhythms on 9-month-old infants. The infants demonstrated a preference for listening to music with an accented rhythm that matched the rhythm they had experienced with their bodies. Conversely, the control group, which listened to music without bouncing, did not show any listening preference following the test.

These results show that infants must actually use their bodies together with their ears to perceive the rhythms in music. Another takeaway is that passive movement (being gently rocked and bounced) in time with the music is a necessary component of early interactive music development.  

“The early development of the vestibular system, and infant delight at vestibular stimulation when bounced to a play song or rocked to a lullaby, suggest that we are observing a strong, early vestibular-auditory interaction that is critical for the development of human musical behavior.”

Blooming Bébé classes provide little dancers with opportunities for rhythmic vestibular stimulation. Exercises with the parachute, for example, trigger a rhythmic experience that allows Bloomers to feel the rhythm in their bodies while we sing nursery rhymes. This not only helps them to perceive rhythm and develop listening preferences, but also promotes balancing and movement abilities more generally. Have you noticed your child show a preference for any specific rhythms or songs? Are these rhythms they’ve listened to while moving or bouncing with you?


Phillips-Silver, Jessica; Trainor, Laurel J. (February 10, 2015). Feeling the Beat: Movement Influences Infant Rhythm Perception.