Category Archives: Rhythm

How to develop fine and gross motor movement

Dear Tunesters,

Today let’s talk about the best ways to get your baby moving and to develop their fine and gross motor movement.

My second kid was a physical child from day 1. From the minute he could roll over, he was on a mission to MOVE. My first wasn’t that way at all. He was quite content to sit in one spot and pull the Playmobil captain in and out of the boat. While my second was focused on developing his gross motor movement, my first was all about his fine motor movement. 

But guess what – they need both! And you know what the best way to get your baby moving both with their fingers and their body is? Can you guess what my answer will be?

Yup –  through songs. 

It’s a no brainer really. Think about yourself when you’re doing exercise or when you’re dancing. You’re probably a million times more motivated to move when Stevie Wonder is playing his harmonica.

This morning I was so UNmotivated to do my workout until I heard my latest favorite song. And then I was rearing to go.

Before we go into WHICH movement songs to do with your baby, let’s talk WHY.

 

Benefits of movement songs with your baby:

  1. Fine AND gross motor skills.
    You might just be favoring one depending on the gender of your baby.
    This study found that parents of male babies often encourage play that promotes more gross motor movement like walking, running and jumping and parents of female babies encourage fine motor movements like grasping and reaching. We want to do both!
  2. Increase cooperation.
    Moving together, to the rhythm of the song, teaches your baby that there is a sequence and that you both do it together. Meaning, your baby learns that there are social rules to the game. And that’s an important lesson!
  3. Hand eye coordination.
    Every time you do the Itsy Bitsy Spider or Flying Hands with your baby they’re learning how to control their movements
  4. Listening skills.
    You might not have considered this benefit but when you do movement and gesture songs with your baby you’re teaching them to listen closely and follow instructions. I know you want your baby to learn that 🙂

Ok so now let’s get some ideas for which songs to do and how:

Movement activities to do with your baby TODAY:

  1. Go on a Bikeride!
    This song and others like it such as Head Shoulders Knees and Toes or Rocking in the Boat encourage moving and stretching your baby which develop awareness of their body and increases their flexibility.
  2. Focus on Tummy Time!
    Tummy time has been shown to be so important for your baby’s gross motor movement and acquisition of sitting, standing and walking. To encourage your baby to stay longer in tummy time by making the floor more interesting, Try this song.
  3. Take an Airplane ride!
    If you’ve learned one thing from my posts it’s how much our babies mirror us. When your baby sees you being active physically, they will be too! Engage in songs in which you both move together, like Open Shut Them It or this Airplane song.
  4. Jump around!
    To encourage gross motor movement sing songs that involve big motions like jumping, running, and clapping. Another example is If You’re Happy and You Know it.
  5. Excercise those fingers! 
    Do songs that involve finger and hand control such as Flying Hands, Itsy Bitsy Spider and New Words.

 

Other ideas to encourage movement that don’t involve songs:

  1. Create an Indoor Obstacle Course.
    Put down an enticing spread of pillows and blankets for your baby to crawl in and out of. When they get older you can do obstacle courses in the field by saying something like – run to that pole, spin around it, then jump over that stick, clap three times…
  2. Outside Play.
    Going outside has been
    shown to increase your baby’s movements because they have more space. So get out there! To the park, to the playground, or just outside the door.

 

What movement songs do you do with your baby? Comment below and let me know!

 

Do you have a friend who’d like to help her baby start moving and grooving? Send them this post and tell them to sign up for more below.

 

 

My daughter wasn’t musical…here’s what happened

Dear Tunester,

Today we’re going to talk about whether your child can develop musical talent or if it’s hopless if they weren’t born with it.

My son came out of my belly singing. He could follow a tune by the time he was a year old. My second was the same and seemed to have a knack for rhythm. My daughter, however, was NOT. 

What?! We thought. How could it be that our child isn’t musical?! How will we harmonize on road trips?

But it was undeniable. When she sang it sounded sort of monotone, as if her voice was cutting corners and moving only slightly higher or lower from her speaking voice.

We wondered – could she hear the difference in notes but wasn’t putting in the effort to match them? Or maybe she couldn’t hear the contours of the melody and was singing what she heard?

Was she simply not born with the music gene? We hadn’t changed our behavior from one kid to the next as far as we knew. In fact, if anything, we sang even more because of the other two.

The question this week is this: Is musical talent innate or not? And – Can musical talent be learned? 

Many parents who don’t feel musical wonder about this question. I remember a couple in one of my classes saying – we’re not musical and can’t sing. Is it hopeless for our baby?

Let’s dive into the research and see what we can find. 

Is musical talent innate or can it be learned?

 

First of all, we’re ALL MUSICAL, especially your baby

Music is innate for ALL humans. We all respond to rhythm, melody,  and pitch and have always done so through history. Here’s how we know.

Research shows that infants are born with a wide range of musical capacities. For instance, they prefer listening to music that is harmonic rather than dissonant, they can recognize the omission of a downbeat in a simple rhythm, and they prefer bouncing to the rhythm of the song they are hearing rather than out of rhythm. They also have a memory for music that is stored long term.

 

What about musical talent? Is that innate too?

 

The short answer is yes. But that’s not the full answer. 

The growing consensus among scientists seems to be that people are born with varying degrees of musical sensitivity and proclivity. 

But that’s just the beginning. It all comes down to who STICKS with it.

It’s true that those who are born with a greater aptitude toward music may have an easier time learning how to play an instrument or how to sing. That ease and comfort may encourage them to continue.

But ALL kids can get to the same point if they put the work in. We now know how plastic the brain is. This study showed that with long term and repeated rehearsal of a musical instrument we can alter the brain’s gray matter.

Think of it like a marathon – imagine all kids standing at the start line. They are all about to run the same track. The kids born with musical sensitivity are given a head start. For them, playing an instrument will be easier at first. But throughout the race, some may drop out and some may persevere. And it doesn’t always have to do with musical talent. It may even be more related to GRIT (to learn more about that check out this post.)

 

So what is the biggest factor in my baby becoming musical?

The fact is, whether your baby learns and sticks with music largely depends on YOU. 

This study of 257 children showed that the successful music learners were the ones with musically involved parents. 

Why?  Because musical development is a result of genes interacting with environmental stimulation.

I’ve got the proof to go with all this. Let’s go back to my daughter.

We’ve been working hard with her. When I sing to her I accentuate the melody and her brothers sometimes do too. A few months ago we were singing You Are My Sunshine and she had the rhythm down but wasn’t matching the pitches of the melody.

When she didn’t make it to a note of the song I’d repeat that note with gusto a few times patiently letting her try it.  Eventually, she started catching on. And then she started singing full melodies on key!

The other day she sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow and was able to sing all the hard notes on her own.

It all came down to the fact that we kept rooting her on in the marathon, no matter where she started and how far she had to go.

Now, she can run on her own and she’s in line with all the other marathon runners.

 

So what should you do to give your baby the nurture to compliment their nature?

 

  1. Keep making music – singing, drumming, playing instruments together. The more you do it the more your baby will associate music with fun and togetherness and will start to develop that head start that the musically talented had.
  2. Listen to music – lots of it. In the car, at home, sing with it, dance to it. Let music be a part of your baby’s every fiber. And if you’re looking for easy to sing along to music, listen to mine

 

So how about you dear Tunie? Do you feel musical? Are you concerned that your baby might not end up musical if you aren’t? COMMENT below and let us know.

 

Do you have a friend who’s always been afraid to sing at the campfire and is now wondering about whether her baby will to? Send her this post and tell her to sign up for more Tuesday Tune ins.

A trip around the world through DRUMMING

Dear Tunester,

Today let’s take a trip around the world with your baby through DRUMMING.

When I was in my 20s I traveled to Cuba twice. The first time I went with my brother. With wide eyes we took in the polarities of Cuba. The culture was rich with music, food, architecture, energy, and at the same time ridden with poverty. The people had so much passion and joy and even the tiniest baby seemed born with their hips swaying in perfect time with the Cuban ryhthm.

A year later I went back intent on absorbing more of the music. I found a drumming teacher and together we struggled to teach my body how to hear and play the Cuban polyrhythms born out of the perfect marriage of African and Spanish music. I did as well as a “Gringa” could do and I certainly had the desire but it wasn’t in my blood like the kids born into it.

Today, dear Tunie, you may be fantasizing about getting on a plane and going somewhere exotic but this is the next best thing. Let’s take a trip to exotic countries rich with culture through DRUMMING.

Those who have taken my older classes know that Module 3 of Baby in Tune is all about learning music and rhythms from different parts of the world.

Why do a drum circle?

  1. It makes us feel in sync with each other and that is powerful!
  2. It helps us release energy – we all need that right now.
  3. It teaches your baby language!! The syncopation of rhythm teaches your baby patterns of speech.

