Category Archives: International Tunes

Your Family Zoom Reimagined…

Dear Tunester,

I’m in the back of a brown Buick station wagon gazing out at the endless wheat fields outside my window. Did I have a seat belt on? Probably not. We’re on a road trip and it’s my dad’s turn to pick the music. Willie Nelson is crooning and I’m rolling my eyes. Another hour until I get to listen to the Muppet Show for the 56th time. 

 

Now I’m on a road trip with my own kids traveling to the same Bryce and Zion playing that same Stardust album. I appreciate his nonchalant delivery and elegant productions but it’s more than that. My eyes tear while I listen to it.

 

I wonder – am I so moved because these songs encapsulate this journey, from child to mother, from one side of the US to the other? Or is it the music itself that I can now appreciate as an adult?

 

Probably both. Willie Nelson is Willie Nelson. AND my father instilled in me a connection to this music. He felt it strongly and he passed it down.

 

Now it’s my kids in the back asking- “do we have to hear that again?”

 

Wait till they’re older…

 

Music collapses time. It brings the past viscerally into the present. Because it’s stored in a different region of our brain than memories, it activates parts of our brain that bring back our sense-memory of an experience.

 

Have you ever heard a song from your childhood and feel like you are back on a swing with your cousin, or at that party in highschool with your friend, or in the delivery room with your new baby? Music brings back memories with all five senses. Suddenly we can smell the salty ocean, taste that margarita, feel the brand new skin of our baby.

 

Why do I bring this up now? Because this is the time to tap into this.

 

We’re in that magical time between the holidays that brings anticipation, excitement, and an unwinding of the year. And boy do we need it this year.

 

But this time it’s very different. We aren’t gathering, and that really sucks. But as always with Covid, there is a silver lining.

 

Because of the physical distance from our families we’re left to remember past years and cherish what we once took for granted. Have you been thinking back to last Christmas when everyone woke up together? Or a few years ago when your family sang Haunuka songs together?

 

We have more time to ponder what we really want holidays to look like for our young families. We can take a moment to recall the traditions that run in our family, be intentional about continuing the good ones, resurrecting others, and tossing some out completely.

 

This year is the perfect time to tap into our collective family musical memory for three reasons: 

 

  1. Our memories are being evoked.
  2. We’re feeling more emotional this year.
  3. You’re building your young family. 

 

So I’ve been thinking…what if we use our awkward and contrived Zoom family get-togethers to explore the traditions of our family more deeply?

 

Have you ever asked your grandma or parent what music was sung to them when they were little? Or what songs they remember their parents singing at the holidays?

 

NOW is the time to conjure up these memories. Every moment that goes by is an opportunity for the older generation to forget. I don’t know about you but my “mom brain” is here to stay. My memory is about as useful as a Momaroo. So I can’t imagine what memories are still rattling around in our parents’ heads. We have to get to them asap!

 

For this year’s family Zoom get together I propose you take some time to explore your family playbook, remember your family traditions, and bring the past into your baby’s future. 

 

You know I wouldn’t suggest this if I didn’t try it myself. This morning my cousins, aunt, mother and I got together on Zoom and reminisced about the music passed down through the generations of our family.

 

I found out that most of their family music memories weren’t from holidays rather from singing in the car. My grandfather had a knack for remembering (or making up, we’ll never know,) silly nonsensical songs that are etched into our memories like graffiti on a camp bunk bed.

 

I also found out that my cousin in law’s family sings Christmas carols together before their meal while drinking eggnog. And the best part? They have a playbook with all the lyrics! 

 

So this year let’s make sticky lemonade out of rotten lemons and work on creating our family’s playbook. 

 

Instead of letting that one family member monopolize your Zoom call while everyone else feels awkward, or only talking about what the kids are up to, why not seize the moment and have a conversation that will impact your baby’s future and holidays to come?

 

I’ve got a new offering for people who would like me to facilitate this exciting meeting (email me if you want to get more details on that.) But I want to give you a starter kit of questions to bring to your family.

 

Caution – as always when we dive into memories, this could bring up some STUFF. Along with the fuzzy images of family may also come the harsher ones. You or other family members may feel emotional during the conversation. That’s OK. Tread lightly. Go as far as your collective memory will allow without people spiraling into a dark place. Or, if you can, go there and come back together through song.

 

Here are some questions that you can ask your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, and siblings in your family Zoom meeting:

 

  1. What songs were sung to you when you were a baby/kid?
  2. What songs do you remember being played when you were a kid?
  3. When you think of holidays with your family when you were a kid, what is a song you think of most?
  4. What are your favorite holiday traditions that you used to do with your parents and family?
  5. What traditions did you want to make sure to pass on to us?

