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Product Review: Sing to Your Baby

by Kimberly on May 24, 2012 · 0 comments

One of the extreme pleasures of being a blogger is that, on occasion, you get invited to review a really great book or product. This post is one such review.

Sing to Your Baby” is my new favorite baby shower/new baby gift. It’s a book and CD set of “love songs and sing-plays for new families” by the über-talented musical duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer.

Here are the nuts and bolts–Cathy and Marcy wrote 11 songs, mostly play types of songs and a couple lullabies. The book part of the set includes lyrics to all the songs, as well as “parent training” components explaining why music is important for your baby and how you can use it. There is an accompanying CD that includes two versions of each song, one in a “mommy” vocal range and another in a “daddy” vocal range.

Here’s what I love about this set: as a music therapist, I deeply appreciate the “parent guide” part of the book. It covers many of the ways music can impact your child’s development, such as enhancing parent-child bonding, learning new skills (e.g. waving good-bye), and helping with transitions (e.g. at bedtime). There’s a “cute” version of the guide in the front of the book that’s written as a letter from your baby and a more professional version in the back of the book. Both offer valuable, concrete, and easy-to-implement suggestions and rationales for incorporating music in your young baby’s life.

The book is accessible, easy-to-read, and has beautiful illustrations. The illustrations also support the intended purpose for each song. For example, the song “Bouncing” has a picture of a baby being bounced on an adult’s leg.

Musically, there is no doubt–and I knew this before this review–that Cathy and Marcy are incredibly gifted singers and songwriters. The songs themselves have all the important components you need in a children’s song; they are sing-able, repetitive, and in an appropriate vocal range.

I love that the recorded songs are accessible to the dads, since there’s a male-range version of each track. I also got a chuckle when, in many of the songs, the singers would cue the words for the next phrase. This type of verbal cuing is something I do all the time as a music therapist, but I don’t often hear in a CD recording.

Other things of note that I liked…the accompaniment instruments and style were consistent across many of the tracks. They also seemed complex enough to be interesting to the parents, but not overly complex for babies (babies are not able to process musical complexity like adults are).

With the idea of complexity in mind, I would recommend using most of these songs–especially the sing-play songs–with babies who are over 3 months of age and beginning to connect and socialize more. Some of the songs, like the lullaby “I Love You,” would be appropriate for newborns, especially if sung a capella by the parents. But there is enough musical complexity (e.g. with syncopations) in many of the sing-play songs that they should probably be used sparingly with the littlest newborns.

In conclusion, I highly recommend “Sing To Your Baby: Love Song & Sing-Plays for New Families” for any parent who would like an accessible, engaging, and easy-to-use way to connect with their baby musically. And it doesn’t just get my stamp of approval. I was driving my kids to daycare while listening to the CD. While the song “I Love You” was playing, my 5-year-old turned to his 3-year-old sister and said “I love you, Lorian.”

I asked, “What do you think of this song, Jameson?”

“I think it’s pretty.”

 You can purchase “Sing To Your Baby” for $19.95 from Cathy and Marcy’s store. As a very cool bonus, the authors are also posting ukelele and guitar chord fingerings on the book’s Facebook page. Thus you can not only sing the songs to your baby, but you can learn to play them, too!


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