Why use music from different places in the world?

 

To hold on to your baby’s edge

Your baby is actually much more attuned to rhythms than you. While you might have conditioned your ears to be adept at certain rhythms, the ones often used in your vutlreu. Your baby is born with the ability to discern all rhythms. Studies show that babies could detect changes made to a balkan beat when adults couldn’t. By continuing to expose them to rhythms from all over the world you are developing all parts of your baby’s rhythm hearing brain.

To Change it up!

As you listen to the playlist you’ll hear that each song has a different energy. Some sound festive, some ominous, some romantic, and some frenetic. Some might make you want to get up and dance and some will surely make you want to drum. Music is the best way to shift your energy when you’re at home with your baby.

To be Introduced to Other Cultures

We often introduce our babies to different cultures through food but music is often a portal to really feeling and understanding a culture. When we were on our road trip last year we would arrive at a place and immediately play songs that were created in that place. It helped us connect to the area. Playing music from different countries will complement the books you read from different cultures, the food you eat, etc.

 

To make this very easy for you, I’ve prepared a songlist for you to use.

All you have to do is grab these things:

  1. Drums if you have them.
  2. Boxes, pillows or other things to drum on.
  3. Shakers, maracas, other traditional instruments you might have.

Your baby’s reaction can give you so much insight into who they are and what excites them. 

As you play these songs and drum with your baby,  ask yourself these questions:

Which rhythms made your baby light up and become more alert?
Do they start to move their body? Jump? Sway?
Does it seem like they feel the rhythm in their body?
Which type of rhythm do they seem to respond to most?

Here’s your playlist! Let’s travel across the world!.

This playlist includes:

(Can you tell I have a soft spot for Cuban music?)

Ubukhto Bethu – South Africa
Dale al yale/rumbata – Cuba
Calypso/trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa – Trinidad and Tobago
Tal Nasukh/ Anindo Chaterjee – India
Danse De La Grande Case – West Africa
Cool Tabla – India
Cherokee Indian drumming – Cherokee, US
Taiko drums – Japan
Chinese Thunder Drums – China
Kaleidescope  – Brazi
Egyptian dumbek belly dance – Egypt
Bata Repertoire for Egungun – West Africa
Mambo (afro-cuban) – Cuba
Babalu ayeo / Jesus Alejandro – Cuba
Djembe Drums – West Africa
Konkoba – universal african dance and drum ensemble – America
Water come a me eye / Mark Davis – Jamaica
Ma teodora – Cuba
Pepe-didim, Pepe / Mustapha Tettey Addy – Ghana
Koy Drums of Haiti – Haiti
Abdul Khalil Ensemble – Egypt
Tillirkotissa – Greece
Apache Indian Drums – Sedona, US

For more on how to increase your baby’s language through drumming, check out this post.

 

Do you have a friend who is dying to travel but isn’t getting on a plane anytime soon? Send her this post and tell her to sign up for more Tuesday Tune Ins below.

 

How to increase language through DRUMMING

Dear Tunester,

Today you’re going to get a short lesson on drumming with your baby so you BOTH get smarter.

Studies show that when you engage in drumming with your baby, it helps them develop language!

The reason is that language is extremely rhythmic.

For instance, when we speak we syncopate words without even realizing it. Think of how you say “It’s fun to drum”. The rhythm goes – ba paa ba paa. There’s a short beat and then a longer one, and then another short beat and a longer one.

If you said it like a robot – ‘It’s fun to drum” ba ba ba ba, it wouldn’t be syncopated. But we naturally syncopate speech.

When you engage in rhythm with your baby they get a chance to practice this.

Another reason to do these exercises below? They’re soothing for your baby. Try these when your baby is feeling a little fussy. You might be surprised to find that your baby becomes alert and still while you’re drumming.

To do this exercise with your baby you don’t need to be a drummer or know how to play fancy rhythms. You really only need to know a few simple techniques that I’m about to teach you.

Short lesson in time signatures and syncopation:

(be sure to head to my Instagram page to see a video of all this illustrated.)

The rock beat rhythm

Most rock/pop/folk songs use the 4/4 time signature. 

4/4 means that the beat will go like this – 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4…

For instance, think of Bohemian Rhapsody. You can probably coun 1t,2,3,4 as you listen to it.

 

The lullaby rhythm

3/4 time signature is a waltz. It’s got a swinging feel to it. With this beat you would count to three each measure – 1,2,3, 1,2,3.

Think of the song Rockabye Baby. You can probably count along as you hear it – 1,2,3, 1,2,3

 

The beat in BETWEEN

All this means is the beat in between the numbers we mentioned above – 1 AND 2 AND 3 AND 4.

 

Most important – SYNCOPATION

Syncopation is when you accent the off beats. Or, stated another way, it’s when you leave out certain beats and accentuate others.

 

Let’s do it!

First – clap to a beat – 1, 2, 3, 4. Keep going…

Now as you’re clapping say 1, and 2, and 3, and 4. Keep going…

Now, clap ONLY on 1, and, 3, and.

Now clap ONLY on 1, and, 3, 4.

And now dear parents, keep playing with this. It’s all about experimenting with different rhythms and having fun. 

If you’d like some help and inspiration, come to a Baby inTune class! Spring classes are blooming. Check the schedule here.

 

As you know, the more you have fun with music the more your baby will too.

 

Do you have a friend who’s ready to take her baby’s language to the next level? Send her this blog and tell her to sign up for more Tuesday Tune Ins.

 

How did it go with your baby? COMMENT below and let me know.

6 fresh music activities to do with your baby

Dear Tunester,

today you’re going to get six fresh baby music activities. Let’s do this!

If someone asked you – 

How important is music in your day to day life with your baby, which of these would you answer?

  1. Its what gets me through the day.
  2. Once in a while I’ll put something on but I’m not a singer.
  3. I would love to do more, I just need to know how and what.
  4. Music? I totally forgot about that.

What was your answer? Email me and let me know!

Last year I put this survey out into the ether and 1368 parents answered it. I found out something amazing.

 

44% of you said its what gets you through the day!

WOW! (You can check out the graph at the end of the post to see the exact breakdown.)

I guess we’re on to something with Baby in Tune.

33% of you said you’d love to do more but need to know HOW and WHAT.

And that’s what I’m here for, my friend.

 

Today you’re going to get some new HOWs and WHATs to do with your baby. 

 

You may be stuck at home because of Covid or simply hiding from the cold. Whatever the reason, you probably need some fresh activities to do ASAP. So let’s do this.

 

6 fresh music activities to do with your baby TODAY:

 

Pre talkers:

Activity #1 – BODY LOVE

Touch your baby’s body parts and sing a simple song about them. You can use a melody that exists or come up with your own. Doesn’t have to win a Grammy!

For instance, if you want to use a melody that exists – for instance, to the tune of “This Land is Your Land,” – I love your belly, I love your nose, I love your eyes, I love your thighs…”

Make sure you touch and squeeze each part you’re singing about.

Want to see a Body Love song I just wrote with my daughter? Find it on my Instagram page.

 

Activity #2 – BABY LANGUAGE

Sing a song using only ta ta ta or ba ba ba. Use a melody from an existing song or make one up! Those of you who take my classes know that we always do a song like this after doing rhythm with the shakers.

As you sing this song, bounce your baby to the rhythm. You’ll see their delight in hearing their own sounds in sync with your rhythm.

 

Activity #3 – MODERN DANCER

Put on a song that you love and that makes you feel strong emotions. You know what I mean, that song from highschool or the one that always makes you cry a little, not because you’re sad, but because it brings out all the feels.

Lie down next to your baby and raise your arms and legs, and move them to the music so your baby can watch you. Imagine you’re a modern dancer in a show. Let your baby see your legs up, your feet rolling around, your hands in the air!

 

Talkers and Walkers:

 

Activity #1 – LEAVE THE BLANKS

Sing a song that your baby knows and leave out words every now and then for them to fill in. For instance – “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me ____”.

Or, even better, make up a song by switching off lines. Your baby sings a line they make up and then you sing a line. This will probably be easier for your baby to do than you think. Doesn’t have to be complicated! A two word line is all you need.

 

Activity #2 – ALVIN AILEY DANCER

Put on a fun song and move around as if you are an Alvin Ailey dancer. As my daughter says, think of it as “gymnastics and ballet put together.” Go wild! Let your body lead. And then – as your baby starts to pick up on it, let your baby lead.

Here’s some inspiration. I love this video of professional dancers following their baby’s lead.

 

Activity #3 – FREEZE DANCE

Who says we can only do this at parties? Make the party happen in your home! It’s so easy these days with music playing from our phones. Play a song your baby loves and teach them how to stop every time the music stops. Your baby will LOVE this. I guarantee it.

