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Guest re-post: Vered Benhorin – Using Music to Connect with Your Baby + Support for her new album!

161x225xVered_MusicWithChild.jpg.pagespeed.ic.y3y3Wej2j5This post was originally published on Nov 1, 2012. I am reposting to support Vered’s new Kickstarter campaign for her next album, Hello My Baby.

To learn more about her next album, and support the project follow this linkThere are only 6 days left as of Thursday, February 26, 2015!  

Read more about Baby In Tune at the official site where you can find out how to attend a workshop, and watch videos of parents and Vered in action.


Vered Benhorin is a musician and music therapist living in Brooklyn. She runs groups with parents and babies on bonding through music. Her album, Good Morning My Love, won the Gold Parents’ Choice Award and the Gold NAPPA award. Vered’s biggest inspiration and fellow songwriters are her two sons, ages 4 and 1. Learn more about Vered at Baby In Tune.

Below Vered shares inspiration and experiences that contribute to her art. You will also find some excellent techniques which you can easily put into play. As you follow these steps, while listening to Vered’s beautiful voice, you will immediately feel and see how it fosters a tender loving bond between you and your little bundle of joy.


Some people feel completely comfortable singing with their babies from day one. I wasn’t one of those people. I remember watching my husband sing tenderly to our first son while cradling him in the middle of the night. It was the idyllic picture I had always imagined I would make with my baby.

As a musician and music therapist, I was sure singing with my son would come naturally. Instead, I found myself constantly nursing, pumping and bottle feeding. I was sleep deprived, in shock and uncomfortable. It took me quite a while to let music seep into my routine with my baby, but when it did, it felt like the sun had finally shone through the clouds.

baby1I realized that when I sang with my son, when we danced and made music together, I felt particularly connected with him. He often smiled at the sound of a song, which in turn made me want to sing more. Eventually, Icombined my professional training and my experience as a parent and began leading groups to help other parents and their babies connect through music.

Here are some of the tips that I have found to be especially helpful to parents who would like to incorporate music but don’t know how or why. Some, like me, just need a little reminder about the power of music and a little nudge to help the inner music flow out.

1. Use music to establish your daily routine.
Typically, the toughest challenge for the parents in my groups is creating a routine for their babies. During these rough patches, it is helpful to keep in mind that babies are much like dogs; they are trainable and crave routine. Similar to Pavlov’s dogs, babies respond well to having cues, especially auditory ones, that signal the next event. Try singing or putting on a song to let your baby know that it is morning, bath time, nap time or bedtime. If you are consistent with your use of these songs, your baby will come to associate a song with the action that follows and will be more prepared for the next step in the daily routine. For example, you may find that eventually your baby will start to rub her eyes at the first sound of the familiar lullaby.

2. Repeat! Repeat!
I am sure you have already heard that consistency with your baby is key to giving him a sense of security. Singing is an effective way to use repetition because songs organize words and melody in a way that is easily replicated and familiar. This is different from talking, which also involves song-like inflections but usually does not use the same type of repetition. If you sing the same songs over and over with your baby each day, you will probably start to see delight in his or her eyes at the start of these songs. In the baby’s world where everything is new, a well-known song sung by a caretaker gives a sense of control and familiarity.

3. Rhythm is your friend.
Babies love rhythm. From the womb they have been moving around to the rhythm of their mother’s steps and hearing her heart beat. Rhythm is a great tool to use for play, and even more so, for soothing. You may have had nights of trying to soothe your baby back to sleep by rocking in the rocking chair, bouncing on the ball or bouncing the baby in your arms. Adding music to the rhythm of your rocking or bouncing will not only lull your baby to sleep more quickly but also will make this process much more interesting for you. Imagine it: You are bouncing, hoping the baby will fall asleep soon and thinking about the sleep you would rather be having. If you add in a song and move to the rhythm, you are not only distracting yourself from these thoughts, but you also may even enjoy these moments with your baby. More important, you will be increasing your stamina for rocking, and by the time you have sung the song twice, your baby might be asleep.

4. Incorporate music with hand gestures and body movements.
There is a reason that songs such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” are timeless hits. For babies, the hand gestures that accompany these songs are like puppet shows. Babies begin to associate gestures with the melody and anticipate them. Try incorporating singing, movement and touch when playing with your baby. You will notice your baby’s delight at being moved around.

