“We go way beyond The Itsy Bitsy Spider and singalongs. Our classes are about helping parents use music to be more in tune with their baby, more connected, more joyful, and altogether more confident in their parenting.”-Vered Benhorin, Creator, Baby in Tune
Vered Benhorin, Founder of Baby in Tune, has created an environment for new parents to bond with not only their baby, but also with one another, while communicating through music. “The music brings an element of community that is beyond words and that comes straight from the heart” she explains.
The support her classes provide among Brooklyn moms is unparalleled, and the social benefits music brings to baby is as instrumental to their development as the peer-to-peer bonding is for mom’s postpartum recovery.
She encourages moms to ‘give it a try’, even to those of us worried about not being able to carry a tune. “Your baby doesn’t care if you ‘have a good voice’ or ‘are musical’. Your baby wants to hear YOU sing, more than Jack Johnson, more than Raffi, more than Lizzo. YOU.”
We are thankful to have had the opportunity to momentarily get inside this talented musician and creator’s head to learn more and share Baby in Tune with the Brooklyn Bump community.
First of all, I love what you’re doing and as an expecting mom, am so thankful to have this resource in the borough.
As a strong believer in the power of music in correlation with development, mood and overall well being, it’s easy (for me) to see why this is such a beautiful resource available to parents in the area. For those who may question “why music?” or “aren’t they a little young for a music class?”, how would you describe the impact a class like the ones offered at Baby in Tune have on our growing little ones and their caregivers alike?
Okay, so before I get into what makes our classes unique and the huge impact they have on both the baby and the caregiver, let’s look at ‘why music’.
Babies respond to music from day one. In fact, even in vitro. We tend to notice this intuitively when we see how our babies are easily soothed by a song, or light up when we sing to them – But there are also many studies showing this. For instance, its been shown that babies prefer to hear singing over speaking. It relaxes them for longer periods of time and they are simply more interested.
There are also studies showing how babies respond to rhythm – preferring to be in sync with a rhythm, and even modifying their own movements to match a rhythm. Music is soothing, reduces our stress levels, makes us happier. And best of all, because it is coming from an emotional place, not an intellectual one, it increases our connection with our baby.
Our classes specifically, are not like the regular music classes out there. We go way beyond The Itsy Bitsy Spider and singalongs. Our classes are about helping parents use music to be more in tune with their baby, more connected, more joyful, and altogether more confident in their parenting.
We teach parents how to use music – tone, rhythm, breath, melody – in order to soothe, establish routine, find new ways to play, enrich, and communicate with their baby. There is also a strong element of group therapy in our classes, through discussion and song. Parents tend to become very bonded with each other and build lasting supportive communities.
So to answer your question – the impact our classes have – to make this period of raising a baby less stressful, less isolating, and a whole lot more joyful.
With your background in clinical psychology and your time studying the bonds between mother and baby, did you ever imagine your path leading you here?
Absolutely not. Before studying clinical psychology I was set on being a rockstar 🙂 If you had told me I would end up recording albums for families and would build my career on working with parents and babies I would have balked.
But parenting is humbling. And it teaches us who we are and what is important to us. What I eventually realized, is that my baby brought all of the pieces of me together – the rockstar, the psychotherapist, the music therapist, and the mom.
I love that and the thought of our children bringing the pieces of ourselves together. Well said.
So what was it that inspired the importance of music in-particular and did your own experience with this type of development influence your decision to launch Baby in Tune?
When I had my baby I didn’t sing at all for the first months. I was busy pumping, feeding, overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and in pain. You know how it goes. It surprised me that I didn’t want to sing to him because I was a musician. But it just didn’t flow and I couldn’t push it.
One day I tried to sing a bit. I noticed how my baby became much more alert. He gazed at me and waited for more. That day I realized that for me music was a way in to motherhood and to my baby.
I went on to write songs that were inspired by my time with my baby and also by my experience in psychology. By the time the album was done I realized my next steps – to help other parents connect with their babies, and with themselves as parents, through music.
How has your vision evolved since the time of original conception?
Good question. The first group I did was with my own parent cohort. I taught it for free and just wanted to see how it went over.
It was a huge success and others started asking as well. Eventually I built a curriculum for each age group that was based on stages in development. It was very important to me to have small ranges so that I could really focus on where the babies, and the parents, were at.
Although the business has grown – I now have 4 other instructors working as well – in many ways the vision is still the same. It is to help parents bring out their own inner voice in order to connect with their baby, all while being supported by the voices around them.
Your classes and groups seem to have a great sense of community and it’s easy to see the love and care you’ve created for fostering support among your attendees. Why is that so important to your vision and the environment at a Baby in Tune class?
In attachment theory, research shows that in order for caregivers to truly connect with their baby they need to be emotionally available to do so. Right from the start I knew that these classes needed to be for the parents as well. Raising a baby challenges every fiber of our being. We need a place to feel supported, to feel that we are not alone in our difficult emotions, and just to vent.
But talking is not enough. The music brings an element of community that is beyond words and that comes straight from the heart. I believe that is a big reason our communities tend to stick together.
How early would you recommend they come to class after birth and what can a new mom expect to experience her first time visiting?
Our classes start as soon as the parent is ready to comfortably leave the house with the baby and join a group. We have had babies starting at 3 weeks. Most of the babies start around 2 months.
That first stage is really the best time to start our classes. In those first classes we talk about soothing and how to get through bedtime – basically survival tools. It is also important during that time to have a good support group that feels joyful and receptive as ours tend to be.
Where are they held? How do they sign up?
Many of our classes take place in people’s homes. We have found that it is a great way for parents to build a community within a 5 block radius, which is important in our city living. Hosts receive the class for free.
If anyone would like to host they should reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can walk you through the steps. It is quite simple to do and couldn’t’ be more convenient.
We also hold classes at various venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. To see the schedule and sign up go to www.babyintune.com/classes.
Additionally, the music I create can be found on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes – @Vered.
Any future classes or new concepts we should be looking out for?
Yes – I am always working on something….
This year I have been working on making an Online Course for Baby in Tune so that it is available to parents in all corners of the world and not just in NY.
I will be launching it again in the spring.. It is 6 modules, 17 videos all together, teaching parents how to use music to connect with their baby. To read more about that you can go to http://babyintune.com/baby-in-tune-online-class/
That’s so exciting! What a great resource for parents around the globe.
And lastly, if you were to share one piece of advice to a mom who’s considering music as a positive source of development for her babe, what would that be?
My advice would be this – your baby just wants to hear you sing. You DO NOT need to be a good singer, or a musician. You just need to sing.
In our classes we talk about vulnerabilities that we feel when we sing and how to get through them. We ALL feel them. Even musicians.
So for anyone with a baby, just try it. Sing along with a song you put on, or maybe even come up with a silly ditty about what you are doing.
Your baby doesn’t care if you ‘have a good voice’ or ‘are musical’. Your baby wants to hear YOU sing, more than Jack Johnson, more than Raffi, more than Lizzo. YOU.