 

And questions for you and your partner:

  1. What songs do we want to bring to our baby’s holiday experience?
  2. What family traditions do we want to pass on?
  3. What family traditions do we want to toss?

 

I would love to know what you think about this idea, if you’ll do it, and how it goes when you do. Please COMMENT below.

 

And if you’d like to book a one time family session with me, I can’t wait. Email me here: info@babyintune.com.

 

Do you have a friend who needs some encouragement this holiday season? Send them this blog and tell them to sign up for more:

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

My theme song for 2020

Dear tuned-in parents – I talk a lot about having songs for your baby to transition from one thing to another. Diaper to new diaper. Clothes to pajamas. Awake to asleep.

Well, today’s Tuesday Tune-in is about a song for YOU to transition – from this year to next year. 

 

Your theme song is powerful.

 

It can be an acknowledgement of where you are. 

Example: Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to be Mine.” There was a time a couple of years ago when this was my theme song. Looking back on that time, I see that I was mourning a part of myself. The song helped me reconnect through some sadness and kindness to myself. 

 

It can be a motivator to keep going. 

Example: “Eye of the Tiger,” the Rocky theme song. In my twenties, I dated a grunge rocker/ snowboarder. He brought me to his home state of Vermont to learn how to snowboard myself and let’s just say I fell. A lot. On my head. But what I did have was a theme song. Every time I fell, I took a moment to absorb the pain and frustration. Then I found myself getting back up while singing quietly to myself, “Rising up, back on my feet…”

 

It can be anything that makes you feel like your truest self. 

Theme songs have always gotten me going. Not to say that they’re always happy and upbeat.  But they’re always honest. They always act as a reminder of what I need to grow.

 

The amazing part is that most likely your theme song is already playing in your head – as you go to sleep, take a pause in your day, do something that energizes you or something that you dread. 

 

Our mind is like a jukebox with a playlist of its own. And every now and then one record keeps spinning because it is the one we need to hear.

 

For me, for the beginning of this year, two songs have been playing on repeat in my head. Interestingly, they seem contradictory. But dammit – so is life.

 

The first is an oldie, Otis Redding’s masterpiece – “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”. It reminds me to take it slow, enjoy the breeze, notice the view, and breathe. I think this was actually spurred by one of my sweet students who requested that I play the song in class. Since then its been at the top of my mind and the tip of my tongue every time I pick up the guitar.

 

The second is by 2019’s queen of self-empowerment for women – Lizzo. Her song “Good as Hell” reminds me to locate that little often forgotten voice inside me screaming – “I am the shit!”

 

So dear Tunester, as you plunge into a new beginning, what’s your song? 

 

We don’t need to pick out our theme song for the whole year because it will change many times. 

 

I’m suggesting that we pick out our theme song for these next couple of months. The beginning of the year is a special time. We all feel just a little bit more motivated to do our best, to turn a new leaf, to start a project or to kick old habits. 

 

So your homework this week is fun homework. 

 

On your commute, at home with your babies or on the treadmill; search through new songs and old songs and see what resonates with you. 

 

Having a theme song is like having a friend that reaches out of hand and picks you up when you need it or makes your step a little bit bouncier when it drags. 

 

The best possible scenario is for us all to share our theme songs together. It’s like sharing the lullabies that we use with our babies. It gives us ideas and opens our mind to directions we haven’t thought of.

 

Please share it in the comments so that we can all get ideas.

 

These things are always more fun together. Forward this to your friends and tell them you’ll share yours if they share theirs.

 

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

I just did something awesome/crazy/scary

I’ve got some big news for you all and it deserves its own Tune In, not even on a Tuesday.

Do you have non-New Yorker friends or family who you wish could have taken my class with you?

Do you work 9-to-5and wish you could have taken my class if time was limitless?

Now. Everyone. Can.

After almost 10 years of classes, I’ve finally gone and done it: I’ve created a digital class!

 

The Baby in Tune Online Class

WHAT IS IT? A downloadable, six-week video series that teaches parents and babies how music can help them connect more deeply and joyfully.

As each parent self-navigates the curriculum, they also log in for weekly live meetings with myself and the group so we all develop a class community.

Participants also receive supporting materials from PDF instructions to song videos.

WHO IS IT FOR? Moms or dads with babies 0 to 12 months.

WHY DID I DO THIS? Two reasons.

To give parents who would otherwise not be able to take this type of class, access to the incredible connective power that music can have on a family.

Also, candidly, for me to be less tied to one city and open up the opportunity to travel with my family while still growing my passion project/business.

HOW DO I JOIN? Attend a FREE online workshop that will give you a taste of what we’ll cover in The Baby in Tune Online Class.

Registration for the Online Class will open Nov 6. Make sure to subscribe to my email list so you’re first to hear.

