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The Music Instinct

December 14, 2015

A few weeks ago, I turned on the radio and Taylor Swift was singing the chart-topper, "Wildest Dreams." My kids were in the car with me and a few moments later, I heard my 3-year old daughter singing along to the song and then she asked me, "Mama, is this a princess song?" indicating that she thought the song was beautiful. Whatever your musical tastes and affinity, Taylor Swift is incredibly talented. For my kids, they have not been exposed to pop music on the radio. For them, it has been toddler tunes or good old-fashioned Twinkle-Twinkle-Little-Star and Baby Beluga. In the car, we usually have the news or talk radio on. So that one fine day, I decided to turn to our local radio station and I was so surprised and amazed that she was feeling such joy and happiness listening to Taylor Swift and actually singing along! I myself, a mother of AMA (yes, some of you know this acronym) am from the Madonna generation and I haven't been able to keep up with the Taylor Swifts of the world. Well, unbeknownst to me, it turns out my 3-year old is a huge fan.

This realization reminded me of a PBS documentary a few years back called, "The Music Instinct," that talks about how we are born with an instinct to respond emotionally, physically, mentally and physiologically to music starting in utero and that we are pre-wired to respond to music. Perhaps that's why there is the trend to expose your baby during pregnancy to Mozart to provide stimulation and enhance development. From what I understood from the movie, the reasoning is that there is movement, a beat and rhythm to everything, including the ever fundamental heart "beat." It's so interesting that humans have such a visceral and emotional response to music because of our physiology and that it really is a part of our instinctive traits. I find this so fascinating.

Music is such an integral part of the cultural fabric of any society, and my 3-year old has taught me to stop tuning out singers and performers because at the end of the day, we love their music and it fulfills us all.


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