The importance of lullabies

Lullabies exist in almost every language, and for most of us, lullabies provide a backdrop to our childhoods.

Published: 22nd June 2021 07:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2021 07:20 AM   |  A+A-

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BENGALURU : Lullabies exist in almost every language, and for most of us, lullabies provide a backdrop to our childhoods. If and when we become parents, we try to recall the lullabies our parents sang to us and try to pass them on. It’s interesting to note that lullabies have an important place in almost all cultures, the world over, and there are concrete reasons why. When babies are born, they not only have a preference for their mother’s voice (and the voices of people they have heard extensively before being born), but they also have a preference for the languages they have heard before birth.

This is one reason why lullabies are local and very closely tied to one’s region. They are familiar, and create a bond with something the baby can already relate to - his or her mother tongue. One of the most natural ways to soothe a baby is to sing - a calm, soft, slow melody that will allow the baby to drown our external noises and focus on the relaxing sound. It’s important for parents to know that they don’t have to be great musicians to sing to their children.

While there is most definitely a place for recorded music in the life of a child, there is something very special about you singing to your child. In some cases, a parent singing is even more soothing than a recording because of the familiarity of the voice, and the emotion. For many babies, lullabies are their first introduction to music, and research shows that people develop affinity to music they are exposed to frequently.

A starting place could be lullabies in one’s own language, but that can slowly extend to different languages, and different styles of music. It’s also important to remember that not all music for children has to be children’s music. Children have the ability to understand and appreciate so much music beyond the realm of nursery rhymes and simple songs. The more exposure a baby or a child has, the better for him or her. So if you’re a new parent, or a caregiver, try to introduce as many different lullabies as you can, in different languages! (The authors run SaPa - the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts)


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