Prenatal music stimulation is a technique that uses various stimuli, such as musical instruments, the mother’s and father’s voice, movement activities, vibrations and light to communicate with the unborn baby. The unborn baby learns to recognize and respond to the different stimuli, which strengthen physical, mental and sensory development. Stimulation activities will allow the unborn baby to communicate with his mother and father through his movement in the womb. It will also establish a relationship between specific stimuli and, most importantly, help develop his memory.
Music stimulates normal development of the fetus, especially the brain, which develops most rapidly during the prenatal period. Music experience, during the prenatal period, may be essential for normal development of the fetus, especially the developing brain.
The most rapid period of brain development is during the prenatal period. “Experience in the womb shapes the brain from the moment of conception, and it lays the foundations for personality, emotional temperament and the powers of higher thought” (Verny, 1981:15). Prenatal sounds form an important component of development in prenatal life, because they provide a foundation in later life for learning and behavior. The brain functions at a higher level of organization with fetal sound stimulation (Whitwell, s.a.).
Knowledge about the prenatal stages of development helps us to understand the normal relationships in adult body structures and provides a framework for appropriate stimulation to optimize the growth of the fetus. The baby learns to respond to various stimuli, which encourage physical, mental, and sensory development. Stimulation can start as early as the third month of pregnancy (Manrique, 2007). The most visible advances occur during the third to eight weeks of embryonic development and the rate of body growth increases during the fetal period (Moore & Persaud, 2008:2). Neural development is one of the earliest to begin, and the last to complete, generating the most complex structure within the embryo. Human development starting from fertilization to birth is a dynamic complex and continuous process. It is fascinating process that shows the vital impact of fetal development and lifelong health. Our ability to enhance health will also enhance knowledge and understanding of human development – before and after birth. The following table (index) supplies information on fetal development, in order to understand the development of the fetus from conception to birth, and how and when the prenatal music stimulation program can build on this development, as well as the way it re-enforces, strengthens and advances prenatal development.