Last time we shared a lullaby video, I offered some advice on how to sing to your baby with confidence. It’s funny, we know babies aren’t harsh critics, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling a little self-conscious when we try to interact with someone who doesn’t respond in the way we’re used to. This is especially true if we’re new to this whole parenting thing. This week, I have more suggestions to help you enjoy making music for your little guy or gal. In this video, I’m singing Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” one of the most touching lullabies ever written.
Sing Along with a Recording
In the lullaby videos we’ve made, I’ve been singing a cappella, which means without any instrumental accompaniment. I’m also not singing with a recording. It’s one way to serenade your baby, but if it feels too exposed or you think you’ll forget the words, you may be more comfortable singing along with a recording. Tune into your favorite radio station or musical TV channel, and when a song you know well and enjoy comes on, join in with the artist. We often feel more secure singing along with someone else, so if you’re feeling a little goofy, this can be a great place to start.
Don’t Listen to Yourself
It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t you listen to yourself singing if you want to sound good? This is actually not the case, whether you’re in the nursery with your baby or on stage in front of an audience. Want to know why? It’s because we don’t experience our own voices the way others do, which is why hearing a recording of yourself can be disconcerting—it’s one of the only times you’ll hear the version of your voice that other people are used to hearing. And that’s a great reason not to scrutinize yourself when you’re singing. You’re not going to hear the same sounds your baby or anyone else in the room is hearing anyway.
Yawning is contagious, and if you get your little one yawning during a lullaby, hopefully he or she is on the way to some sweet dreams in their organic nap sac. But there’s another benefit to yawning while you’re singing—it opens and relaxes your throat, which helps your larynx make beautiful, free sounds. Every time you take a breath to sing, see if you can feel like you’re about to yawn. You’ll feel your soft palate (the soft tissue in the back of the roof of the mouth) lifting to make more space. This helps the voice to release and feel like it’s “sparkling.” Keep going for this sensation!
So now that you’ve learned a little more, I want to hear from you (no pun intended!) What do you love singing to baby? What do you wish you knew more about? Is there a lullaby you’d like to hear me sing? Leave a comment, and I’ll respond with a new blog post soon!