At my booking appointment at the Women’s Hospital, Dan and I were told by the midwife that music helps baby’s brain develop. I’m pretty sure I knew this already, but the reminder got me all kinds of excited. For those who don’t know, I got a scholarship to study my degree at one of the countries music college. I wanted to be a performer. Unfortunately, hEDS and PoTS had other ideas for me. Being reminded of the benefits of music to baby got me all excited and I’ve been putting together a baby playlist, which I thought I’d share with you today.
Another reason I got excited by the prospect of creating a baby playlist, is a story my Mum has told me about when she was pregnant.
When Mum was pregnant with my, I kicked her so much whenever my Dad put one of his Queen records on. So much so, that when she was pregnant with my sister, Mum banned my Dad from playing Queen! I love this story and wonder whether Dad’s early musical influences may have encouraged my love of music.
Before we get into my playlist choices, I thought I’d share a phone conversation I had with my Mum, which I found rather amusing.
Mum: “What’s that in the background?”
Me: “The Wicked soundtrack.”
Mum: “Oh, it’s very loud.”
Me: “Good, hat means baby can hear it!”
Mum: “What if baby doesn’t want to hear it?”
I’ve taken my categories in their widest sense. So ‘popular music’ refers to all genres within Western popular music, e.g. rock, hip hop, rap, dance, etc. Not just ‘pop’. In the same way ‘classical’ refers to all genres of classical music (Baroque, Romantic, 20th Century, etc).
Baby Playlist: Popular Music
Obviously, I had to include a large number of Queen songs in my playlist! One of the first ‘pop’ artists I listened to as a child was Madonna. I’ve got very fond memories of summers spent with my cousins, with my Madonna tape playing in the background. So of cause Madonna made it onto my playlist. We also studied Like A Prayer as part of my Popular Music module when at university. I transferred from music college to finish my degree at university because of my PTSD and associated performance anxiety. But that’s a long story that I’ll save for another time.
Dan is a big fan of Michael Jackson, and I have fond memories of his records too. So he made the cut. There are too many artists included in this category to name them all, so I’ll just mention a few: Abba, Wham!, Adele, Katy Perry and Starship.
Baby Playlist: Disney
You can’t beat a bit of Disney can you!? So I’m starting our baby girl early. I think I’m lacking songs in this category though. For some reason, I just haven’t been able to think of Disney songs! So far, I’ve got Beauty And The Beast, a couple of Aladdin numbers, Under The Sea and some Frozen tracks.
Baby Playlist: Musical Theatre and Film Music
My love for musical theatre didn’t fully emerge until I started teaching (instrumental lessons). My first job had a fantastic music department that really utilised their peripatetic staff. The school employed some fantastic peri staff, who all got on with each other brilliantly. I’m still in touch with most of them! I taught on a Friday, as did Dan and one of our best friends. It was such good fun.
The school put on some fantastic shows and got the peri staff heavily involved. One year we did ‘A Sci-Fi Christmas’ which involved Dan dressed up as Darth Vader and me playing Princess Leia! The kids loved us being involved with supporting roles in the shows, as well as being involved with the band. And it was from these shows, and the students’ performances, that my love of musical theatre developed.
So in my baby playlist, I knew I had to include some musical theatre. Some of my favourite Wicked songs were the first to be added. Idina Menzel’s voice is phenomenal.
The first, and possibly the only musical I’ve seen live is Les Miserables. I was year 10 and the drama and French students were taken on a school trip to London to see it. It’s always held a special place in my heart as a result, so it had to make it onto my baby playlist. And having been a music student, I couldn’t resist adding more than one version – the Original Broadway recording and the film version. When studying pieces for performance, we were encouraged to listen to a variety of live and recorded versions. I’d regularly listen to three or more different performers playing the same piece, analysing the differences and similarities to decide how I wanted to portray the piece of music in my own performance.
When we started learning Shadowland from The Lion King in choir, I sought out the Broadway soundtrack and fell in love instantly. So that has made it onto my playlist in it’s entirety.
I’ve also included film music in this category, as I don’t have enough tracks to warrant their own category. Some of the Grease tracks have made it onto my baby playlist, along with Footloose, You Can’t Stop The Beat from Hairspray and several of the Blues Brothers songs.
Baby Playlist: Jazz, Blues, Big Band, etc.
When I was in 6th Form, I had a big jazz/blues/big band moment. I’d joined the local youth big band (playing saxophone) and fell in love with the style, particularly Glen Miller. Inspired, I branched out, falling in love with Aretha Franklin, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and the film The Blues Brothers (included in my film category).
Baby Playlist: Classical Music
Classical music is a genre I love. It’s what I trained in and it’s one of the types of much I’m most passionate about. Surprisingly, when it came to choosing classical music for my playlist, I really struggled. I managed to pick a few pieces and then my brain went blank! So I enlisted the help of Dan and a friend of mine (one of my lecturers at uni) to help me. Once they got me started, the suggestion section of YouTube also proved helpful.
Unfortunately, Dan wasn’t a fan of some of the versions I picked. It can be hard to find good recordings on YouTube! I try to stick to conductors and/or orchestras I know, but it’s not easy. Most of the good orchestras don’t make their performances available on YouTube as, understandably, they want you to buy their recordings.
I can’t remember which piece it was, but Dan took offence to the quality of the clarinet playing (Dan’s a clarinettist). So I got him to choose me a different recording that he’s happy with. To my displeasure, the recording Dan loves, which does have beautiful clarinet playing, has an oboe entry that is truly awful. They come crashing in, as though they’ve not been paying attention, suddenly realised that they’re supposed to come in, stuck their oboes in their mouths and hoped for the best.
Dan was also not impressed with the recording I picked of Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 in Bb Major (13 Winds). As this is Dan’s favourite piece EVER, I got him to pick me a different recording. And I have to admit, the boy did good with this one! Dan found a beautiful recording on period instruments. I studied Baroque oboe as my second instrument at music college and, if I do say so myself, was rather good at it. So this recording got me really excited!
Knowing that Mozart 13 Winds is Dan’s favourite piece of all time, I started my playlist with this piece and told Dan “Baby has just started their musical education, with 13 Winds.” His response? “I love you!” That made me so happy!
Other classical pieces include Beethoven’s Symphony No.6, Some Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky pieces, Debussy’s Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune and many other amazing classical pieces.
There are currently over 200 tracks on my baby playlist, and I’m still adding more! I’m hoping to categorise the pieces/songs into genres when I get a chance. But, YouTube only allows you to move a track to the top or bottom of your playlist. So, as I’m still adding to the playlist, I thought I’d wait.
Want to see my baby playlist in full? I’ve set up a Baby Playlist on my YouTube channel.
What would you have on your playlist? Have I missed anything that you think I should add?
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