5. Why say it when you can sing it?
Babies have been shown to respond more to the sound of their mother singing than to the sound of her talking. Although researchers are not sure why, they speculate that it may be because singing carries more emotion. Most of us have heard that it is important to talk to babies throughout the day to help them build their language skills. Although you might feel awkward narrating your every move, you might find creating simple songs about what you’re doing to be more enjoyable for both you and your baby. It doesn’t take much thought to begin improvising; just be goofy and sing what comes to the top of your head. If you find that you’re having a hard time opening the musical floodgates, find a music group for you and your baby. Perhaps all you need is a little coaxing.

The most important point is that your baby does not care if you can’t carry a tune. He or she just wants to sing with you, smile, have fun,feel that you are enjoying yourself, too, and feel secure. Just like the baby pictures that your baby will go back to as a grown-up, your baby will also remember the songs that you sang together because they will have had a joyous, bonding and soothing effect. And most likely, someday your baby will sing these songs to his or her baby as well.

Music + Art: Edie Carey and Sarah Sample – ‘Til The Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort

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Edie Carey & Sarah Sample – Til’ The Morning: Lullabies & Songs of Comfort.

Edie Carey & Sarah Sample join forces to bring this gorgeous lullaby album to life. Their hauntingly beautiful harmonies create a soothing atmosphere for new parents and their little ones. The duo’s hushed lullabies are full of emotion that will swell your heart. Each song delivers a special kind of comfort and poignancy that matches the deeply tender expression between the maternal figure and her infant.

The alluring illustration was done by Caitlin Connolly, a Utah-based artist who explores the human experience, with an emphasis on women in different life phases. In this piece, Connolly exhibits thoughtful detail and subtle textures using curves and lines that, together, create an intimate scene and an intensity that is palpable.

In her personal statement, Connolly expresses:

“My work often explores the feminine experience as I attempt to understand myself and all women more fully and view them the way I see them – powerful yet flawed.”

When I first saw the album art, I was flooded with memories, recalling the potent range of emotions I felt as a new mother. However, after hearing Carey and Sample share their raw, personal experiences, I was compelled to look even further at Connolly’s design.

Sample explains,

“I have known Caitlin Connolly for many years and watched her art and drawings evolve over time. She seems to have settled into her artistry in a deep and beautiful way, often drawing women and life phases they are in. I had seen one of her drawings entitled “A Piece of Me” and was immediately struck by the beauty of the image of mother and baby.

The mother in the drawing is wearing a dress that is fractured into many small pieces. The baby is wrapped in her dress, and the mother is tenderly looking down into the face of her child. I identified with the mother in the drawing. I was living in Seattle when I had my first child six years ago, and the transition required to become a parent was rough to say the least. I was enamored with my beautiful baby, and yet I felt like I was falling apart at the same time. Caitlin’s image perfectly captured the fracturing I felt in my own life as a mother, and yet at the same time showed a mother’s love.’

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Photograph by Ryan Tanner

Carey continues,

“When Sarah showed me Caitlin’s incredible work, I was immediately taken with it, and it just felt like the perfect image for the soothing, healing, intimate feeling of the record. The mother’s fractured dress spoke to me as it did Sarah of all the difficulty of breaking down the “you” you once were to remake yourself into a mother. It also reminded me of the struggle my husband and I went through to become parents. Infertility has been – and continues to be – the most difficult experience I’ve ever had – and while it brought with it feelings of being broken, it also has made me more grateful than I might have been otherwise to finally have gotten the chance to be a mother – and all the beauty and struggle that comes with that privilege. Caitlin seems to just understand and convey all the complexity of those feelings in her work.

 


To read other posts related to the exploration kids’ album art, read the feature on Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s Grammy nominated album The Perfect Quirk.

Friday Fun: Songs for Survival – A Kindie Playlist for New England’s Winter 2015

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Almost survived Boston’s Winter 2015

I have been receiving reports from family and friends in New England about the crazy amounts of snow that Just. Keeps. Falling. My sister hasn’t worked on a Monday in about a month and recently remarked “This winter is no joke, Rebecca!” And if Boston-based kindie artist and event producer Karen K (for Kalafatas) is any indication, the prognosis is not good, my friends.  Not good at all.

I reached out to Karen earlier this week just to catch up, and she seemed, um, off, to say the least. Karen, the usually sunny front person to her band Karen K & the Jitterbugs and producer of the rockin’ Kids Really Rock family music festival, just didn’t seem like herself.  She spoke in short, frantic sentences as if she’d forgotten how to interact with humans, and her usual warmth was well, cold, as though it had been locked up in an icebox. I think her eye might have been twitching while she was talking to me.
Admittedly, I was a little worried about both of them, and the rest of my friends and family in the New England region. Especially after my sister sent me a photo of a 4-lane road in Boston reduced to 1 1/2 lanes. But music heals, right?  So I asked Karen to create a kindie playlist to describe her experience, and her mood – and the mood of Boston and the people of New England – since they’ve been hit by all this snow (and more is on the way!).  This was her response.
By the way, Boston is expecting more snow this weekend.  In the words of Karen herself, “God Speed, New England.  God Speed.”


