Arnon S, Shapsa A, Forman L, Regev R, Bauer S, Litmanovitz L. Live music is beneficial to preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit environment. Birth. 2006; 33: 131–136.
Compared with recorded music or no music therapy, authors conclude that live music therapy is associated with a reduced heart rate and a deeper sleep 30 minutes after therapy in stable preterm infants.
Cervasco A, Grant R. Effects of the pacifier activated lullaby on weight gain of premature infants. Journal of Music Therapy. 2005; 42(2): 123–139.
This study evaluates the effects of Pacifier Activated Lullaby (PAL)* trials on the weight gain of premature infants. Findings lead the authors to conclude it was beneficial for premature infants to participate in PAL 30 minutes prior to feeding.

Chou LL, Wang RH, Chen SJ. Effects of music therapy on oxygen saturation in premature infants receiving endotracheal suctioning. Journal of Nursing Research. 2003;11(3):209–216.
Study results show that premature infants receiving music therapy with endotracheal suctioning had a significantly higher SPO(2) than that when not receiving music therapy. The level of oxygen saturation returned to the baseline level faster than when they did not receive music therapy.

Courtnage A, Chawla H. Loewy J, Nolan P. Effects of live, infant-directed singing on oxygen saturation, heart rates and respiratory rates of infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Pediatric Research. 2002; 2346(51): 403A.
Findings from this study suggest that this method of music therapy can infants’ address health stimulation needs that may go unmet in the NICU.

Loewy J, Stewart K, Dassler AM, Telsey A, Homel P. The Effects of Music Therapy on Vital Signs, Feeding, and Sleep in Premature Infants. Pediatrics. 2013 [Epub ahead of print].
Authors conclude that informed, intentional therapeutic use of live sound and parent-preferred lullabies applied by a certified music therapist can influence cardiac and respiratory function.

Lubetzky R, Mimouni FB, Dollberg S, Reifen R, Ashbel G, Mandel D. Effect of Music by Mozart on Energy Expenditure in Growing Preterm Infants. Pediatrics. 2010; 125(1): 24–28.
This study found exposure to Mozart music significantly lowers resting energy expenditure (REE) in preterm infants. Authors speculate that this music on REE might explain, in part, the improved weight gain that results from this “Mozart effect.”

Olischar M, Shoemark H, Holton T, Weniger W, Hunt R. The influence of music on a EEG activity in neurologically healthy newborns 32 weeks’ gestational age. Acta Paediatr. 2011;100(5): 670–675.
Authors conclude that more mature sleep wake cycles in infants exposed to music, suggesting that there might be a small effect of music on quiet sleep in newborns.

Yildiz A, Arikan D. The effects of giving pacifiers to premature infants and making them listen to lullabies on their transition period for total oral feeding and sucking success. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2012; 21(5–6): 644–656.
Giving pacifiers* to premature infants and making them listen to lullabies was found to have a positive effect on their transition period to oral feeding, their sucking success and vital signs (peak heart rate and oxygen saturation). NICU nurses are advises to give premature infants pacifiers and make them listen to lullabies during gavage feeding. *Pacifier-activated lullaby (PAL) is used with preemies having difficulty feeding. This device helps teach the suck, swallow and breathe reflex needed for bottle-feeding using music as a reward each time the baby sucks. As a result, the baby gains weight and is able to leave the hospital faster.