In the sleepy, surreal days after having my first child, Lola, I started to make up songs to sing her as she slept in that strange rolling crib-thing next to my hospital bed. I'm certainly not the first songwriter to be newly inspired by having a baby, but the effortless way the melodies arrived in my head while watching her was pretty wild.

I started the violin at age five, playing in every ensemble and orchestra high school had to offer, and began to write my own songs in college. As an early twenty-something I picked up the guitar and taught myself, mostly because of a Boston band I loved named Belly and its lead singer Tanya Donnelly, who I thought was the coolest.

Fast forward to the late nineties in New York City. I was writing lots of songs at this point and took the incredibly scary leap of performing them for actual people. Granted, I knew or was related to almost all of them, but it was petrifying nonetheless. I felt sick all day before a gig but absolutely thrilled afterward. I knew that music was it for me, and there went the corporate job, along with its wonderfully regular paycheck.

I walked by a kids' music school a short time later and the idea of sharing music with little ones instantly appealed to me. I became a music teacher and loved it, and saw that the most fun parts of class were when the children were up and moving: wiggling, stretching, dancing. Having practiced yoga for years, I had the idea to combine music and yoga as a way to fully engage kids - giving them the wonderful benefits of yoga, plus the joy and benefits of hearing lots of different styles of music.

So when I got certified (through Next Generation Yoga and Baby Om, both in New York City) and began teaching kids' yoga, I brought along my guitar and a few tunes I had written for the class. Instant hit: the kids loved it when I sang and played, and they always asked for more music! They learned the songs incredibly fast, sang along, and easily remembered the poses that went with them.

I created Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids, and began writing more and more songs to use in class, and here we are with "Dance for the Sun." My daughter was my focus group of one - I knew a song was a keeper if I heard her singing it to herself in her room. Quite a few song ideas came from her!

Recording "Dance for the Sun" happened in fits and starts over 2006, since I also have the rather time-consuming job of taking care of two little ones. I was lucky enough to have family involved in the recording: my cousin Beau produced the album and played all the amazing percussion, and my big brother Tom's is the deep bass voice you hear on three of the tracks. And the OmGirls (Lola and four of her friends) were amazing singing and roaring and bzzzzz-ing for a bunch of the songs. It was quite an adventure to wrangle five four- and five-year olds in the recording studio for take after take of the same song (hint: jellybeans help).

Please write and let me know what you think of "Dance for the Sun," how you're using it at home, what your kids' favorite songs are, or anything else. Unless of course you're like me, and have a couple of kids and don't get enough sleep and the thought of writing is hilarious because you can't even respond to all the emails in your inbox, in which case don't worry about it, and I hope to see you at a family yoga concert soon!


- Kira Willey, founder of Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids



 ©2006 Fireflies Musical Yoga For Kids, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED