The idea for Sing To Your Baby® has germinated over many years. We are always seeking to find ways to help parents connect with their children through music. These days, there are so many ways to have your child hear and see music in a passive way, we realized that we wanted to encourage active listening, active doing and active communication between parent and child through music. This, coupled with requests from parents for us to help them feel comfortable being the singing voice their baby hears, had us brainstorming.
The next step was to write songs. In a project like this, we write many more songs than we will ever use to give us choices. Cathy wrote a lot of the songs that were simple and repetitive. This empowers people who feel unconfident in their ability to sing or remember lyrics. It also leaves room to change a few words and make a song your own with new verses, adding your baby’s name to the song, etc. Marcy worked on other songs that might be a little more difficult to learn, but would bring lots of smiles and play opportunities.
We then “demoed” the songs. We made sample recordings of all of the songs to listen back to critique, play to some new parents and edit, tweak, change.
Next-real recording sessions. Out come the guitars, mandolin, ukuleles, banjos, hammered dulcimer, percussion, whistles, and other instruments we love to play. We tend to arrange the songs as we go. “Oh, that would sound great with this guitar and this mandolin” followed by, “We could add a little bass to this song.” This goes on for a long time. We also record the vocals. Sing To Your Baby® was double interesting because for each song, we wanted parents to have 2 keys to choose from with identical arrangements in both keys. We play real instruments, so it’s not as easy as telling your computer to change keys. We actually recorded each song twice.
We invited our friend Michael Stein to sing the songs in an alternate key. We sent him recordings of all of the songs and he sent us his best keys for them all. Then we recorded identical arrangements for the alternate keys.
Our vocals were recorded in Maryland at our Community Music Studio. Michael lives in Los Angeles. We made a trip to LA for the GRAMMY Awards and left an extra day to record Michael’s vocals.
Then it’s back in the studio to mix all of the songs. Meanwhile, we invited Dr. Laura G. Brown to help us with her expertise in creating the parent guide.
A neighbor knocked on the door at the Community Music Studio and wanted to introduce us to the work of an artist she represented, James Nocito. We fell in love with Jim’s art. He fell in love with Sing To Your Baby® and we hired him to create the illustrations and book design. For two months we spoke, emailed, critiqued, discussed, and enjoyed the process of helping Jim’s art make this project come alive. He intuitively understood what we wanted the book to look like and the ease with which we wanted parents to be able to use it and enjoy it.
After sending the CD off to a manufacturer and the book design off to a printer, we all held our breath for a few weeks, hoping the final product would coincide with our dreams of the project. We’ve got to say, when we saw the final product, it was breathtaking. The illustrations jumped off the page in ways that the online PDF’s simply couldn’t demonstrate. Jim’s beautiful use of color, brush strokes and patterns are so unique and delightful. This is a very happy project.
So, four years later, we were finished-and ready to send the book off to it’s next adventure, YOU!