Member Eve Kodiak will soon be releasing a new album, Sleep Like a Baby. Below she discusses the power of lullabies.
When I first conceived the idea for Sleep Like a Baby – my upcoming CD of piano improvisations on lullabies – I immediately knew which song I would choose to begin the album. In all my decades, both as music teacher and practitioner, I have yet to find anyone who does not know this song. And, at least here in North America, this musical currency is accepted everywhere.
This is important, because fewer and fewer people here in this culture seem to sing. Even to their own kids. But, in my office, if I can create enough safety for a mom to even hum to her baby, the tune that does the trick is usually Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
My developmental work with people of all ages is largely about bonding. That’s because, when we don’t bond, parts of us don’t develop. Those developmental gaps can show up in a zillion different ways, from colic to math phobia, to clumsiness to belligerence, dyslexia to attention problems, and so on.
So what does this have to do with Sleep Like a Baby? Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is a bonding tool. It seems to connect people back to their own pre-verbal, pre-judgmental selves – to a time when they “slept like a baby.”
Here’s my guess. If a mother hummed only one lullaby to her child, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was that lullaby. If a baby had one mobile hanging over the crib powered by a wind-up music box, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was the song it tinkled. If any sibling took violin or piano or flute or guitar lessons, chances are that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star would be the tune circulating through the house at practice time. And if Twinkle Twinkle didn’t happen – probably The Alphabet Song did.
So if we can get back to that place where that first lullaby vibrated into our bodies, we have a chance of being the self we were before some of those gaps happened. We have a memory of the experience we need to repair our own infrastructure. We can access our ability to bond.
One morning, the office became almost preternaturally quiet. It was filled with an intense peace . . . I looked around, and all three babies were nursing. I think that they were pulling in energy from some place the rest of us have forgotten.
I can’t really describe the moment, but I knew that it was a gift. And that that peace they were generating was something we all need – and don’t get much of in our busy disconnected modern lives.
But one thing we can do in our busy disconnected modern lives is play music. So I decided to play that sense of connection and peace into the piano, using lullabies and other kinds of love songs (because every lullaby is a love song, and every love song can be a lullaby). I figured that if that feeling I had in my office could flow out of speakers or earbuds or a laptop, anyone could have it whenever they needed it.
Sleep Like a Baby is not a lullaby album in the usual sense – there’s a lot of motion and emotion and activity in it. Instead, it’s about safely moving through feelings, bonding with the music and all the love that is there. It’s about accessing the inner peace that allows you to let go and sleep like a baby.
Note: You can participate in the upcoming album “Sleep Like a Baby: Lullabies and Other Love Songs” by logging on to her website, evekodiak.com or through her Kickstarter campaign to complete the funding for the project.