 

Let’s get back to the stats.

 

77% of you said that music is VERY IMPORTANT to your day to day life with your baby!

That’s great news. Now all you need to do is experiment with these baby music activities and keep the music flowing.

For even more ideas – come join us in class or check out our online class. You can also check out this post which has a bunch of other ideas.

Do you have a friend who’s pulling her hair out right about now and needs some fresh activity ideas to do with her baby? Send her this post and tell her to sign up for more.

12 Rhythm activities to do with your baby

Dear Tunester,

We’re in the thick of it. It feels like everyone we know has COVID, if the kids aren’t home they’ll be sent home within the hour, and we’re one Antigen away from a thin line on the T.

You know what we need? TO BANG IT OUT!!

 

This week our focus is RHYTHM.

 

Rhythm is extremely beneficial for your baby and you. Here are just some of the benefits:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Soothing
  3. Bonding

 

You intuitively knew that rhythm was good for soothing. It’s why you’ve been bouncing so much sometimes you even bounce when you’re not holding your baby.

 

You also might intuitively understand how drumming and rhythm can relieve stress. It’s not only a physical act that releases energy, it also demands that we use our body in a controlled way and organizes our system to focus on the moment.  

 

But did you know that it’s about connecting? Synchronous movement has been shown to increase the social responsiveness of babies. There’s an interesting study – 

 

Babies were held and bounced to a rhythm while looking at another adult. That adult bounced in the rhythm with some babies and out of rhythm with others.

The researchers found that the babies who’s rhythms were matched were more inclined to help the adults in tasks later on. Meaning, they had felt a connection that then translated to their behavior.

 

So now that we have three great reasons to do rhythm this week let’s get to it.

 

Rhythm activities to do at home 

 

Before I go and divide these into age groups, there is one rhythm activity that I recommend at every age, all the time, especially during the Witching Hour. You know what it is?

 

THE DANCE PARTY. I can’t stress enough how beneficial this is to all of you. So this week, ramp up the tunes and get dancing. I’ve got a Family Dance Party Playlist here.

 

Rhythm Activities for 0-8 Months

  1. Soothe to the Beat
    Be sure to bounce in the rhythm of the song you are singing or playing. It will increase your stamina and will be more effective. 
  2. Pat to the Beat
    Pat their bottom to the rhythm of the song you are singing. My babies loved this. You’re basically using their tushy as a drum. It’s soothing for them and fun for us.
  3. Move to the Beat
    Those who have taken my classes know that my favorite types of hand gesture songs for this age are those that involve touch and have your baby moving their body to the rhythm of the song. For instance, my song Bikeride includes moving your baby’s legs and arms to the rhythm. Your baby loves to be in sync to the rhythm and with YOU.
  4. Drum by the Ears
    Try this when your baby is feeling a bit fussy. As they lie on their back drum on both sides of their head. This gives them a sense of stereo rhythm which is soothing and will draw their attention. Make it interesting – add in some syncopation. You can use my song Galloping Horse for this one.

 

Rhythm Activities for 9-15 months

  1. Shake to the Beat
    Grab some shakers and shake a simple beat. Be sure to count – 1, 2, 3, 4. This not only teaches them counting but also teaches them a rhythm pattern. If you want to get fancy you can add a beat in between – 1, and, 2, and, 3, and, 4.
  2. Baby Patty Cake
    Clap twice and then hold out your hands for your baby to touch them. Repeat the sequence until your baby understands the pattern. You can sing something simple like – “I Love You” while you do it.
  3. Tap to the Beat
    Use anything around you – the floor, the table, your thighs. Do a consistent beat on your thighs and then move to the table with that beat, then move to the floor and then to the chair. Just keep moving around and changing sounds. You’ll see that your baby is fascinated.
  4. Call and Response 
    Make a simple sequence – drumming twice or three times on something, and wait for your baby to repeat your sequence. Do it again until your baby gets the game. Then let them lead you!

 

Rhythm Activities for 15-24

  1. The Homemade Drum Kit
    There are so many things in your home that can make a great sound when drummed on with sticks. For instance, cardboard boxes, pillows, Grab some sticks – a good idea is a wooden kitchen spoon. Put on some music 
  2. Jump to Count
    Jump on 1, then jump on 1,2 , then 1, 2, 3, etc until you reach 10. Then rest 🙂
  3. Call and Response
    Make a simple sequence drumming on drums or the table. It can be slightly syncopated. See if your baby can repeat it. Then let your baby lead you!
  4. Syllables for Rhythm
    Say the words Apple and clap to each syllable. A-Pple A-Pple. Now sing Watermelon in double time. Wa-Ter-Me-Lon. Keep going back and forth between the two (I’ll be demonstrating this on Instagram this week.)

That’s it for today dear Tunie. I hope you get some rhythm going in your home tonight. We all need to feel less stressed, more soothed, and more connected. Rhythm is a surefire way to get there.

 

For more musical activities to do with your kids to get through quarantine click here.

 

Do you have a friend who could use these ideas ASAP? Send her this post and tell her to sign up for more helpful tips each week.

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

3 Holiday Music Activities to do With Your Baby

Dear Tunester,

 

Today I’m going to give you 3 holiday music activities to do with your baby including a brand new ditty and a holiday playlist! Let’s do this.

 

When you look back on your favorite holiday memories, what was going on? Where were you? Were you eating? What were you doing? Who were you with? 

 

When we ask this question in class we often get the same answer. You tell us that many of the memories revolve around MUSIC – Listening in the kitchen, singing in church or around the tree, dancing at a holiday party, or pulling out the ol’ Christmas CDs.

 

Here’s why – music brings us TOGETHER. The rhythm makes us feel in sync with each other and melody makes us feel emotionally aligned. 

 

Those who have taken our classes know that we use both of these elements, rhythm and melody, in order to soothe your baby.

 

Now that YOU are the parents you are also the tradition makers for your kids. It’s your job to bring in the music and singing that will stay in your kids’ memories and make the holiday season memorable.

 

Ok so now let’s get to it.

 

3 Holiday Music Activities To Do With Your Baby

 

Try this little ditty

When my babies were babies, I didn’t sleep either. Not one of them were good sleepers. But somehow no matter how crappy the night went, by morning, I forgave them completely (my song Forgive is all about that.)


I remember the feeling of going to get them from the crib in the morning. It kind of felt like I was a kid runing to discover a present. And I realized that every day felt a little bit like Christmas morning. 

 

I wrote this little ditty for you this holiday season. I hope you and your baby love it.


Make a Christmas tune your own.

We’ve all heard songs like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer so many times we barely register them playing in CVS. That’s exactly why they’re a great melody to use for your holiday ditties at home. 

 

This season, see if you can take some of those melodies and make them your own. This will not only be fun but I assure you it will also help your baby be more cooperative. 

 

For starters, let’s try the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Because it is a repetitive melody, it’s perfect for swapping in your own words. Here’s an example of what I mean:

 

Now let’s go and change your diaper

Now let’s go and change your diaper

Now let’s go and change your diaper

And you’ll be so clean.

Or – cus you’re stinky but sweet. Or whatever!

 

Or to the tune of Jingle Bells:

Time for bath 

Time for bath

Let’s get in the tub

Let’s take off your dirty clothes

And give you a good scrub

 

Most important – Unleash your silly side!

 

It’s Time to Dance!

You know I love introducing you to the Kindie music out there that you may not know and that I really believe you’ll love. AND I believe wholeheartedly that dancing can get you through your toughest moments with your baby.

 

So here’s a playlist of songs I love for this season. I’m imagining you putting it on and dancing around the house  with your babe. The image is making me smile 🙂 

 

(I’m also imagining you a minute later with a fussy baby that won’t go to sleep. I know. There’s no perfect.)

You can find the playlist HERE.

 

So dear twinkly Tunesters, let’s start filling your home with some music this season. Let’s start making traditions your baby will remember forever.

 

Do you have a friend with a baby who needs some ideas for how to bring music into their home? Send them this post. Tell them to sign up for more.

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

The Utimate Fussy Baby Playlist

Dear Tunester,

It’s the witching hour. You’re so tired you’re practically bumbing into walls, your baby is fussy even though you’ve gone through the “what could be wrong?” checklist and can’t find a reason, you’re watching the door just waiting for relief to step in so you can STEP AWAY.

 

And your baby is still FUSSY.

 

I can’t come to your home and give you relief but I can help in another way. This week I’d like to give you a playlist for exactly those moments. With winter on its way, you might be spending a lot more time indoors, which means you could have more of these.

 

The playlist that will not only be enjoyable to listen to but will actually HELP you soothe.

 

When I was in your shoes I wanted someone to just do things for me – wash the bottles, make dinner, call the electrician, so that I could focus on my baby (and resting.)

