How to Help Your Child Develop Perfect Pitch

One of the things that Right Brain Training tries to teach your child is Perfect Pitch. I’ve always been fascinated with Perfect Pitch because I can’t hear an off-key to save my life.  I think that’s the downside of learning the piano – you never have to learn to tune your instrument because someone else does it for you.  I’ve also always been fascinated by how some people can play music after hearing it just once.  These are people with Perfect Pitch.

It’s quite peculiar that just as I decide I’m going to send Gavin for music lessons I get a newsletter from Accelerated Learning Methods about perfect pitch training. Although my intention for Gavin is simply to give him something fun to do, there are a number of benefits that can be derived from him learning music and possibly developing perfect pitch.

“Children who receive perfect pitch training will often have a much better advantage when taking singing or music lessons. It also has many other beneficial residual effects in school subjects such as learning a foreign language, which utilizes many of the same brain functions.

Those with perfect pitch (musical aptitude) have developed the right brain left brain connections that allow them to play and compose music perfectly from memory…

Have you ever heard a song you listened to hours or days earlier playing in your head like a recording? The ability to transfer what you hear perfectly through a musical instrument is your right brain and left brain working together in unison.

To a music genius like Mozart, this came very easily… he heard completely new compositions in his mind, sometimes so quickly, that he scarcely had enough time to record it to paper.  Some say Mozart and other musical greats heard the “music of the spheres” – melodies echoing from the universe…

This “listening ear” comes naturally to some, but for the rest of us, we can develop this ability with perfect pitch training. Shinichi Suzuki, creator of the Suzuki Method, trains his young students to develop perfect pitch as they learn how to play an instrument, not by reading music, but by listening to it. This is exactly right brain training helps a child learn music.

Four Training Methods to Help Your Baby Develop Perfect Pitch

1. If you have a piano or any tuned musical instrument, sit with your baby and play on note, then tell him/her what that note is. And continue as long as your baby is alert and paying attention. Try humming the notes while playing them as long as you can hum in the same key!

2. Use a set of tuning forks. Tap them and hold them close to your baby’s ear as the sound resonates.

3. Play classical music as much as possible. RBE recommends using Baroque (Largo tempo) because its cadence is the same as the alpha brain wave state.

4. Google “sounds of musical instruments”. You’ll find lots of sites, some of which have free sounds of dozens of musical instruments you can listen to with your baby. They even have pictures with the sounds.

Update on Perfect Pitch Training

Jeremy Christopher (in the comments below) has kindly shared that complex music, such as the works of Beethoven, is required to facilitate perfect pitch development during the early years when language formation takes place. He also highlighted what I felt was a particularly important point – the link between this and language development. It reminded me of something Patricia Kuhl once said about teaching children a second language – if you want to teach your child a second language, you have to start in your baby’s first year of life. Beyond that first year, your child will have lost the ability to discern sounds from languages other than those that he is exposed to on a regular basis. If this is the case for language development, perfect pitch development may also be similarly affected.

There is also some research that points to perfect pitch being an inherited trait. Although that said, environmental factors must also be in place to nurture that quality.

…perfect pitch — or absolute pitch, as it is more formally called — is not a single or neatly delimited faculty. It comes in varied degrees. And there is also reason to believe that it may be learned in earliest childhood in musical families. – New York Times

More about Perfect Pitch

Below are a few interesting videos on Perfect Pitch…

Documentary on Perfect Pitch:

Perfect Pitch – The Musical Gene:

Ear Training – Memorising Intervals:

Related:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

3 thoughts on “How to Help Your Child Develop Perfect Pitch

  1. Actually, complex music is required to influence babies (preborn – 2 years (usually 8 months)) to enhance their speech processing in their brain and learn to retain certain pitches. This is the same with Asian languages with pitch inflections, where the speech center is influenced to retain pitch information. Mozart and other classical music of his time or before, was simplified, due to some stipulations from the church; it wasn’t until Beethoven, that we heard of some more complex musical chord progressions. As for music that would help this sort of learning, some Beethoven would be better, but 19th and 20th century music, movie music and jazz would be the best to have babies listen to.

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