Becoming musically enculturated: effects of music classes for infants on brain and behavior
Article first published online: 23 APR 2012
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1252, The Neurosciences and Music IV Learning and Memory pages 129–138, April 2012
How to Cite
Trainor, L. J., Marie, C., Gerry, D., Whiskin, E. and Unrau, A. (2012), Becoming musically enculturated: effects of music classes for infants on brain and behavior. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1252: 129–138. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06462.x
- Issue published online: 23 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 23 APR 2012
- music acquisition;
- brain development;
Musical enculturation is a complex, multifaceted process that includes the development of perceptual processing specialized for the pitch and rhythmic structures of the musical system in the culture, understanding of esthetic and expressive norms, and learning the pragmatic uses of music in different social situations. Here, we summarize the results of a study in which 6-month-old Western infants were randomly assigned to 6 months of either an active participatory music class or a class in which they experienced music passively while playing. Active music participation resulted in earlier enculturation to Western tonal pitch structure, larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones, and a more positive social trajectory. Furthermore, the data suggest that early exposure to cultural norms of musical expression leads to early preferences for those norms. We conclude that musical enculturation begins in infancy and that active participatory music making in a positive social setting accelerates enculturation.