 

So I’ve done it for you. I’ve made the playlist that hopefully will save you during the witching hour which always gets so much worse as it gets colder outside.

 

The musical process of soothing a baby

 

This playlist is going to take you from rhythm, to reggae, to vocals, to guitar, to soft piano, and hopefully to sleep.

 

When I was recording Soothing on Hello My Baby I remember my producer saying – are you sure you want it to be this fast if it’s a soothing song? 

 

But he didn’t have kids. He didn’t know that when we soothe we bounce fairly quickly. And having a good bouncy beat to do that to is key.

 

So here’s your musical journey. Feel free to comment below and let me know which songs to take out or which you’d like me to add. This is a work in progress.

 

The Fussy Baby Playlist:

Click here to go straight to your playlist.

  1. Your playlist starts with “Cry To Me”, a mid tempo swinging song that hopefully reminds you of Dirty Dancing and makes your hips sway as you bounce your baby around the house.
  2. Babies love Reggae. It has to do with the accentuated upbeat. Think 1, and, 2, and, 3, and, 4 . Rock songs put the stress on the downbeats (1,2,3,4). Reggae stresses the AND which adds bounce. The second song on this playlist is one of the sweetest reggae songs out there by Marley the king – “Three Little Birds“.
  3. I’m in a Taylor Swift mood. Aren’t we all these days? The third song is called “You Need to Calm Down“. Its got a groove with a tempo that takes it down a bit from the songs before.
  4. Parents often tell me that their baby listens closely to the voices of other babies on my song “Ah Ah“. It’s also got an upbeat tempo that is still good for dancing/bouncing.
  5. The next song is “New Soul“. In case your baby hasn’t calmed yet I’m hoping this one will remind you how new your baby is to the world and how much they have to work to get used to it. That could make anybody fussy!
  6. We transition to taking it down a bit with the guitar of Paul Simon on “St. Judy’s Comet“. It’s a beautiful lullaby with a medium tempo. Paul Simon has a way of begging his kid to sleep that makes you feel like you’re not alone.
  7. Babies love to hear our voice. At this point in the playlist I transition you both to songs that are vocals heavy. “Mr. Sandman” is the perfect blend of bounce and harmonious vocals.
  8. My “Soothing” song to start bringing it home.
  9. You Were Born” is one of those gorgeous timeless songs that takes you somewhere else. I hope that at this point your baby’s eyes are starting to droop and you have a chance to sit and reflect. You’re doing great, mama and papa.
  10. In case your baby needs more voice, more love, and gentleness here’s my friend Frances England making her magic with “Little By Little”.
  11. Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” is the lullaby of all lullabies. Is your baby calm yet? I hope so.
  12. To help your baby drift off with a slight smile at the corners of their mouth and make you both feel like you’re falling into a cloud, here’s my friend Kira Willey with “How to Be a Cloud.”
  13. For good measure I added my “Sleep” song here.

Click here to go straight to your playlist.

 

Need another excellent tip on how to get through the Witching Hour? Click here.

 

So how did it go? Did the playlist work? Let me know which songs did and which didn’t. COMMENT below.

 

And most importantly, if you have a friend who is heading into winter with their little baby and you want to send them some help during fussy moments, share this post with them.

 

And tell them to sign up for more just like this by adding their name to the list.

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

A surprising way to socialize your baby

Dear Tunester,

 

Are you feeling like a turtle coming out of your isolated shell these days? Although we’ve been waiting for the world to open back up for a year now, peeking our heads out into the social world may not be as easy as we thought.

 

And what about your baby?

 

During this past year so many of you have wondered what effect social distancing will have on your baby’s social development (here’s a a post I wrote in answer to that question.)

 

Now that we’re heading out into the world a bit more, you may be wondering: How is my baby going to take it? Will they be overwhelmed? Excited? Scared?

 

Today’s blog is all about  a surprising way to get your baby back into the social groove. 

 

It all comes down to being in SYNC.

 

A fascinating study found when babies felt in sync with someone else it predicted social behavior like helping someone else having trouble.

 

Sound interesting? Here’s the experiment in the study:

 

Researcher A holds a baby (about 1 year old) in a carrier facing outward and dances to the rhythm of the music on the speakers. Researcher B stands in front of the baby. With some of the babies she bounces to the rhythm of the music, and with others she dances a bit faster or slower. 

 

After the dancing researcher B goes to play with the baby.

What happens next is the surprising part – 

 

During the play she drops something and pretends she can’t reach it. The babies who she had bounced in sync with were much more likely to help her and pick up the item she dropped.

 

What? Why? How does the dancing affect social behavior?

 

It turns out that being in sync with others rhythmically creates BONDS. It affects our attachment.

 

Wow! This is big news!

 

Being social, helping someone, feeling connected to someone, is not just a function of personality and experience, rather of FEELING IN SYNC with them.

 

This is good news for COVID babies.

 

After a year of feeling like your baby may not know how to connect with others – grandparents, friends, peers, teachers, here is a simple way to make it happen!

 

Not only that, this reserach study shows that being a good dancer helped with survival. Our prehistoric ancestors who could dance well with others and be in sync with them had an evolutionary advantage. Dancing helped them bond and communicate which made them more likely to be helped by the community. Which is why we’ve developed into a sprecies of good dancers (some better than others)

 

So dear parents, first of all, relax. Your baby is going socialize. In fact, they haven’t missed a beat 🙂

 

In addition, here are some ways you can use this info to step up the beat and inspire your baby’s connection with others:

 

1. Dance with the grandparents!

Your baby may have never met their grandparents in person. What better way to get them in sync and socialize through movement and not just through words and facial expressions than with dancing? Get that dance party started! The grandparents may appreciate it too.

 

2. Ramp up your mirroring!

Are you feeling out of sync with your baby? We all get consumed by work, family, friends, politics, or just scrolling sometimes. Next time you pick up your head and notice you’ve been on your own island try this out. Mirror your baby’s movements. Do what they do. Maybe turn on music to make it even more enjoyable. See if you both start to feel more in sync with each other.

 

3. Come to a Baby in Tune class!

We are about to start OUTDOOR IN-PERSON classes!!!! In NY that is. It’s the perfect place to dance and sing with other babies and feel a whole lot of in sync with each other.

Check out website to see the schedule. And if YOU’D like to host a class in your outdoor space, let us know! You’ll get the class for free.


You’re not in NY? No worries! I’m still doing remote classes. Come join us! Sing with us! Dance with us! Do our baby chat time. 

And today you can enter to win a full FREE semester. Go to my Instagram to find out how to enter.

 

As parents, we try so hard to teach our kids to be prosocial – to be kind, to help others. But the thing is, they are from the start.

All they need is to feel a little more in sync with each other so that they feel comfortable picking up someone’s toy when it falls down.

 

Are you taking baby steps to socialize your baby? COMMENT below and let us know what you’re doing.

 

Do you have a friend who needs to hear how easy it is to get your baby connecting with new friends? Send this to them!

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

This baby CRIES every time she hears this song ?

Dear Tunester,

Did you know that your tone of voice can have a direct impact on your baby’s emotional state?

I’m going to show you a video that illustrates this in a surprising way. But first, let’s talk TONE.

 

Tell me if this has ever happened to you – You meet someone new and something about the tone of their voice or the musicality of how they speak makes you feel uneasy. You find yourself clawing for an escape or an alibi.

 

Maybe you also have a distant aunt who yell/speaks in a high pitched voice about the rugellah? (Or maybe it’s just me?)

 

So what is tone? It’s the way the air flows through our vocal chords. It is the COLOR of our voice. And Intonation is the MELODY in our voice.

 

Our babies don’t speak our language yet, so all of the information they are getting is through our tone, intonation, and rhythm (the syncopation that naturally occurs in our words and sentences.)

 

Those of you who have taken Baby in Tune classes know that we spend quite a bit of time learning how to make your tone of voice more resonant and more soothing for your baby. 

 

We do this in a few ways:

  1. By taking deep breaths between phrases.
  2. By using the muscles at the bottom of our abdomen.
  3. By making the voice deeper and creating more vibration.
  4. By relaxing other parts of the body like shoulders, neck, hips.
  5. By letting the jaw fall open. 

 

Try this tonight: As you are singing your lullaby notice how your body feels. Try taking in deeper breaths from the bottom of your lungs, filling the sides as well. Relax your jaw, relax your shoulders. See if you feel a difference as you are singing. See if your body relaxes and if your baby calms more easily.

 

When we sing or speak without the support of our breath and abdomen we tend to feel tense, especially in our throat. And when that happens it doesn’t matter how many times we cycle through Twinkle Twinkle, our baby isn’t going to feel soothed.

 

There are research studies like this one or this one illustrating how babies listen closely and respond to tone. 

 

But I also had my three subjects at home. In this video you’ll see something surprising that happened with my daughter when she was two months old. 

