Environmental and genetic factors affect individual development from fetus to adult, both generally and in the case of music. This chapter considers the difference between shared and nonshared environmental influences, and different types of interaction between the individual and the environment. Parents, teachers, and peers strongly influence this development. Early nonverbal interactions between child and mother or caretaker, and parental support for music activities in childhood, seem to be of particular importance. These and other influences (e.g., exposure to music through the media) occur in the more general framework of the societal, historical, and generational context. Environmental conditions for musical development may be optimized by paying more attention to shared music experiences between child and parents (e.g., parent-baby singing), and exposing the child to a wide variety of music.
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