Since 2014, the Negaunee Music Institute has partnered with social service organizations supporting pregnant women and new parents by facilitating a songwriting process that results in original lullabies for the participants’ children.
The Institute’s team of songwriters, vocalists, and staff guide the participating parents to:
- Craft lyrics, often starting with a letter written to their child(ren)
- Emphasize phrases and themes that are most important to them
- Develop melodies that match the text
- Choose harmonies and accompaniment that matches each parents’ musical interests and the intentions of the song.
The final songs convey deeply personal expressions of the parents’ love, tenderness, playfulness, and hope for the future.
At the end of the songwriting sessions, parents receive a “field recording” that they can use in their daily interactions with their children. Each spring, the Institute produces a studio recording of select songs arranged for musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Many songs feature the parents singing alongside the CSO and Civic Orchestra musicians.
A project of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, the Negaunee Music Institute is one of approximately 30 musical organizations facilitating this work in communities across the country. In Chicago, the Institute’s partners have included Chicago Childcare Society, SGA Youth & Family Services and Thresholds.
The Institute’s Lullaby recordings can be found on SoundCloud. Lullaby recordings from all of the Weill Music Institute’s partners can be found here.