[PS-2.13] Musical moments in infants' everyday environments are brief and bursty

Mendoza, J. & Fausey, C.

University of Oregon

Most parents (60%) report singing and/or playing music to their infants on a daily basis (Custodero et al., 2003). How do infants encounter this music, among the many other sounds that shape their brains in the first year (Werker et al., 1981)? Do they encounter extended interludes (songs from start-to-finish) or briefer phrases accompanying everyday activities? We present a new corpus of musical moments available to young infants. Infants (N=35; ages 6-12 months) wore a lightweight audio recorder at home (LENA; Ford et al., 2008) for up to 16 hours (M=13.34 hours). Trained coders identified music bouts within this everyday soundscape: live and/or recorded singing, instrument playing, and vocally produced pitched, rhythmic patterns (e.g., humming). 10 fully annotated recordings (to date) reveal that infants encounter brief and bursty musical phrases throughout the day. Individual musical bouts are very short (Median=10.37 seconds), occur close together in clustered patterns across time (Median pause duration=11.66 seconds) (Barabasi, 2005), and cumulate to just under an hour of music per day (Median=46.8 minutes). This brief, bursty daily profile may helpfully engage young attentional systems (Ruff & Capozzoli, 2003) as infants begin to identify and organize into coherent units the many sounds in their world.