UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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British Journal of Music Education
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Felicity Baker and Elizabeth Mackinlay
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This paper reports on an education programme conducted with first-time mothers. The study aimed to establish whether mothers found an education session on lullaby singing beneficial for them and their babies as well as reporting what lullabies were sung and why. Twenty first-time mothers were provided with examples of lullabies and asked to sing lullabies to their babies at bedtime at least four times per week over a six-week period. Data contained in interviews and in diaries kept by the mothers were used to evaluate the value of the education session, the range of lullabies sung and their frequency of use, and to gain insight into mothers' thinking when choosing lullabies. Results indicate that mothers sing a broad range of lullabies utilising a repertoire of between five and seven lullabies. Reasons for selecting lullabies varied between the different mothers and for different lullabies but most frequently, selections were based on the perception that they were quietening, calming or relaxing for their babies. Selections were also based on whether mothers knew the lullabies and were confident to sing them. The education session was evaluated with mothers reporting on how singing lullabies facilitated a deeper understanding of their babies' responses, and enhanced their own feelings associated with motherhood. Recommendations are made as to the type and context of future education sessions. 
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