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1 November 2012

Music and...The Newborn Child


Welcome to this month's blog about Music and... the newborn child.

Life is Music. Music is Life. 
So music relates to everything in life. Or does it?
Each month join the conversation of the role music plays in all our lives.

It feels as if all the storks of the world are busy at the moment. I’ve lost count of how many people I know, who are just about to experience the birth of their first child. With the excitement of this imminent life-changing event, along with the self-inflicted expectations of being a good parent, comes the question I get every time: What music should my child be listening to?
So this month whether you're still fighting your cravings for pickles, cheese or chocolate, or, enduring sleep deprivation to the max, read on for this edition of MUSIC AND...THE NEWBORN CHILD. 

There's a monthly blog article AND a guide to expand your, and you're baby's listening by joining Sophie's Music Club.
On the first day of each month 5 pieces connecting music to a part of our lives will be suggested on a listening list.
This month's music has been added to our very own AltoProductionsAus channel on YouTube. 
So share your thoughts on YouTube or join us on Facebook. 
 Happy listening!

 You can read more at Sophie's Music Club at http://www.altoproductions.com.au/blog/sophie-s-music-club or visit us on Facebook to share your thoughts.

It feels as if all the storks of the world are busy at the moment. I’ve lost count of how many people I know, who are just about to experience the birth of their first child. With the excitement of this imminent life-changing event, along with the self-inflicted expectations of being a good parent, comes the question I get every time: What music should my child be listening to? I’m sure someone has undertaken some in-depth study on the correlation between babies listening to Mozart within their first hour of life on Earth and the probability of being able to figure out an algorithm to invent the latest fad, such as Facebook. But I don’t know about it. Truth be told, I don’t feel compelled to making that my bed time reading. Most importantly, hopefully that isn’t a parent’s prime motivation behind the question of music for their child.

The fact is, I can’t even remember the first music I listened to. It could have been anything from the theme song from Sesame Street to some overly melodramatic Greek song, along the lines of, “I love you; You don’t love me; The world as we know it, is going to end”, kind of story. Not to mention the sounds of a dark and husky voice caused by the smoking of countless cigarettes, and heavy breathing, to create that special timbre. You get the picture. In retrospect as a musician, along with all the diverse listening experiences I was exposed to, the only sound that was lacking was a good clean A440. No, it’s not a pop band or the latest song by Lady Gaga. It’s the most useful sound as a musician and the perfect gift for the new born. 

Next time you are thinking about what to give someone having a child, give them the most - let’s call it - unique, gift of all. It’s called a tuning fork. It’s nothing to do with which road to take in life, or about eating. Sadly they don’t come in cute pink or blue packages; or with elephants or Barbie on them; or better or worse still, they don’t light up when you shake them. But they do offer the most vitamin-charged sound a child needs for their listening health and future musical pursuits. The idea the first sound a baby should hear every morning is the sound of the A from the tuning fork. It sounds the most useful note for a musician, A, and in tune (at the frequency of 440Hz)! So if they ever want to become the next composer extraordinaire or just have a jam with friends in the shed, they’ll be equipped. Well equipped. I remember the look of bewilderment on my friend’s face when she, as a new mother, opened my gift. She smiled awkwardly at the strange two-pronged fork, with a less than stylish finish and the symbols ‘A440’ engraved on it. Someone suggested we could get the newborn’s name engraved on it, to make it a bit more personal. Perhaps they thought I thought they’d named their baby A440. I explained that, sadly, any further engraving would alter the pitch and defeat the whole purpose. Admittedly my ‘unique’ gift did not provoke rages of cute smiles and guests launching into baby talk, as the other offerings of fluffy toys and bibs did, but I assured the parents that this would be the gift that their child would thank me for in years to come. 

Here are the instructions: 

  1. Hold the tuning fork between your thumb and index finger between where the 2 prongs meet, and the ball end. The 2 prongs should face toward the ceiling.
  2. Tap the prong end quite hard on a wooden surface
  3. Immediately place the ball end on the wooden surface, and the ringing A will increase in volume

If you touch the prongs after you tapped them, it will interfere with the vibrations which are necessary to create the sound.

If you take too long to place the ball end on the wooden surface, the volume will dissipate too quickly.

Naturally the question of musical choices still remains to be answered. My suggestion is to

allow children to hear as much diversity as possible. That way classical music doesn’t become a foreign language. I believe listening to all styles forms a healthy listening diet.

But as people specifically ask me about classical music, that’s what I’ve focussed on for this month’s listening list. Please visit Sophie’s Music Club for these pieces to inspire, enliven, strengthen and pacify your child. This collection will allow them to hear the amazing world they now live in. Happy Listening!


You can read more at Sophie's Music Club at http://www.altoproductions.com.au/blog/sophie-s-music-club or visit us on Facebook to share your thoughts.