Music –– and more specifically, rhythmic ability –– may help babies learn languages.
A new study from the University of Washington had a group of babies listen to children's music. During the music, parents moved the babies to the beats of a song.
A different group of babies didn't listen to music. Instead, they played with toys that still got them moving –– just not to a rhythm.
It may be hard to relate to now that you're grown up, but as a baby, you're flooded with new sights, sounds, textures, etc. You learn largely by recognizing patterns.
In the second part of the study, all the babies heard both music and speech sounds that followed a pattern, but sometimes the patterns were disrupted.
When they were, the babies who had undergone music training showed greater brain activity in areas known to control pattern detection.
For language learning itself, scientists still don't agree on if learning to speak at an earlier age goes hand in hand with higher intelligence.
But the University of Washington study argues music training improves pattern recognition and learning in general.
There's long been a trend of schools across the country cutting music classes when faced with budget cuts — something the researchers are saying their study shows is a mistake.
This video includes clips from the University of Washington and images from EaglebrookSchool / CC BY 2.0, OC Always / CC BY 2.0, GreenFlames09 / CC BY 2.0, Daniel Guimarães / CC BY 2.0 and pedrobonatto / CC BY 2.0.