University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Effects of Lullaby Education on Infant Vocal Development

Hewston, Ruth (2007) The Effects of Lullaby Education on Infant Vocal Development. In: Inaugural International Conference on Music Communication Science (ICOMCS), 5th - 7th December 2007, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia.

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Background to the research or performance/installation
Singing development in infants is characterised by increasingly sophisticated interactions with
environmental and maternal sounds (Welch, 2006). The earliest vocal behaviour is crying, with infants
displaying an increase in vowel-like sounds and babbling in the early months. There is existing evidence
to suggest that the development of this early language development is positively related to the amount
of time devoted daily to singing by mothers.
Interdisciplinary issues
This paper presents findings from a structured postnatal intervention programme aimed at teaching new
mothers lullabies and nursery songs. The paper presents important practical and theoretical findings
beneficial to parents, early years practitioners, health visitors, and community musicians.
The issue/hypothesis under investigation
The purpose of the present study was to examine whether a structured programme to encourage
parental singing had a positive impact on infant vocal development. This paper adopted a mixed-
methods approach to examine the interaction of maternal and infant vocal play on the subsequent
development of early vocal and language activity. The primary hypothesis advanced is that a structured
short course in lullaby and nursery singing will facilitate the initiation of early vocal development in
Findings from the present study supported the hypothesis, demonstrating that such intervention
programmes were able to positively benefit early infant vocal development, and facilitate mother and
baby communication and interaction. Qualitative find
ings also supported the use of lullaby singing in
facilitating maternal bonding, a factor which mothers with post-natal depression found to be particularly
Conclusions/future directions
The first year of life is characterised by increasingly diverse vocal activity. Findings from the present
study support the use of such an intervention programme. The present study has examined a small pilot
of such a programme, although further studies ar
e required to examine
the possibility of such
programmes being made available to a larger number of new mother

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: infants, vocal development, language development, parental singing
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ruth Hewston
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2015 10:48
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:06

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