What instruments do little humans (and adults) like to hear that can help relax them for a good night’s sleep?
If you're looking for the right ingredients to make the perfect song for a child, there are several great choices to pick from in the world of music.
In my journey as a singer, songwriter, and music producer for several different musicians and brands across the globe, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to write several lullabies and nursery rhymes.
When it comes to lullabies, you want to keep everything simple and basic to be the most effective. Studies in psychology show that babies react the best to lullabies and have very few, if any, instruments besides the one I’ll cover first.
You also want to keep it super simple when it comes to chord structure. There is no need to have a complex chord progression, and you may have a better final product without playing any block chords in your final recording.
Your most vital instrument in the lullaby will be a singer's voice. Babies absolutely love the sound of their mom’s voice, so don’t think that you need to hire a singer if you have a sweet female voice yourself.
Babies also like to hear their dads’ voices and the sound of other kids singing, which is why you’ll often hear lullabies with a sweet young voice or a mix of voices from many different ages and genders.
When it comes to the singer's approach, go for a soft, gentle tone that doesn't have much vibrato and isn't doing too many vocal ornaments that can distract the child from the rest they are aiming to get.
Strings are always a pleasing instrument to the ear, and tiny humans are no different! A stringed instrument in a higher range, like a violin or a viola, would be a sweet and simple addition to a lullaby.
What you won’t need is a full string quartet for your lullaby since that would be a bit much for the child’s ears. While many strings together sound absolutely lush and smooth, a child’s ears won’t be able to appreciate it the same.
Bells give a sweet, enticing sound to any song they are featured in, and they ring in a lovely treble sound that puts kids in a good and relaxing mood for sleepy time.
Adding one bell to a lullaby is a simplistic way to elevate your song in a way that won’t bombard the melody.
You may notice that instrumental bells are often found in Christmas carol tunes, which kids really cling to since they sound somewhat similar to nursery rhymes regarding how easy and accessible the melodies are.
A piano or a digital keyboard is a great choice that you can help your child get familiar with music in general, and it's an easily accessible instrument that works well with music for sleeping.
Again, you don’t need to get fancy with chords or a bunch of notes, because that may keep the kid up if the song is too busy.
Electric piano types like the Rhodes piano can provide a more soothing approach to the piano than the typical grand piano can. This is because while the piano is punchy and bright, an electric piano can provide a more muffled and calm sound.
Instruments that use mallets are perhaps my favorite type of instrument to use for lullabies because they feel like a perfect mix between bells and a piano for me, and it adds a simple yet effective element of percussion into the mix.
There are several types of mallet-involved instruments that can be used, including the xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone. Several kids' toys fit into this category of instruments and are flying off the shelves because the youngsters love these so much!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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