I read this very sweet and touching story in the New York Times a few days ago that I'd like to share. The article is about how music can soothe and calm babies who were born too early, and how music therapy has become a way for premature babies to begin to acclimate to life outside the womb, a reality they weren't quite ready for. Here's a quote from the piece:
"The researchers concluded that live music, played or sung, helped to slow infants’ heartbeats, calm their breathing, improve sucking behaviors important for feeding, aid sleep and promote states of quiet alertness. Doctors and researchers say that by reducing stress and stabilizing vital signs, music can allow infants to devote more energy to normal development."
This is a really beautiful discovery. As a musician, and a hopeful someday mother, I've always been fascinated by the idea of playing music for babies still in the womb. Remember that lovely scene in Mr. Holland's Opus where Mr. Holland plays music to his pregnant wife's belly? I was also so moved when I learned that pianist Simone Dinnerstein (made famous by her recording of the "Goldberg" Variations) decided to learn this magnificent work to accompany her pregnancy, so that her baby would be surrounded by Bach for the 9 months he was inside her.
How wonderful that music therapists have discovered just how useful and restorative music can be to these fragile newborns, who are outside of their mother's protective bodies but not yet ready for the real world.
If you read the article I'd love to know what you think.