 

It all began when I started singing a silly ditty I had made up:

 

“I could watch your eyebrows all day…”

 

I know. There’s a reason it never made it onto an album. But go with me because what happened next was the surprising part.

 

I started to sing an improvised melody with the vowel sounds Ah and Oo.

 

As she listened my daughter increasingly got VERY sad. She seemed to be responding directly to the shift in the music.

 

I wanted to be sure her mood shifts had to do with the music and not something else so I went back and forth between the eyebrow song and the haunting melody.

 

I was shocked to find that each time I sang the haunting melody my daughter’s lower lip jutted out, her eyes got red and wet, and her eyebrows went down. She was about to cry!

 

Elton John can only dream about such an attentive and responsive audience!

 

I was so intrigued by her response. Her mood seemed to shift as a result of the shift in the music:

 

So here’s what we can learn from this video and what I’m hoping you’ll take away from today’s post:

 

  1. Our babies are listening to our tone, melody, rhythm very closely.
  2. They are so sensitive to the EMOTION we convey in our tone.
  3. We can change our tone to make them feel more calm, more soothed and happier.
  4. Just as our baby is watching us closely, we can watch them closely and learn their preferences and behaviors.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the video. How do you interpret my daughter’s reactions? Obviously this is not a controlled science experiment so interpretation is up for grabs. Let me know!

 

Also, have you noticed your baby’s preferences for certain songs? Tone? Rhythm? Please COMMENT below and let me know.

 

Do you have a friend who would be interested in learning about how to make her tone, intonation and rhythm more soothing for her baby? Forward this post to her and tell her to join a Baby in Tune class ASAP!

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

The ultimate family road trip playlist

Guys, summer is finally here. And although Rona might not be going anywhere anytime soon, it’s time for us to move around a bit and get out there and explore. Safely, physically distanced, of course.

Grab your map and sunglasses, or rather your Waze, Cheddar Bunnies, apple slices, water bottle, sunscreen, lovey, paci, books, mask, and a whole lotta patience, and let’s do this.

In our family we torture our kids by making them sit in the car without any screens whatsoever. Can you imagine those poor tender youthlings with nothing to do but stare out the window?

I know. It’s modern day torture.

But gosh darnit the car is our time to sing together, listen together, learn and explore, and I’m not about to give that up.

So this week I’m solving for one part of your car ride equation. Behold the ultimate family road trip playlist.

It’s got Kindie, grown up, mine, and anything that I think feels like the top down and the wind in our hair.

Before you go ahead and listen, or maybe even while you listen, here is a quick recap of what you’ll find.

 

1.Movin’ Right Along from The Muppet Movie

When I was about 6 my parents took us on a road trip. I think we listened to the Muppet Movie Soundtrack 1,257 times. This song was our fave. There was no way I was about to do a road trip playlist without it.

 

2. Through the Woods by the Okee Dokee Brothers

These guys are the explorers of the Kindie (kid indie) scene. They explore nature like I explore family dynamics. Each of their albums takes you to a different nature landscape. And they’ve got a great vibe too. You might recognize Justin Lansing’s voice from my song More of a Baby.

 

3. Lovely Day by Bill Withers.

Something about Bill Withers has always touched me to the core. His effortless voice, no frills singing, and good vibe yet profound songs.

 

4. Unhurried Journey by Elena Moon Park 

Elena was once a part of Dan Zane’s kids band before she went off to do her own thing. It’s a good thing she did because her music is beautiful. This is from her new album and Elizabeth Mitchell joins her on this title track.

 

5. It’s My Mother and My Father and My Sister and My Dog by Barry Louis Polisar

You probably know Barry from the song All I Want is You on the Juno Soundtrack. But besides writing a kick ass movie title track he is also a kindie pioneer and this song is pretty entertaining.

 

6. Coniferous Trees by Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly

I’ve told y’all about this album before. I love it. It’s all about trees and its done so tastefully with humor, educational details, and beautiful melodies and production by Dean Jones. I particularly love this one. It’s like we are in the studio with them as they sing it.

 

7. You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Micheal Buble

Obviously this is a Randy Newman song and we all know and love it from Toy Story. But I felt compelled to add this version. Michael Buble is just so ridiculously perfect in his vocals. As much as I try to hate him, I really do love him. He always sounds easy going and upbeat and his singing makes me smile.

 

8. Rosie Darling by Joanie Leeds

If you make it all the way to the end without a bathroom accident, trantrum, fight with partner, or wrong turn I want to hear about it. I’ll send you a Vered shirt. Seriously. But if you do you’ll make it to this lovely song by my friend Joanie Leeds. This is from her new album produced by friend Lucy Kalantari.

So let’s do this. Let’s pile into the car, even if just to head from one side of town to the other, and play some tunes that will inspire, tickle, move, and groove.

 

HAPPY SUMMER!!

  

What are your favorite road trip tunes? Please share them below.

  

Do you know someone in need of a good road trip playlist? Share this with them and they will be forever grateful. And tell them to sign up for future Tune Ins too.

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

How to talk to your kids about race? Start with a song

Dear Tunester,

It’s been a week to end all weeks. I know we all feel raw, emotional, fragile, and scared. For ourselves. For our children. For the future. But I can feel change on the horizon. Can’t you? It keeps my hope alive.

 

It’s taken a lot to shake our country to its core: a pandemic that sent us into our homes indefinitely, caused financial insecurity for so many, and disproportionately affected the black community. And on top of that, another tragic, unnecessary death of a black American. 

 

We don’t have our regular trips to the market, days at work or pick-ups from daycare, to distract us from what is bubbling up in our country and in ourselves. And we get it (most of us). We feel it deeply.

 

This country needs to change NOW.

 

In today’s post I’m not going to give you a list of books for kids, or ways to educate yours. I know you can find that stuff elsewhere and you should.

 

What I can offer you is a new song to help you open the conversation with your kids.

 

It wasn’t easy to write it. It’s not perfect. But we’re all learning how to talk about this, how to understand the experience of our black neighbors, and most of all: how to take action.

 

The other day I opened the topic of race with my 11 year old. He said “I’m afraid to talk about it with friends because I’m scared I’ll say something racist.” 

 

Oh man. That hit me hard. Not just because it is sad to hear that he doesn’t feel he can talk about it but because I identified. I know he is expressing what so many of us feel all the time:  What’s the right thing to say to be supportive but not accidentally offend?

 

A couple of days later he told me a story I had never heard: a few years earlier he had said the “N” word at school. He didn’t know what it meant and was using it out of context. I’m not sure where he had even heard it to begin with. His teacher immediately reacted, brought the vice principal who spoke to the whole class about the matter. My son understood the gravity of it. He also felt ashamed to the point where he didn’t even tell me about it later.

 

So there you have point A leading to point B. 

 

Here’s a kid who was curious, did not harbor judgment, and was misinformed. Immediately, due to the systemic issues in our country he got the feeling that he should never broach the topic.

 

My son did not set out to discriminate. He was aware of our family value and the school value of acceptance. He just didn’t know the word or how loaded it was.

 

I wonder now if the school could have handled it differently, opening the conversation, gently telling a child what words are offensive, and welcoming curiosity and questions about difference.

 

That’s our job with our kids. Let’s teach them non-judgment and encourage curiosity. Let’s teach them words and phrases that might be offensive. And let’s teach them to ask their black neighbor if what they said is offensive in any way. 

 

That’s actually what I did yesterday after I wrote the song. I called a black friend and asked her to listen. I asked her if anything was triggering. I had never done that before about a song I wrote and I felt that was a big step in the right direction for me. 

 

So that’s what I mean when I say change is on the horizon. I find it very encouraging. But we need to go through lots of growing pains before we get there.

 

 

So how have you broached the topic with your kids? Please comment below and let us know. We all need some support on this.

 

Do you have a friend who could use a song to illustrate the predicament we are in? Send them the Tuesday Tune In and tell them to sign up below so they’ll get the next one too.

6 Activity ideas for quarantine with a baby

Dear Tunester.

Do you have a baby 0-12 months old right now and are thinking—what the F**k? And HELPPP?

 

I mean, it’s hard enough to have kids of any age during this time. Mine won’t let me finish a thought without coming in to ask me to cut a rainbow, make a sandwich, play a game, or just to whine. 

 

Parenting during the Corona virus FEELS like that period of having a newborn for most of us. But you all actually HAVE one.

 

Which means, on top of  dealing with the insane reality we’re living in and being cooped up inside, you are just trying to figure out how to get through the day with no sleep, and a creature who needs tending to 24/7. 

 

So Tunie, I can’t do your laundry or babysit right now, but I can give you some ideas on what to do with your baby to feel more connected, more at ease, and help  you better speak your baby’s language. 

 

These 6 little gems will help you fill your day with giggles and restful naps. You might remember them from the Baby in Tune class. If you have taken it, use this as a refresher to help during those trying  days. 

 

1. The Mirroring Technique – Mirror your baby’s vocal sounds. Our babies register when we speak THEIR language. You can do this with older babies using instruments or vocals. This is the building block of connecting to your baby, making them feel heard and understood. If you’ve taken the class you remember how this technique can spur on a full back and forth conversation. In fact, this is usually the activity that gets dads feeling like – “yeah! we can hang!”

 

2. Passively Present Play – It takes focus to truly let your baby take the lead. Put aside your thinking self and join your baby with your sensing self. Try the exercise we did in class at home for at least 3 minutes each day. Get on the floor in the position your baby is in. Let your baby teach you how to be fully present and explore like a scientist.

 

3. Hand Gesture Songs – Your baby LOVES hand gesture songs. Remember the three types we talked about? 1. Just using hands, 2. Using hands + body, and 3. Using full body. Try these different types this week. Which ones does your baby like? (need a list? Email me.)

 

4. Rhythm Play – In our class we use rhythm in various ways. For this exercise, pat by their ears so they feel and hear the rhythm in stereo, and see if your baby becomes more alert or calm. Babies LOVE rhythm. Use the songs we did in class to drum on the rug or on pots and pans. Use dynamics (loud, soft, slow, fast), to keep your baby engaged.

 

5. The Songwriting Method – If you’ve taken a Baby in Tune class, hopefully you left feeling like anyone can write a good ditty, even the sleep-deprived parent. In fact, only you can write the PERFECT song for your baby. Using the steps we use in class it takes less than 5 minutes to write a whole song. Try to write your own each day. Go silly, go nonsensical, go poopy and pee-pee if you must. And when you remember the song you wrote the next day, that’s your hit.

 

6. Dance Party – Your baby loves to be in SYNC. And so do we! Dance parties are the perfect way. The best time to do it? Right when you can’t take it any longer. When you’ve been pushed to your limits and can’t change another diaper, bounce, shush, or sway for another second. Yup – around 5:00pm. Need a playlist? Here is mine.

 

Here’s the thing. Caring for a baby, especially right now when you can’t leave the house, is draining. It’s ok to sometimes feel angry at your baby for needing SO MUCH. It’s ok to not feel in love with your baby all the time and need some time alone. 

 

Activities like these can help us feel more in tune with our baby, and more attuned to our baby. When we start speaking our baby’s language through music, we start to understand our baby’s needs a whole lot more.

 

And that leads to more sleep, more peace, more joy, more snuggles, more smiles, more cooing, and less crying.

 

You know – that moment when you are both gazing into each other’s eyes and suddenly who cares if they woke you up every hour and a half? Connecting means shedding some of those indoor blues that we are all feeling right now.

 

And before doing these activities, try our “Three Breaths Technique” to bring you fully into the moment. Take in a breath and on every exhale think of something you are grateful for.

 

So let’s do this. Put the laundry pile aside, forget about the apple sauce crusted on the floor, put your phone in another room, and just be with your baby.

 

 

Do you know a parent of a baby who can’t sing Twinkle Twinkle one more time and needs some SOS activity help right NOW? Send them this.

 

AND – guys, I’ve got a big surprise coming to you THIS WEEK. Stay tuned.

 

COMMENT and let me know what your baby’s favorite activities are.

 

 
 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

6 Original Quarantine Music Activities

“Hello, 911? Yes it’s an emergency. My kids and I are stuck inside the house. I’m about to lose my sh*t.
Why yes, I’d love some Emergency Music Entertainment ideas. Like, NOW? “

Let’s do this.

 

IDEA #1: The Human Piano

Set up pillows on the floor in a circle around your child. As you jump from pillow to pillow, sing a different note. Doesn’t matter if it is in one scale or not, aka in tune or on melody! Your baby will quickly catch on.

If your baby is not mobile yet she will watch with delight as you jump from one pillow to the next singing a song. If your kiddo is mobile, she will join your jumping immediately, no doubt.

Get jiggy with it. Challenge yourself to jump further and remember the note that is associated with each pillow. It just might entertain you as much as it will them!

Here’s some inspo to get you going. I love Bobby Mcferrin.

 

IDEA #2: Pots and pans band

Pull ‘em all out. Go ahead. This is not a time to worry about mess. We’ve got some entertainment to pull off here! Plus,  pots are pretty easy to put back once you’re done. Bring out the tupperware too while you’re at it.

And wooden spoons? Yep, them too. Do NOT take out the metal spoons because they’ll bust your ears and no one needs that.

Now, go nuts on your drums. Get tribal. Experiment with the sounds. Notice the different tones each pot and container has. And more than that, notice the sounds that different parts of the pot make. For instance, hitting the rim will sound different than hitting the side, or turning it over and hitting the bottom. Point this out to your child as you do it to help them learn.

The mere [not that chaotic] chaos of pots scattered around you both will be exciting for your baby.

Play like a Times Square subway master during rush hour. Bring down the house.

 

IDEA #3: Make up a song!

Here are two ways to try:

Body parts. This one is a no brainer. All of your kisses and squeezing of body parts lends itself to the lyrics already. In fact, you may have already written this one. But if not, go with a pattern. Say something about your baby’s thigh. Can be as simple as,“Here’s Jonah’s thigh!” Or “I can see your arm, it goes up and down.” And then go with it!

Do the same with all the other body parts you can think of. Bring in the limbs but also the smaller features like nose, ears, toes, etc.

Movement. I bet I can make a list of movements your baby likes to do: Run, jump, spin, crawl, roll, dance, squat and stand, sway upper body, and clap. Good list? Add your own and now let’s put them into a song. Doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better. “Lucy likes to run run run! Run run run! Run run run! Lucy likes to jump jump jump! Jump jump jump….” you get the idea. At a loss for a tune? Use a simple one you know, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

 

IDEA #4: Give the ball a voice

If you’ve taken our classes, you know that we love to play with balls in a musical way. We usually do it with the older babies, but musical ball play can work with all ages. In fact, today in class a mama said that her son’s first giggle came that day when she had thrown up a ball and caught it. He thought it was hysterical.

So what do you do? As you throw up a ball, make the sound effect of the ball. I have a feeling it is some sort of a high pitched “Whooooo!”
If you have different balls, you can make different sounds for each ball. And if your baby is older, you can pass it back and forth and both of you can make your sounds.

Ball play is so much more fun when the ball has a voice!

 

IDEA #5: Make up a dance

I admit it, I can’t help but be inspired by the Tic Toc dances teenagers are doing these days. So what do you do? Become the choreographer of your baby’s dreams.

Put on your favorite song and pretend you are a DJ on a cruise ship. Teach your baby the line dance of your favorite song. Make it up! Use the motions your baby knows how to do.

Hands up! Head bob! Tushie shake! Shoulder shimmy!
You know what? You and your baby may remember this dance forever and may just perform it at a family reunion in 25 years, ala Moira and David from Schitt’s Creek. (Google it. I promise it’s good.)

If you’ve got a baby, hold them as if they are your Frank Sinatra dancing across the room.

Got a toddler? Teach them your dance moves because YES, you DO think you can dance.

 

 

Two tricks to make this a success:

1-Dynamics
With all of these activities and all the musical activities you do with your baby, there is one important trick. Dynamics.
Dynamics can make the difference between your baby losing interest in a second and staying with you throughout.

If you’ve taken our classes you know we use dynamics all the time. What does it mean?

Sing loud, and then soft.
Go fast, and then slow.
Sing with a silly voice, and then your own voice.
Sing high, sing low.

 

2-Rhythm
Every time I do this in class, it astounds me how well it works. When your baby starts to lose interest, or the music becomes overwhelming, (or heck, you just need a breather!), come back to a steady rhythm. Patting on your thighs is sufficient. Bring it back to consistency. It works.

Hey, J-Lo and Shakira are two mamas who recently proved that in a major way.

 

So, did these ideas help you Tune in to a toddler about to combust? Or to a baby about to blow? COMMENT below and let me know.

Do you have any of your own musical fun ideas to get the wiggles out when you’re stuck indoors? Save a fellow parent in need and let us know below!

Most importantly – send this to that friend at home with a baby that you love best. Because sharing is caring.

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

4 secrets to enjoying songtime at home

Hi in-tune parents, 

 

Today, I’m going to let you in on some behind-the-scenes secrets – the things I do to make my music classes more enjoyable I’m hoping that you can use the same techniques with your babies when you play music with them. 

 

Being the leader requires extra energy and confidence. 

