The First Steps
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
Why did I start the Lullaby:The First Steps podcast? You can thank my niece. She has beautiful twin girls, and when they were a few months old she came to visit me. When she arrived, she mentioned that she would love me to sing to them (as I had done to her as a child). I asked her what she sang to them already, and she said that she didn't really and that they used a Spotify playlist to put the babies to sleep. That got me thinking. Was this a thing now? Had people stopped singing to their babies and was that important?
I was in the middle of writing my PhD thesis at the time, so very much in research mode. I started reading and the more I read the more I realised that yes, this was a thing, and yes it was an important thing to change. Research shows that singing to your baby has positive effects on their settling, their bonding and their speech development. It also has positive effects on the parents' and has been used effectively to help mothers suffering from post-natal depression. Dr Anita Collins' book, The Lullaby Effect is a fantastic resource and summary of these benefits.
So, the evidence is there, so why has their been such a trend away from singing to babies? I believe it is due to three things
1. Access to technology and free online music such as spotify
2. Fear of singing
3. People not knowing nursery rhymes - and having less contact with older generations who would usually pass them on.
I have been teaching choirs for over 20 years, so am very aware of singing anxiety and how much our culture has lost the sense that singing is a normal and natural thing. The competitive TV shows such as the "got talent" shows and The Voice have not helped.
The thing is, your baby doesn't care if you can't sing in tune or if your voice is not perfect. It is your voice, it is familiar and it makes them secure in the crazy noisy world they are born into. Lullaby:The First Steps is just me, talking to you and teaching you a new, simple lullaby to sing to your baby. It is for mums, dads, grandparents, midwives, early childhood teachers or anyone who hangs out with newborns. It is hopefully the first step towards turning people back towards the beautiful thing that is singing to their babies.