I think you know this but it’s worth restating: I really believe in what I teach.

I know that music is the perfect modality through which to connect to our babies.

It makes us instantly more present and more connected. I’ve felt this firsthand with my three babies and in class with you and your babies.

It’s a language we all understand. Babies included. And it’s a tool we can use to help our little ones feel soothed, sleepy, safe and happy.

And it’s just a lot of good fun.

Now I can share all of this knowledge with more parents. Cue happy dance!

You helped me hone my craft. So I turn to you first with this big news.

Share this with your pregnant friends!
Share this with your new-mom friends!
Share this with your second-time dad friends!
Share this with your cousin in Montana or your college friend in London.
Share this with your doula!
Share this with your prenatal yoga teacher!

I feel like you get the drift.

Share this with anyone who you think would appreciate the joy connecting to their baby with music. This is the perfect way to do it from the comfort of their own couch. Which is where this whole thing started anyway – with me singing to my first son on our little couch.

And now. All this. And more to come!

 

Love,

Vered

The Mozart effect. Is it a thing?

Okay, in-tune parents – Today I’ll be your mythbuster.

Does the Mozart effect really work? Is classical music actually better for your babies? Will it make them geniuses?

I’m going to do my best to dive into this question. Plus, as a special bonus, I have been working on a classical music playlist that is perfect for your babies. Listen via the  link at the bottom.

So the short answer to the question above is: NO.

BUT listening to classical music has been linked to plenty of brain benefits, including one big one. Keep reading to find out what …

Here’s some background: In 1993, a research study by three university professors discovered that children showed improve spatial reasoning when doing a pencil-and-paper maze task while listening to Mozart. However, the study has since been debunked. Others have found that the study was incomplete and the results inconclusive. So it’s not clear if classical music can make us smarter and it’s certainly not clear if it has to do with Mozart. In fact, one of the counter studies showed a similar effect when people listened to the band Blur. They called it “the blur effect.” (This makes me wonder: Is there a “Vered effect”?)

 

To recap: Research studies show that listening to classical music:

… does *not* tie to IQ.

… does tie to other benefits.

Note: For the most part, these were not tested on babies but we can infer that some of the same benefits will affect babies as well.

 

So what’s the upside of listening to Mozart and the like?

 

  1. It’s calms us..

Listeners have benefited from lower blood pressure, lower stress levels and less depression, according to research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine (2000) and XYZ. (Add links/sources.)

 

  1. It makes us emotional. 

This one is a big one for us parents. If our focus is on attachment and on developing unauthentic and engaged relationship with our babies, perhaps listening to classical music can help us do that. So it’s worth looking at the results of this study, which showed that when listeners heard classical music in the background their writing was more emotionally vulnerable.

 

  1. It helps us fall asleep.

Before bedtime, classical music has been shown to encourage rest in a 2008 study on nursing students.

 

  1. It helps our memories.

College students were shown to remember their lecture material better when they listened to the lecture with classical music playing in the background, according to this 2012 study. Again, the problem here is that we don’t know how much the students would remember if they had listened to, say, my music.

 

  1. It improves concentration.

Both mood and concentration improved among radiologists of a 2009 study when they listened to Baroque music in their reading rooms.

 

But here’s the catch-

While the studies above found these results with Classical music, they did not control with other types of music.

This study did. They showed that listening to Classical music reduced stress after doing an arithmetic task more than silence or Jazz.

 

So should you be turning on Bach instead of Bieber to make your baby smarter? Or Vivaldi instead of Vered? There is not enough evidence to say.

But we do know this: Children who PLAY music have improved hearing sensitivity. 

Just last year, researchers published a study that showed that children who learned to play piano were much more able to detect the sounds of consonants, vowels and pitch. This makes sense because learning an instrument involves so many skills – note reading, understanding a language and translating it to our movements and to the mechanics of the instrument we are playing.

Classical music tends to have more complex chord progressions and chord structures so playing it develops this skill even more than other types of music.

 

So how do we make sense of this and put this all together?

The more you listen to classical music at home, the more you will be familiarizing your baby with this music, and the more your baby will grow to love it.

Eventually when they’re old enough to play an instrument they might even gravitate toward one of those pieces.

And PLAYING classical music is definitely beneficial.

 

Of course that doesn’t mean you should turn off your other types of music. Variety will only benefit your little maestros.

 

Here is a little playlist to get you started. Keep in mind that I have a soft spot for saddish piano pieces, lone cellos, and fast moving guitars.

 

So tell me – have you felt calmed/vulnerable/sleepy/focused after listening to classical music? Comment here if you’ve experienced the proven results of this musical genre firsthand.

 

Do you know a parent who’s on the fence about playing classical music for baby? Forward them this email for the science behind it all.