A Friggin Snow-Tastic Kindie Playlist, with Love From Boston

Click on the song names below to download the music and support a kindie artist today! Especially ones that might be inside for the rest of the year.

  1. Snow Day – Justin Roberts, Jungle Gym
    Aw, Justin is right!  Snow days are so fun!  But I’m guessing a song entitled “Snow Day #416 And Counting” would have a completely different groove.  Like maybe a funeral march.  But you know. Just a guess.
  2. Salmon Song Jazzy Ash, Home
    Because salmon reminds me of Alaska.  And Alaska reminds me that we basically live there now.
  3. S-N-O-W-M-A-N – Billy Kelly, Thank You for Joining the Happy Club
    Yeah.  It’s gotten so bad, we’re actually dreaming in S-N-O-W.
  4. Play With Me – Big Bang Boom – Songs Your Mom Will Like
    1) Play 2) With 3) Me.  The top three words uttered this winter in a household with children, next to 1) Snow Day 2) $&*&#* and 3) #(*^$@&
  5. Valentine – Laura Doherty, Shining Like a Star
    Hey, look at that!  You made so many crafty-hearty-cute-and-Pinterest-worthy Valentines over your snow days that you can send one to every person on your Holiday Card list!  Which is great, since you’ve been so busy complaining about the weather this winter, you completely forgot to mail your holidays cards.  Again.
  6. Don’t Wake the Baby Audra Rox, I Can Do It By Myself
    Yes, whatever you do, do NOT wake the baby.  Or me. Try not to wake me.
  7. Glitter Everywhere – The Pop Ups, Appetite for Construction
    Endless inside time + crafts = of course. But not even a snowblower is gonna get that glitter out of your house. Ever. 
  8. Crayons in a Box – Steve Elci & Friends, Crayons in a Box
    Again, crayons second only to glitter.
  9. Daddy’s Snoring – Mister G, The Bossy E
    Yes. Yes, he is.  And it’s 3:00 in the afternoon.  On a Wednesday.
  10. Sippy Cup – Hullabaloo, Tall As A Tree
    Are we SURE that’s coffee in Mommy’s sippy cup?  ‘Cause it’s been snowing since October, and she seems a little off. Just sayin…
  11. Pancakes for Dinner – Karen K & the Jitterbugs, Pancakes for Dinner
    Because the key to snow day survival is a horrible, horrible diet.
  12. Who Stole the Cookies – Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band, A Potluck
    Seriously.  Who stole the last cookie?  Because roads are undriveable, stores are closed, and we’re stuck here with NO CHOCOLATE FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS.
  13. PJs All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Perfect Quirk
    “Honey, have you seen Offspring?”
    “Um, no…not in about 8 hours.” Translation: “Not since I went to work (in the dining room) and left you on the couch in the exact same position you are in now…”
  14. Time to Brush Our Teeth – Brady Rymer, Look at My Belly
    Because yes, you were snow-lucinating when you heard Michelle Obama say she is going to add teeth-brushing to the Let’s Move initiative as a legitimate form of exercise.  This totally. Does. Not. Count. 
  15. TV’s Watching Me – The Not-Its, Tag, You’re It!
    That moment you realize Peg is not really your daughter and you don’t own a Cat.  (Also, Meredith Baxter Birney is not your friend, and falling asleep on the couch watching Lifetime movies does not equal having a slumber party with her. I repeat:  This is not real and she is not your friend.  Wait, did you hear that?  What was that noise?  Ohmygodsomeone’sbreakinginandtryingtokillme… helpmeMeredithhelpme!!!!)
  16. Back to School – Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights, Bandwagon
    Did someone say school?  THERE’S SCHOOL TOMORROW????  OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshBestnewseverBestnewseverBestnews…Wait a minute.  Was there homework this week?  ((*R$^%*&(*)(^&$%#$#$*&^&$%$#%^*&!!!!!!!!
  17. Snow Day Eric Herman and the Invisible Band, Snow Day!
    BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Yeah, like you’re ever going back to school. Forecast says more snow.  Translation:  You’re screwed.  (But, hey, at least this song is only 42 seconds long.  Unlike the MAMMOTH snow storm on the way…)
  18. M.T.A. Ben Rudnick & Friends, Blast Off
    Poor Charlie.  If only he’s waited for Winter 2015, when Mayor Marty Walsh CLOSED THE MBTA COMPLETELY DOWN for 2 DAYS.  Ah, one man’s fate would have been so different.  Sorry, Charlie.
  19. Mean People – Lori Henriques, Outside My Door
    Because New Englanders are friendly as long as you don’t make eye contact or speak. And that’s on a sunny day.
  20. Snow Globe – Lunch Money, Original Friend
    Because we live in one.  Because we freakin’ live in one. (And also, glitter.)
  21. Meltdown – Justin Roberts, Meltdown!
    Because when the snow won’t melt, something has to.
  22. Amen!! – Josh & the Jamtones, Amen!! Holiday Singles Collection – EP
    Because right now all we can do is pray.  And because we know Tom Brady is listening, and that he can make this madness stop.
  23. Stop Your Sobbing – Stacey Peasley, Lucky Day
    Aw, you’re so right!  We should totally stop complaining.  Until summer, when I hear it’s gonna be SUPER hot…
  24. Happy Place – Mista Cookie Jar, & the Chocolate Chips, Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution
    We would like to go to there.
  25. The Very Best Thing – Trout Fishing in America, The Very Best Thing – Single
    Hear that, snow?  Love wins.  It isn’t always easy, but family is everything.  And having someone to share the crazy with is the very best thing.
  26. Forever Young – Randy Kaplan, The Kids Are All Id
    Because you’re not as old as that couch has made you feel.  Because you laughed deeper than the snow while frolicking outside with your Small Human.  And because let’s face it: You just binged watched 5 seasons of Parenthood and cried the entire time.

