Jason and Myriah are not musicians, but they are parents, and they love music and sharing it with their son, Vaughn. So, when the opportunity to write a personalized lullaby presented itself, they were ready to try it. Horizons and Longy School of Music partnered to create a unique experience designed to strengthen the bond between parent and child. “At first, I was embarrassed, I thought I would be singing,” Jason, said of his first impressions of the project, but he went into the room with an open mind and a lot of love for his son.
When they went to the first meeting, they were surprised to see they would be meeting with Eric, a student from Longy, one-on-one as he guided them through the process of writing a song. They went through “the raw emotion of being a parent, all the positive, loving emotions you experience,” Jason said. Eric helped draw those emotions out and encouraged them to draw on their own experiences as a family. “We started off as strangers but became close by the end,” Jason said.
During the writing process they drew on their own story, their love for Vaughn and what they wanted to instill in him. They started with an idea but then Jason said, we “let the love of [our] child and the love of [our] family… lead the way.” They started with the first day they met Vaughn. Myriah wrote about hearing his heartbeat for the first time and how everything changed for her. Jason wasn’t in Vaughn’s life until he was two and wrote about going to the park to meet him for the first time. “Vaughn brought us together, our family brought us together, that’s something we wanted to instill in Vaughn.”
“The Lullaby Project was something that I had heard about before Longy and knew it would be a great fit there,” said Roy Lewis, a student at Longy. “I received support from Dean Judy Bose to push the project forward and design a class for the students, to include the songwriting experience where they would be paired with parents to help them write a Lullaby for their child.” Horizons strives to offer opportunities for parents to connect and bond with their children so when Roy reached out to Horizons, the team recognized the value of music and the impact the Lullaby Project could have. “Children who have a healthy relationship with their parents are more likely to develop positive relationships with other people around them and better regulate their emotions when faced with stress and difficult situations. Strong relationships are the foundation of a child’s resilience,” said Jayd Rodrigues, executive director of early education at Horizons. This project had the potential to help families overcoming the trauma of homelessness connect with each other and heal.
The project had a positive impact on all those involved. Jason and Myriah were able to connect with themselves and their son through the process of songwriting, and Eric was able to get real world experience using his songwriting skills and connecting with a client. “The end goal of the project was to promote connection, collaboration, and healing,” Roy said, and the project did just that. “As parents, we are so lucky,” Jason said. “The project brought Myriah and I closer together and gave us the chance to express our love to Vaughn.” Vaughn loves the lullaby and asks his parents to play it for him all the time. Myriah said, it is “very heartwarming to know he can have something when we’re not around or when he goes out into the world, he knows we are always there for him.”
Listen to the lullaby here:
This piece was written by Molly Halpin, a regular contributor to Horizons’ blog.