If, like me, you find that it’s a constant battle to make sense of all the recent claims for the benefits of music making and learning in early years, then a brilliant new book by my colleague and friend Anita Collins – The Lullaby Effect – will be a welcome relief.
It’s not very often that I get a book in the post and read it all within hours, but today I did just that – which just shows what a great read it is. I’m posting this review just a few hours later.
Anita Collins is an Australian music educator, known to many of us here in the UK music education and community music sector through her TED Ed animated film and TEDx talk: How playing and instrument benefits the brain and What if every child had access to music education from birth. These have been invaluable for many of us in helping us to advocate for the importance of music making and learning in early years, school, and young people’s lives generally.
Like the films, her new book distils and translates complex neuroscience into meaningful, relatable facts. But more than that, the book takes the reader on Anita’s personal journey as a mother, a researcher and a writer. She describes how she was learning both in real-life as well as through her PhD research, how babies and young children use sound and music to make sense of their world. And she describes how important that is for their learning and development. She shares anecdotes about hers and her daughter’s experiences, as well as allowing the reader a peek inside her writing process (in coffee shops, with lots of background noise!).
This is a very warm, personable and joyful book about why singing to and making music with your child is so important – backed up by research, and interviews with more than 100 researchers around the world. For parents, it offers practical tips and useful background; and for music educators, some useful learning for your practice and advocacy.
The book costs less than £13 and is available from The Lullaby Effect website.
Case study about my research & copywriting work with RSNO on the original Astar CD & booklet
New York Times article about lullabies and parent/child bonding