With music playing a powerful role in a child’s emotional, physical and intellectual wellbeing, Newcastle conductor and composer David Banney is launching a new CD of educational music this Sunday at the HMRI Building.

Called Tigers & Teapots, the CD is a compilation of 40 traditional songs that can enrich a child’s imagination and enhance their musical appreciation. Included are a beautiful Aboriginal lullaby along with translations of songs from Wales (Suo Gan), France (Sleep, Sleep), Russia (The Birch Tree), Hungary (Little Mouse Be Careful) and Finland (The Witch Song).

“Many of the songs are associated with games and dances that add to the enjoyment of the music,” Dr Banney said. “Using traditional words and music means we can be sure that children are singing songs that have stood the test of time.”

Dr Banney is encouraging family members, friends and teachers to help make singing an everyday part of children’s lives.

“Young children love to hear mum and dad sing,” he said. “Sometimes parents are held back by not knowing what to sing, so hopefully this collection will provide the inspiration for further exploration and enjoyment.”

Professor Roger Smith, Director of HMRI’s Mothers and Babies Research Centre, has endorsed the CD, saying that it resonates with his own research work.

“As individuals we’re a product of our culture, and growing up with a good understanding of music places a child in his or her cultural context,” Professor Smith said.

“Health isn’t just the absence of disease but the ability to fully enjoy your life, and mothers have a vital role in this respect, imparting vital aspects of the culture. The arts, which include music, are part of what make us human.”

Professor Smith and Dr Banney are now collaborating on research project that will further explore the symmetry between music and health outcomes of children.