In a political world that seems to be increasingly unstable and reactive, we sometimes need to be reminded that beneath and above the divisions of nationalism, religion, politics and socio-economic factors that may bring extraordinary wealth for the few or abject poverty to others, there are facets of life that are common to all.
Birth, death and the biological needs of children are three of these universal factors.
Paediatrician and musical composer Michael Lazarev has spent a lifetime writing musical programmes for children, starting during prenatal life and continuing up to seven years of age. He will be making a presentation on the Prenatal Child and Society to The 1st International Congress on Family Health - the Future of the Planet on the 2nd March 2024.
Music and movement are a child’s first language. In prenatal life and infancy, the developing child assimilates the melodies, rhythms, cadences and phrasing of its mother’s voice, deriving meaning and emotional content from the music of her speech, the timing of her body movements and the unique language betwixt mother and child composed of gestures, mimetic movements, cooing, babbling and song. Lazarev has harnessed the vocabulary of pre-verbal language and translated it into a musical conversation for parents to use with their children in the pre and post-natal years.
His songs are lullabies and nursery rhymes for modern times using the frequencies and rhythms most closely attuned to different stages of child development, irrespective of their mother tongue.
Some of these songs have been woven into a music and movement programme designed to support children’s readiness for learning[i] and to introduce them to a universal language which transcends cultural differences.
[i] Goddard Blythe SA, 2018. Movement, Your Child’s First Language. Hawthorn Press. Stroud.