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
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