 

You know this is true when your babies look to you as an activity/meal leader. The same is true for leading them in how to engage with music

 

As you can imagine, some days I wake up in the morning and don’t feel like teaching classes. I would prefer to stay in my pajamas and be alone. Teaching takes a certain amount of energy and a comfort with being a focal point. It means I need to feel pretty good with myself when I do it. 

 

At this point, I’ve cultivated some tricks to help me get to where I need to be in class so that it is enjoyable for the parents and babies and for me. Invariably, even if I am not able to fully get there BEFORE class, I always leave feeling energized and gratified AFTER class. I consider myself very lucky in that regard.

 

So here we go. They are for teaching but I think you can use them with your baby, too:

 

4 Ways to Lead Musically

  1. Sing from the heart. 

I’ve found that when I dial in the singing in class (or anywhere really) you all don’t feel it and neither do I. But when I take deep breaths while I sing, put a slight smile on my face, and imagine that what I am singing is touching each one of you, I start to feel more grounded. 

So with your kid – fake it till you make it. Even if you are not enjoying playing music together at first, if you take deep breaths and put a smile on your face, eventually you will. Promise.

 

  1. Encourage your child to sing and play music from the heart. 

Once they’re old enough to know the difference between dialing it in and being invested, it really matters. . A big part of my job is making sure that not only I am I singing from the heart, but that YOU all are connecting to your voice, as well. I do this by leading you in deep breaths, choosing a song that I feel would help us connect at that moment, and taking a pause when needed. Often the pause is for myself, so that I can really bring my energy as I am asking you to bring yours. 

 

When we all sing together from a present and grounded place, we all feel it. In those moments, I imagine our voices swirling together in the middle of the circle.

Similarly, when we are drumming together I need to take a moment to ask you all to be fully present. When we can do that together, our music is more cohesive; we enjoy it so much more; and hour babies seem to feel it, too. I hope you’ll feel this way with your unified families’ voices, too. 

 

  1. Take Three Grateful Breaths. 

If you’ve taken classes with me before, you know that in most classes I have us take 3 Grateful Breaths. (I talked about this in one of my blog posts.  Click here to read what I’m talking about.) On every breath out, we think of something we are grateful for.

For me, I often think of music, my hearing so that I can hear all the baby sounds, the freedom to do what I love, and a thousand other things that come to mind in the moment. Try it before you sing with your child and see what comes to mind. It might surprise – and delight – you. 

 

  1. Open up with your child to fully connect. 

I can do these classes by sharing the material and curriculum. That would work and you’d probably get something out of it. But for my own sake, I love to connect with you all personally, too. I tend to have parents in my groups who are authentic, smart, funny, creative, and compassionate (I’m looking at you!).  I always feel very connected to the babies but even more than that to you all. I feel excited to see you, hear about your challenges and your joys of the week.

When you’re singing with your child, check in with them. See what’s making them feel good or feel bad. This connection will only enrich your musical moments together.

 

So yes, you need energy to lead songtime.

But, by doing the 4 things above, leading songtime can also connecting, energizing and incredibly enjoyable.

 

As you can see, it’s not too hard to find ways to make it enjoyable to teach my classes. It really has everything to do with you all. So thank you for singing from the heart, being present, taking in deep breaths, and connecting to me as I do to you. Since you’ve done it firsthand, I know you’ll have an easy time leading your own music sessions with your little singers. 

 

Do you have any rituals you do for songtime with your child? Stretching your bodies or warming up your voices? Comment below and I might just borrow it to use in my classes.

 

Have a friend who wants to sing more with his/her baby? Forward them this post and be their biggest cheerleader.  And then tell them to sign up below.

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

How to get through the Winter Witching Hour

Here it comes you guys – Winter is on its way. Evenings are getting darker and that means a lot more time at home with our babies. 

 

Let’s stay calm. We can get through this. 

 

Honestly, if it were just less sunlight on it’s own, then we could deal. But it feels like the last straw on top of already:

  • being bored out of your mind around 5pm 
  • Not sleeping and being basically half a human
  • Feeling your hormones rage high and low.
  • Watching your identity change completely from who you thought you once were

 

Sound familiar? 

 

And the worst side effect to having a baby in the winter? Watching that door like a hawk waiting for your partner to come home.  When I first realized I was doing that I was mortified. Where was the independent, creative, self-motivated, resourceful woman? What had become of me??

 

So how do we get through this? Just. Start. Dancing.

 

It might sound crazy that I think we can solve all of those things above by putting on a song and moving around. But you’re going to have to trust me on this one. 

 

I promise it’s easy. Find a song that you love dancing to. It doesn’t matter how embarrassing it is or how old it is or how uncool it is. It just has to be the song that gets you excited to move. Since you’re reading this now (before that 5pm low), think of what your song might be and put it in a playlist. Maybe even put three songs in that playlist. 

 

When the sun starts to set, scoop your baby up; put that song on; and go to town. Put all the tasks aside and just let your body move to the beat. 

 

Why exactly will dancing cure our woes?

  1. Music is an endorphin. It actually makes us happy. I know that you’ve experienced this in the past so I don’t need to elaborate. 

 

  1. Moving to the beat gets us out of our heads and into our body. And that gets us into the present moment. It alleviates spiraling into that go-to internal dialogue: “This sucks.” “I’m tired.” “Who am I?” “Where is he?” “What do I do?” “I’m SO tired…”

 

  1. Dancing is a workout. As you know, moving our body – even a little bit strenuously –  energizes us in the long run. It reduces stress and releases endorphins and physical tension.

 

  1. Dancing with our baby brings us in sync with each other. Babies love to dance and move to a rhythm. In fact, they do it on their own from a very early age. When we move them with us to the rhythm of the music, we are sinking up our breathing and our mood, all while holding them close. It’s the closest simulation of the womb. 

 

  1. A dance party is like a reset to your evening. Just try it. You’ll see that that mood that you were feeling a minute ago dissipates into nothing. You might even feel a moment of Celebration. You’ve got a lot to celebrate: You got through the day! 

 

So what’s your favorite dance-party song? The only thing we need to do now is share with each other and the longer our list, the better off we’ll be in that dark when we’re watching the door like a Stepford Wife waiting for her partner to save us. 

 

Instead, let’s save ourselves!

 

Comment below with your jam. Let’s make a “It’s 5pm and winter” playlist that’s 100 songs long. 

 

Have a friend who texts you around 5pm each day? They need this, too. Forward it to them now and have a long-distance dance party.

 

Tell them to sign up here for more words of wisdom:

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

What’s so good about music, anyway?

Dear tuned-in parents,

As you know, I’m sold on music as a way to communicate with our babies.

Let’s say I’m a 10 out 10.

This Tuesday Tune-in is for any of you who are floating around a 6 out of 10.

Basically this is for those of you who are saying: “I feel like my baby responds to music but how can I be sure that it is the most effective way to soothe, play, enrich, and communicate with my baby?”

Today, I want to break it down so you can see why I’m a 10 out of 10 all the way.

Let’s start with the research. If you know me, you know that my background in psychology makes me quite the research lover/nerd.

Studies show babies who hear music respond to it, notice its patterns, prefer to be in sync with it, like it more than spoken words, sleep better with it, feel soothed by it and increase their language development.

Now, don’t just take my word for it. Read on to see what happened when these studies were performed…

 

1. Babies respond to music even before they are born.

While you were pregnant, you may have read some blogs telling you to put music headphones on your belly because your baby was listening. How do they know that? Because studies like this one in 2013 have shown that little ones remember the music that was played for them in utero.

Their responses were shown through heightened alertness, lower heart rate and fewer movements when they heard the music again.

 

2. Musical patterns and changes can be detected by babies.

This study is so cool. Our babies are little maestors.

Neuro research has shown that newborns could detect when a downbeat was missing from a drum pattern. You can see this by the change in brain activity during this 2009 study.

It means that babies possess a cognitive skill called beat induction, a uniquely human trait that allows us to detect and follow rhythmic patterns.

 

3. It’s not just adults that like moving to the rhythm.

You can dance, but you wonder – can your baby?

You’ve seen her kicking her legs and you could have sworn it was to the beat. Well it turns out it was.

A 2014 study shows that our babies are listening closely to the music around them and that they have a preference for being in sync with what they hear.

Not only that, they can MODIFY their movements according to the beat. WOW!

Another take away from this one-  Your baby prefers to be in sync with the external rhythm. So when you are bouncing your baby, she prefers you to bounce to the rhythm of a song .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Mama, dada: Don’t say it. Sing it.

Ever feel like your infant listens longer when you sing to her instead of speak to her?  This 2017 study proves you’re right.

It was performed with 6 to 10-month-olds and speculated that the reason might be that song holds more emotion and babies are aware of that.

I’d add that babies prefer to hear the voices that they heard in utero, which are yours.

 

4. Music helps babies sleep.

Preemie babies in the NICU who are given music interventions have been found to sleep better, according to this 2016 study.

