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Beyond their ability to lull babies to sleep, lullabies offer a myriad of benefits that shape the early stages of their lives. From fostering a deep bond between parent and child to nurturing emotional well-being and cognitive development, lullabies are a treasure trove of holistic benefits that deserve our attention.

This playlist is a mixture of songs I (we) listened to whilst I was pregnant, and songs that have since struck a chord with my daughter Charlotte. Charlotte and I listen to music quite actively, by moving, dancing and singing. We also listen to a wide range of genres, so it makes me so happy to see she is as at home dancing to Dua Lipa dance tracks as she is with Tchaikovsky! The songs I’ve chosen for this playlist have all in some way influenced Charlotte, or myself during my pregnancy, and into the almost 18 months we’ve had together since her birth. I didn’t choose songs to listen to during my pregnancy that I thought would necessarily be soothing per se, but songs that made me happy and brought me joy. I felt that the happier I was during my pregnancy, something of that must get through to her.

Freya Franzen's Soothing Songs for Mum and Bub

Haley Reinhart - Can’t Help Falling in Love

Three months into my pregnancy, my husband Saul (Principal 3rd Horn with the MSO) and I got married and we asked people if they wished to give a gift, they could contribute to our ‘piano fund’. Saul’s piano skills are much more accomplished than mine, so I decided I’d start off with a song I’d recently sung at my brother’s wedding, the Haley Reinhart version of Cant Help Falling in Love. It has a very simple chord structure and suited my much lacking skill set! I would sing and play it A LOT. It drove Saul a bit crazy, but in those early months when sleep was scarce and we were both finding it hard to settle Charlotte, playing that song on Spotify would always do the trick. Even if she didn’t fall asleep, she would stop crying to listen. I found that really beautiful.

A.Vivaldi - Four Seasons ‘Autumn’

When I was 34 weeks pregnant, I did a regional tour with MSO and had the utter pleasure of playing the solo part of Autumn in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I thought that all the practice, and the adrenaline hit of performance might affect Charlotte, even a little kick of acknowledgment. But in actual fact she was always the most still in those moments!! It left me wondering if she even liked the sound of the violin or not, as she was quite active in the womb. Even now I don’t think she responds that favourable to the violin, even though I play around her a lot, and did so whilst pregnant.

MSO blog Freya Franzen playlist 2 1200x800
Freya's daughter, Charlotte

Khatchaturian - ‘Andantino’ from Children’s Album Book 1 Op. 62

[Charlotte] does however love hearing piano music, and the French horn, which are the instruments my husband plays. So when the Khachaturian Andantino played on Spotify, a total coincidence brought on by a random shuffling playlist, Charlotte was drawn to the music and just started dancing this beautiful slow ballerina like dance. We’d never shown her the moves, it was all just gorgeously intuitive and natural. She has done the same kind of thing listening to Saul play the horn solo from the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. It’s a very special kind of freedom to see someone, especially your 1 year old daughter just start moving like that!

Eva Cassidy - Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I found singing to Charlotte early on was sometimes easier as you get used to each other, and as a new Mum, getting the hang of talking to your baby. It’s not always that straight forward! I would sing her Somewhere Over the Rainbow a lot, and as such I’ve included Eva Cassidy’s version, which I find stunning, original and moving.

W.A. Mozart- 12 Variationen Ah vous dirais- je, Maman (twinkle twinkle)

As a now 17-month-old, Charlotte is very reactive to music. She often wakes up in the morning, and says to Saul and I “mumics (music), dance, kitchen”!! It’s not a bad way to wake up, really! She is also now singing along with us for a few of her favourite songs like “Pinkle Pinkle” (Twinkle, Twinkle) and “rainbow song” (Sing a Rainbow). I’ve included the Mozart 12 Variations for piano on what we know as Twinkle Twinkle, because she now recognises the many guises that tune takes on (Alphabet song, Baa Baa Black Sheep etc.). It was inevitable having musicians as parents that Charlotte would be exposed to a lot of music, and a broad range of genres at that. I’m so happy that there is so much music that resonates with her. Her experience of music reminds Saul and I why we do what we do, and why we are passionate about sharing that with others.

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