A First-First Listen: Music For Newborns

One-day-old Timea listens to music with headphones
Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine you've never heard music before — never heard a guitar or someone singing. You have no idea what drums are. It's unlikely any of us can fathom a life where this thing called "music" doesn't exist. But unless your parents played something for you in the womb, there was probably at least a short period in your early days on earth when this was true.

This occurred to me shortly after my own child wriggled into the world a couple months ago. So I sent a note out to the Twittersphere: "My newborn has never heard music. What's the first song I should play?"

Twitter users were generous with suggestions, some better than others. Someone said I should play Guns 'N Roses doing "Welcome To The Jungle."

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It's a hilarious pick, but honestly, the notion that my kid was entering an untethered world of wretched chaos was just too depressing. Another user suggested Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Craddle," which is a decidedly more beautiful pick:

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But the story of an absentee father left me cold, too — you were kidding, weren't you, @greenlightgo? So I went with one of my personal favorites: a lovely little song by Will Derrberry called "Lifelong Lullaby." I love the melody and, more importantly, the simple message: Don't let this world get you down, and I'll always be with you.

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It's impossible to say what my kid thought, unless uncoordinated flailing and lip smacking means he loved it. I'd like to think I detected a smile in there somewhere.

Tell us your pick: What's the first song a newborn child should hear? Do you have your own story of the first song or piece of music your child — or a friend or family member's — heard? If you could play it all over again as their first song, would you?

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