Music Beginning in the Womb

Published by KidLinks on: Apr 01, 2019 — Music Therapy

Music Beginning in the Womb

When a music therapist receives a referral for a new client, a lot of the times the parent or caregiver will say, “S/he has loved music since s/he was little.” Parents and caregivers will share stories of what music made their little ones “stop in their tracks” to dance or sing (the most recent example I have heard is a commercial with a cow singing – I’ll admit, I would dance to that, too.). As a music therapist, I am often asked, especially in the hospital setting, about using music with infants and during pregnancy. I explain that from a very early age, it is recommended that babies are exposed to music due to the benefits that music has on development, beginning in the womb. Here are some suggestions that I often share with parents/caregivers:

  • Sing to your little one! Babies in the womb and after they are born recognize their mom’s voice. Babies also prefer their mom’s voice over other voices. So start practicing those lullabies and favorite children’s songs. For some variety, check out the Fun and Silly Category at
  • Expose baby to different musical styles – any kind of music helps with brain development, beginning in the womb. For a listening experience that could help calm mom as well as promote development, try
  • When playing music for your baby in the womb, it is recommended not to put headphones on the tummy. Baby can hear the music without the headphones and the louder sound may scare or overstimulate the baby (there is a lot noise already happening in the womb).
  • Even though this smallest music listener loves music, do not play music constantly for the baby. Babies need a break, too. Too much sound may disrupt a baby’s natural sleep pattern while in the womb.

Music experiences start from the time we are very, very young. The rewards of listening and being involved with music are countless. Beginning in the womb, music provides building blocks for all areas of development.


Bales, D.W., Falen, K., Butler, T., Marshall, L.E., Searle, L., & Semple P. (2014). Better brains for babies trainer’s guide. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from

de l’Etoile, S.K. (2006). Infant-directed singing: A theory for clinical intervention.Music Therapy Perspectives, 24(1), 22-29.

Gilboa, A. (2014). The dual nature of the womb and its implications for music therapy. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy,23(3), 242-262. (n.d.). Sweet songs you must sing to your baby. Retrieved March 28, 2019, from

Standley, J.M. & Madsen, C.K. (1990). Comparison of infant preference and responses to auditory stimuli: Music, mother, and other female voice.Journal of Music Therapy, 27(2), 54-97


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