 

5. Babies feel soothed by music.

I don’t have to tell you that this is significant. This is what we spend much of our days doing in different ways: Soothing baby.

This 2003 study shows that a mother’s singing to her babies has the power to regulate her babies emotions – to calm and soothe them.

 

6. Music makes us – babies and parents – happier.

This happens through the release of endorphins, both for the baby and us.

 

7. Playing & interacting with music improves language development.

Finally, studies like this 2012 one show that babies’ brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk.

(And I know of a pretty great music lesson for babies you might want to try 🙂

 

So let’s recap.

  1. Our babies are born with a sensitivity to music. You could even say that music is innate. This is a uniquely human quality.
  2. Our babies can and prefer to be in sync with the music they hear. You could say but our babies are born with an ability and a love to dance to music.
  3. Our babies prefer hearing us sing rather than speak. This is matters If you are thinking about the best way to communicate with your baby it’s going to be through melody rather than speech.
  4. Our babies feel happier when they hear music.
  5. Our babies feel soothed when they are sung to.
  6. Our babies improve language development through music.

 

That’s why I’m a 10 out of 10 when it comes to my confidence in music being the best way to connect with your baby.

But that’s not all!

The benefits that apply to your baby with music also apply to you.

We also feel regulated when we hear music. It can make us feel happier as well as calmer. And you already know that a happier and calmer parent makes for a happier and calmer baby.

 

I’ll leave you with this quick visualization:

Imagine you were saying to your baby, “I love you, now go to sleep.”

Now imagine you’re singing it: ” I love you, now go to sleep.”

Be honest. Is the second version more emotional? More soothing? More connected to your baby?

 

If the answer is yes, then you know exactly you are on the right path. That a musical journey with your baby is a beautiful way forward.

Play devil’s advocate for me. Why else do you feel less than 10 out of 10 in using music to connect with your baby? Comment so I don’t think everyone thinks like me!

Know another research lover/nerd? Send them this post and make their data-filled days.
They can sign up for the Tuesday Tune In right here:

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

This song is magic

 

Dear in tune parent,

If you have taken my class you know the soothing song and probably use it quite a bit. It works, and you’ve told me it can be a life saver.

 

But today I’m  not talking about the soothing song to get you though the tough moments. This song is even more special than that. Read on, friend.

 

Here’s the scenario: Last weekend, we went on a camping trip with friends and family. A minor tragedy happened when a rock got thrown at my daughter’s face, right by her eye.

 

As you can imagine, she immediately turned into a puddle of tears. The blood, the shock, the pain, the fear. So we hugged, we examined we made sure no major harm was done. 

 

And right then, I knew I needed to pull out my most powerful soothing tool. It goes beyond the hugs and the kisses.

 

It’s probably obvious by now – knowing me – that it was a song. But not the one you think it was.

 

It’s NOT a soothing song.

 

It’s OUR SONG – a song that’s just for me and my child. 

 

You know that song for you and your partner that makes you melt and say “That’s our song!” You need one of those for you and your son or daughter. 

 

How to find YOUR SONG

 

To set up your most powerful soothing tool, choose a song that you associate with feeling happy and connected. For me and my daughter, it is “You Are My Sunshine.”

 

Find moments to sing it in which you are both content and present. Perhaps in the morning, during bath, as you are walking with the carrier or just playing on the floor. Sing the song often so that it encapsulates the joy of being together. 

 

That moment for us is in the shower. Since my daughter was a baby, I have been singing “You Are My Sunshine” to her as I hold her and she rests her head on my shoulder, while we feel the warm water hitting our heads and shoulders.

 

Those moments are precious to us both. We both feel relaxed and soothed by the water and feel connected and peaceful together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The more you do this something magical will happen.

 

Since that song will be associated with PEACEFUL moments, it will be waiting to help you when you need to soothe your baby. 

 

It is your most powerful tool so use it sparingly.

 

I suggest using it only when you really need it so that it keeps its place in your hearts as a fully positive experience. If you use it for soothing too much, then it will turn into something else a bit.

 

BUT for those moments when you need it most, it will be waiting for you.

  

So back to our day by the lake. The reason the song worked to soothe her was not just because music is soothing and I was rocking her to the rhythm of the song.

 

Even more than that, it worked because we both associate that song with feeling happy, connected, calm, warm, and alone together in a bubble.

 

As I sang it to her by the lake, it elicited all of those feelings and that’s what truly soothed her.

 

Music has the power to tap into our deepest bonds — if we let it. 

 

So now tell me: What song makes you feel happy and connected? Do you already have YOUR song? If so, share which one it is! We need inspiration. COMMENT BELOW.

 

Now that you know how to find your song, what moments of the day do you plan to sing it to your child and strengthen your connection? COMMENT BELOW.

 

AND – here’s a fun thing. Are you wondering what the best bedtime routine is for you and your baby? Take this QUIZ I put together to find out.

 

And maybe your friends need a little bedtime help? Send them this link and maybe they’ll thank you tomorrow morning 🙂

 

www.babyintune.com/quiz

 

 

THIS is what summer sounds like

You! Tuned-in parent. Sun! Summer is here. It’s my favorite favorite season. I don’t care how sticky it is and how much we sweat. We are finally free from the indoors! Our babies get fresh air! You with me?

 

We don’t despair by 5pm because we can just go outside. And see friendly faces. Whew! We made it. So now that we’re outside, I want to encourage you all to tune in to a different type of music: the sounds of the outdoors.

 

Here’s the thing – summer is also a good time to give ourselves a pause. Work places slow down a bit, we allow ourselves long weekends, and we even take full weeks off.

What does this mean for our inner musician? That we can relax into feeling more present. We can sit outside and take a moment to LISTEN.

How to tune in to the sounds of summer:

 

  1. Park. Try laying next to your baby on the blanket. Gaze up at the trees and the leaves with them. Listen to the birds overhead. Listen to how your baby might be mirroring those sounds.

 

  1. City. As you push your stroller, listen to the city life around you. Listen to the rhythm of human-made sounds as they interact with the sounds of nature. Is the wind moving objects on the street or sidewalk? Is a squirrel pitter pattering up a tree with stolen pizza in its mouth? Is there construction nearby keeping a beat?

 

  1. Beach. When you are at the beach, listen closely to the sound of the waves. So often we sit at the beach talking, reading or zoning out. Take a few minutes to tune In. Notice the rhythm of the waves. Here’s the best way to do this: As you watch the waves, take in a deep breath as the water pulls back and then breathe out as the waves crash. Breathing with the waves helps us really tune in to the sound and the rhythm of the ocean.
Water splashing up
My daughter experiencing a natural splash park

 

  1. Forest. If you are sitting in the forest camping or hiking, then sit quietly for a moment and notice the sounds. Do you hear gravel crunching? Do you hear mosquitoes nearby? Croaking crickets? If so, notice their rhythm. Notice how they all sing in unison. They are really rubbing their wings together like a violin.Interesting tangent – To get a rough estimate of the temperature in degrees fahrenheit, count the number of cricket chirps in 15 seconds and then add 37. The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature. There are perks to having kids in fifth-grade science!

 

  1. Waterfall. We tend to hear a brook, stream or waterfall and quickly process them in our brain as white noise. It is hard for us to keep our attention on the small changes happening within moving water. Pause for a moment try to see if you can tune in to anomalies. Where does the water fall out of stream? Is there a pattern that repeats?

 

  1. Pool. See if you can visualize yourself as a bird perched high above the pool or family event that you’re at. What sound landscape would that bird hear? Listen to the orchestra of kids playing and splashing water at the pool or the melody of the family barbecue’s low chuckling voices and high pitched toddlers. See if you can hear it as a landscape.

 

  1. Your baby. Finally, let’s tune in to our baby’s noises. In the summer, we tend to be more laid back and we allow ourselves a little bit more space for wonder and observation. This is a perfect time to really listen to your baby’s noises and speech. What vocalizations is your infant experimenting with? How high does their voice rise and how low do they dip? Are they experimenting with more noises that they like using their lips and tongue?Have a crawler or walker? How are they learning to say words? Are they learning through the melody? Do they have a sing-songy way of speaking?And for older kids tune in to their sounds. When they hum or sing a tune what does their voice sound like? When they speak to you do they tend to use higher registers or lower registers? Can you find your own sing-songy speech and how they mirror it back to you?

So do you hear it? My hope for you this week is that you take the time to try.

Stop.

Pause.

Breath.

LISTEN.

 

What do you hear? Share with us in the COMMENTS. It is inspiring to hear what others observe.

 

Want to inspire your friend to take a pause and listen to summer? Send them this Tuesday Tune In. Tell them there are alot more where this one came from and they are all as helpful.

 

Tell them to sign up for it below.

 

 

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