    BONUS TRACK:
  27. It’s a Sunny Day – Boogers, Extractum Victoris
    Hoooray!!!!! It’s Spring!!!!!!

    JUST KIDDING.  HERE’S THE REAL BONUS TRACK:
  28. Snow Day – Trout Fishing in America, Merry Fishes to All
    You silly fools.  Of COURSE that’s snow falling outside.  

God speed, New England, and see you on the other side. (In other words, August.  See you in August…)  

Valentine’s Day Musing with Lisa Mathews of Milkshake

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Lisa Mathews, of the kindie band Milkshake, was recently a guest DJ on the Hilltown Family Variety Show, an incredible online network that supports education through community engagement, where she curated a playlist centered around love and social consciousness. Lisa’s music pics featured kindie such as Brady Rymer, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Recess Monkey, as well as adult artists such as The Beatles, Adele, and Sly and the Family Stone. She even features a song written in 1930 from the movie The Moderns, which is one of Emily’s  favorites in the bunch!

Altogether, the podcast signifies that love is multi-faceted, and the way we give and receive it impacts how we relate to one another. I really enjoyed listening to Lisa and thought it would be great to hear more of her thoughts on the topic of love in light of the upcoming holiday.

In today’s guest post, Lisa writes about how much she loves Valentine’s Day, creating love songs with her previous band Love Riot, and watching her teenage daughter experience love firsthand. Lisa’s thoughts really resonated with me as a mother and a music lover. I know that Emily will have her own experiences with love in the same way as Lisa’s daughter. But, as Lisa says below, “maybe she’ll write a song about it, and listen to other songs that will help her through.” And I plan to be there listening to the music with her.

Milkshake will be performing a Valentine’s Spectacular show in Maryland with all kinds of fun activities and sweet treats. Plus, if you aren’t familiar with Milkshake’s music, I encourage you to listen to the links below, and check out the band’s music page. Lisa’s voice is bee-u-tee-ful!

Details about the show which will benefit Arts On Stage, a nonprofit that brings arts performances into schools, can be found following the post.


VALENTINE’S DAY MUSING

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I love Valentine’s Day. I love all holidays, but having one more reason to tell someone “I Love You” sounds good to me. I love the heart-shaped boxes. And even though I can’t eat chocolate (woe is me), I love gazing at the different chocolate pieces and wondering what’s inside them, how they taste. I love the idea behind all those sweetheart candies, too. I pick out my favorites like “Sweet Love,” “My Love,” “Hug Me” and “Only You.” Nowadays, the candies say things like “Text Me” or “Tweet Me.” Love’s gone digital, for sure.

