I saw a video the other day of a crying baby being instantly coaxed into silence by the playing of heavy metal music, specifically a song by death metal band Nile. The video can be found below, and is probably the cutest thing to ever appear on this blog. It got me thinking, though. Does she stop crying because she likes the music and the rhythm, or because she's experiencing a sensory overload? Is it a good idea to expose babies to metal?
The studies I've looked at don't take a position on whether or not metal is good or bad for a baby's development. However, a baby begins listening actively at 24 weeks into pregnancy, and a common theory states that whatever music the baby may be exposed to in the womb will be music that it finds soothing or comforting as it grows. Makes sense to me. Many infants find pop music enjoyable (see any of the billions of "baby dancing to Beyonce" videos out there for proof) because its simple beats and heavy bass tend to remind the baby of the sound of their mother's heartbeat in the womb. This kid doesn't care about any of that, and just wants to headbang to Pantera. Careful buddy!
My experience is that listening to metal demands a certain amount of intellectual involvement. There's usually a lot going on with the music, and it takes a lot of brainpower to keep track of everything. My guess is that can only be good for a baby - same goes for classical music or any complex yet melodic musical style. Moms of the world, crank it up.