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A gift for baby: free CD of Scottish songs

Every newborn in Scotland is to receive a specially-compiled classical CD to inspire love of music.

TV presenter and mum of two, Sarah Heaney, launched the campaign
TV presenter and mum of two, Sarah Heaney, launched the campaign

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has teamed up with the Association of Registrars of Scotland to offer a disc to babies born in the 12 months from October 15.

The recording will be distributed to all 220 offices across Scotland and is expected to reach up to 60,000 families.

The compilation titled Astar (Gaelic for 'journey') features Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and classical works to help new parents communicate, play and rest with their new arrivals, the RSNO said.

Tunes include the Skye Boat Song, Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa' and works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Debussy.

The CD was recorded by the RSNO and RSNO Junior Chorus, led by music director Peter Oundjian.

Mr Oundjian said: "When I was an infant my godfather gave me a tiny record player. I would place it under the family piano and put on my prized recording of Peter and the Wolf.

"It became my sanctuary, a place where I knew I could find joy.

"I have found that the power and beauty of music can truly transform lives and I seriously hope that the recipients of Astar enjoy many hours of shared pleasure to this wonderful music."

Recent studies have shown that listening to music has a positive impact on young children's cognitive development, the RSNO said. It can improve mood and help with communication, co-ordination and bonding.

The CD is divided into three sections - wake, play and nap.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, said: "This delightful project will encourage an early introduction to the joy of music for Scotland's youngest children.

"It will help to give babies the best possible start in life, strengthen the building of parent-child bonds, and encourage families to use music to enhance learning in the home."

The project is supported by Creative Scotland's First in a Lifetime programme.

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