How Do Infants Respond to Music?

Winter Class Article 2019

Week #5

This week, we’re discussing a study examining the reactions of infants ages 5-24 months to music. An experiment conducted to test the rhythmic engagement of babies with music versus speech found that babies are not only more interested in music, but actually respond to it with rhythmic movement! Read the full article here.

“We have shown that human infants spontaneously display rhythmic motion of their bodies to music, rhythmical patterns with a regular beat, and isochronous drumbeats. In contrast, infants do not do so in response to [adult-directed] and [infant-directed] speech. The pattern suggests that induction of rhythmic behavior in infants requires auditory stimuli that are metrically regular.”

The findings promote the idea that exposure to music is essential for young babies to develop a sense of rhythm, even when they are still too young to get up and dance. The discussion opens up the questions of what purpose an early musical sense might serve from an evolutionary perspective. One possible explanation put forth is that motor functions involved in music response later translate into physical responses to social and environmental queues.

We think that a sense of rhythm contributes to a happy and healthy life. After reading this study, we’re all the more excited about our classes for young ones and the profound effects that music exposure is having on Blooming Bébé brains!


Zentner, Marcel and Eerola, Tuomas. (March 30, 2010). Rhythmic engagement with music in infancy