A Dad's Quest for Mind-Expanding Music

On expert advice, he tries everything from Baroque to 12-tone
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2008 8:20 PM CDT
A girl listens%u2014on her first iPod?   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A father brings home his newborn and ponders the CD rack: How best to develop the baby's brain? Mozart? Bach? Toddler tunes? With the stakes so high, Jeremy Eichler takes his dilemma to the experts, he writes in the Boston Globe. One tells him that infants benefit from tricky rhythms, so Eichler tosses on Bulgarian wedding music at home. The boy's face lights up. Is he onto something?

Perhaps. But when he learns babies like atonal music, Eichler turns to Schoenberg and Webern. Maybe the boy will grow up to whistle in 12-tone? No dice, a Harvard prof tells him—so Eichler accepts the advice that "it's variety that counts." Now the house is alive with everything from Baroque to Steve Reich—and Eichler is dying to toss his "baby music" CDs in the trash.