May 2006

Music and Mother's Day:  Songs My Mother Taught Me

Do you remember your mother  singing to you?   Usually there is a mother or mother figure from our childhoods that sang to us, lulled us with song, and often taught us many of life's important lessons through song.  Not surprisingly, these songs become more and more important to us as we get older. I am constantly encouraging new mothers and even pregnant mothers to sing to their child.  The emotional bond that is created is so very important and, as an adult, can bring comfort, solace and joy when heard as adult. 


One of the powerful stories related to me by a patient was of a woman, paralyzed by an accident, who was waiting in her wheelchair to be picked up for a doctor's appointment. Before her ride could get there, a sudden ice storm blew in to town and falling trees blocked the street where the  woman lived.  Not only that, but the power went out and while the woman was patiently waiting, her  apartment began to get colder and colder.  In attempt to set her thermostat up, the lady fell from her wheelchair onto the floor and could not get up.  The woman lay there, helpless on the floor, and began to cry  softly.  Suddenly the idea came to her to hum the song that was the first one she ever remembered her  mother singing to her; the song was a very familiar one to many of us, "Jesus Loves Me."  She would hum the song  for awhile and then she would sing it for awhile.  She claimed later that it not only helped the time pass, but it also made her feel physically warmer and safe.  When she was rescued many hours later, everyone was amazed at what good condition she was in, since she had laid on the floor for probably 4-5 hours!


The songs we learn in early childhood from mother or another significant adult figure, are powerful.  I can remember as a preschooler lying in the bed at night and listening to my mother play "The Teddy Bear's Picnic."  Going to bed listening to her play was a wonderful feeling and made me want to learn to play too.  You don't have to be a good musician or even have a great voice to sing to your children and grandchildren, but what a gift it is!  As I approach my grandmother years, my childhood memories of songs my parents sang to me and with me grow fonder and fonder.   Are you singing to your kids?  Do you listen to music with them, even just in the car?


The bond that music creates between people is powerful and can empower both of you to love better, stronger and longer.  Pick up the phone and sing "You are my Sunshine" or "Let me call you sweetheart" or most anything that will make your child (or your parent!) feel loved on this special day.


I have a CD of lullabies that I recorded last year and on the cover is a picture of my mother with me on her lap.  You can purchase the CD or the download here:  Here is the link


I also have a CD of songs from the 20's, 30's, and 40's that I recorded last year and that has a picture of my mother and me me a couple of years ago.   You can purchase the CD or the download them here:  Here is the link



By the way, my summer  and fall calendar of speaking engagements is filling up.  If you'd like for me to visit YOUR town and present and talk or a workshop on "The Healing Power of Music,"  "Music as Medicine," "Toning  and Chanting for Health and Wellness" or any other music related topic, contact me soon!  The contact page is on this site!


            Happy Mother's Day!   




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Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW


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