University of Queensland researchers invite first-time mothers to trial the ‘Sing, Soothe, and Sleep’ instructional DVD and learn how to use music to better cope with motherhood, improve bonding and achieve better rest.

Developed by Associate Professors Felicity Baker and Elizabeth MacKinlay, the Sing, Soothe, and Sleep program teaches a range of singing techniques to match the changing emotional states of new babies, such as “grizzly”, “agitated”, or “hyped up”.

In the pilot stage of this project researchers found when mothers sing a lullaby, the volume of her voice, pitch, tempo and tone as well as her patting and rocking styles, all affect how quickly her baby can be settled.

Dr MacKinlay, Anthropologist and Ethnomusicologist, said mothers who used the Sing, Soothe and Sleep program were able to cope with their transition to motherhood much better, reporting they felt calm and able to spend more quality time with their babies.
Dr Baker is the Director of Research at UQ’s School of Music. She said a key to the technique is to match the baby’s temperament musically, and then lower their arousal by slowing down the sing style.

“Mothers learn how to manipulate the singing they produce to connect with their babies,” she said.

“Examples of the lullabies used are ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ followed by ‘Kum Bai Yah’ and ‘Brahm’s Lullaby’,” Dr Baker said.

UniQuest, UQ’s main commercialisation company, is seeking a business partner to take this promising commercial prospect from the Faculty of Arts to the market.

Managing Director of UniQuest, Mr David Henderson, said this is a great example of how university research can become something tangible and be used to improve the lives of people in our communities,” he said.

“It is the research behind the Sing, Soothe and Sleep DVD that makes this so much more than music alone,” he said.

Researchers are trialling the DVD to establish the best method of sharing the ‘Sing, Soothe and Sleep’ program with every new mother.

“Once the results are finalised, UniQuest will be seeking to work with a company who can achieve this,” he said.

Researchers are seeking first time mothers of babies six weeks of age and older to participate in the six week trial. The trial will have two phases of three weeks and participants will be asked to complete a diary and participate in two telephone interviews with the project researchers. Mums wanting to take part in the study should call or text 0457 146 552 or email

Want to be part of the research?

  • Text or call 0457 146 552
  • Email
  • or visit:  and follow the link to Sing, Soothe and Sleep

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