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Lady Lullaby Blog

Lullabies for babies, grown-ups and everyone in between!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Song Remembers When

My very favorite songwriter, Hugh Prestwood, had a Grammy-winning hit with “The Song Remembers When.” The song describes something that we all experience and can help our children to enjoy “... and even if the whole world has forgotten, the song remembers when.”

Think of the songs you know that bring back a place, a person, or an emotion the minute they start to play—that’s the power of music.

A few weeks ago, while preparing for A Very Important Performance at my granddaughter’s pre-school, I heard a recording of Burl Ives singing “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” Whoosh—I was instantly back to being three years old (a million years ago), sitting on the floor listening to the shiny black LP on the little red turntable my parents had just bought me. The time, the place, and even the feelings—excitement, curiosity, horror that this poor lady was swallowing all these animals and was about to die (I changed the words for the pre-school to “oh me, oh my”) came flooding back. The music had created an experience at that time and the feelings had lived on inside me.

When my daughter was in middle school, she and my husband were on a “Phantom of the Opera” kick, and every morning when he drove her to school it blasted through the car into her brain and heart, creating a life-long experience that stops her dead in her tracks every time she hears something from that musical.

Music is not just something that we hear with our ears. It is something we experience with our bodies, minds, and hearts. Why?

Researchers say that the environment plays a big part in the structure of our brains. Scientist Daniel Goldman said, “Seventy percent of what is given to us genetically is brought to fruition by our environmental experiences.” Early Childhood expert Dr. Pam Schiller adds that the richer the environment (like one filled with music) the better off a child will be. “The primary task of the brain during early childhood is to connect brain cells (neurons)... Experience forges the connections and repetition strengthens them.”

And we’re not just talking math skills here, although those improve with early experience with music. We’re talking about emotional richness, stability, and comfort. The music—music of all kinds—that you play for your baby and toddler now will be with him or her for life, helping to build strong neuron pathways. But you’ll also be building the ability to appreciate all of life’s experiences more fully.

Here is Trisha Yearwood singing about this experience in “The Song Remembers When.”

Listen to "The Song Remembers When":

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