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Publication Date


First Advisor

Samuel Mehr

Second Advisor

Jill de Villiers

Third Advisor

Peter de Villiers

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Home environment, Music, Infant, Development, Parent-infant interaction, Singing


Music is universally prevalent in human society and is a salient component of the lives of young families. The current study examined the frequency of singing and playing recorded music in the home using surveys of parents with infants (N = 945). Results indicated that most parents sing to their infant daily, and the frequency of infant-directed singing is unrelated to parents' income or race/ethnicity. Two reliable individual differences emerged, however: (1) fathers sing less than mothers, and (2) as infants grow older, parents sing less. Moreover, the latter effect of child age was specific to singing and was not reflected in reports of the frequency of playing recorded music. Notably, the frequency of singing and playing music did not significantly differ by race/ethnicity, family income, education, and employment status. Furthermore, a meta-analysis on reports of the frequency of infant-directed singing found little change in its frequency over the last 30 years, despite substantial changes in the technological environment in the home. Last, an exploratory analysis suggested a possible link between generations on musical parenting. These findings, consistent with theories of the psychological functions of music, in general, and infant-directed singing, in particular, demonstrate the everyday nature of music at home.


©2021 Ran Yan. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




45 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 31-40)