But perhaps what I love most of all are the love songs. They remind me that love itself is so multi-dimensional. Happy love songs, sad love songs, songs of longing, songs of leaving. Before Milkshake, Mikel and I fronted a band for adults called Love Riot and we wrote nothing but love songs. It was amazing to me how we never seemed to run out of ideas. Maybe it wasn’t so unlimited as the topics we’ve discovered writing songs for kids, but emotionally, there was probably more to our love songs. The songs reflected what I or my friends were going through, and perhaps being in love is more of an adult thing. I wrote “I Love You” as a lullaby for my daughter, but that’s certainly different from romantic love. Now, she’s a beautiful 14-year-old and I see hints of romantic pining. I don’t look forward to her first breakup, which could be a painful thing. But maybe she’ll write a song about it, and listen to other songs that will help her through.

So how will Milkshake – the band that celebrates most holidays with a big show somewhere – celebrate Valentine’s861-eventpage-milkshake_500 Day when the majority of our songs deal with imagination and play and doing the right thing? Well, we did record “I Love You” and “Enemies” for our Great Day CD, which skews a bit older, listener-wise. And we added a Milkshake version of the classic “Tiptoe Thru the Tulips” on our latest Got a Minute CD. But that’s about it in the love song department. We’ll do all three for sure, tossing rose petals at our little friends. Moo will pass out chocolate kisses and candy hearts, and we’ll all be giving out unlimited hugs after the show.

People can donate their unloved instruments to Music4More, who will find them loving homes at schools and communities. There will be face-painted hearts and cherubs for anyone who wants them, and our friends at Macaroni Kids will make paper valentines with the concert-goers. So while there might not be a lot of love songs, there will certainly be a lot of love. The concert benefits Arts On Stage, a non-profit that lovingly creates art performances for schools. Sounds like a great way to start my Valentine’s Day. After saying “I Love You” to my husband, daughter, cat, dog and life first, of course.


“I Love You” (YouTube)

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“Tiptoe Thru the Tulips”

 

World Premiere Video: “I Love You More” – Todd McHatton

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Get ready for an epic battle…of love!

 

Today I am happy to premiere a new video by Todd McHatton. “I Love You More” features McHatton and his daughter Hazel going head-to-head in a playful exchange expressing just how much (and how much more) they love one another. The competition is fierce but in the end, they prove that love conquers all.

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What You’ll Love About It: McHatton pours his heart into his work, much of which is inspired by his family. Originally written for Hazel, “I Love You More” marvelously expresses the swell of emotions felt between a parent and their child. Plus, the “I Love You More” game is a classic!

Often, at bedtime, Emily and I will play the same game. As we each throw out all kinds of impossibly giant ways that we love one another it always ends up with one of us saying, “I love you more than the whole wide world plus infinity.”

So forget the Valentine’s Day cards! All you need is this super video valentine to melt your sweetie’s heart.


Behind the Scenes: McHatton usually does all the illustrations, animation and production for his videos. This time, Hazel also contributed by doing the stop motion, the paper cut outs, the clay people and hearts.

Want to learn more? You can purchase the album through the shop on Todd’s official site. Leading up to the release of Super Audio Sunshine McHatton released a comic for every song, like the one you see at the top of this post. You can  find more comics at Todd’s official site.

Video: “Show More Love” – Jon Samson

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Love is unity

Love is family

Love is friendship

Love is a furry companion

Love is playful

Love is music and singing

Love is expressing yourself

Love is in this video!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How are you and your family showing love?

Jon Samson is a producer, award-winning children’s musician and teaching artist. He will be playing a special show with the dazzling Lucy Kalantari this Sunday, February 15, 2015.

Click here to learn where they are playing and how you can win a ukulele! Plus, there wil be CHOCOLATE!

Love + Joy: A Family Valentine with Lucy Kalantari & Jon Samson! Plus, a ukulele giveaway!

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Award winning children’s artist and music therapist, Jon Samson, has teamed up with the dazzling Lucy Kalantari to deliver a rare and enchanting musical performance for families at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY, this Sunday, February 15th at 11:00 am. Lucy will be performing with her full lineup of drums, upright bass and clarinet.

While you are being charmed by the music, you can enjoy hot cocoa, valentine’s treats and a chance to win an autographed ukulele!

Want to hear how they sound? Listen through the Bandcamp widgets below.

Make sure to read on for ticket info and show information.

For tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1128853

Show information:
Love & Joy: A Family Valentine
Sunday, February 15th ShapeShifter Lab
18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215
$10 advanced tickets $15 at the door (Free for children under 2)
Doors: 11am Show Time: 11:30am

Artist’s official sites
Lucy Kalantari ­ http://www.LucyKalantari.com
Jon Samson ­ http://www.CoCreativeMusic.com

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