Claire Bryant, a cello professor and the coordinator of Bridging Our Distances, is leading a program created by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute that pairs incarcerated expecting mothers with professional musicians. As a National Partner of Carnegie Hall's Lullaby Project, faculty and students from University of South Carolina School of Music are helping these mothers write personalized lullabies to their children.
Under Professor Bryant’s leadership, School of Music students and faculty met with incarcerated women at Columbia, South Carolina’s Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institute who have recently given birth. Their efforts focus on allowing these women to speak to their babies through lullaby lyrics that are written by the inmates, but performed and recorded to music composed by USC School of Music faculty and students for babies to listen to.
These efforts highlight a key mission of the University of South Carolina and the School of Music — to educate our state’s citizens through community engagement, and in doing so, to make the state and nation around us a better place.
We’re there in a place that literally does not have hope. That is a humbling experience, and it reminds me to remember why we play music and what the power of music can look like.
– Claire Bryant, Assistant Professor of Cello, USC School of Music
As a National Partner of Carnegie Hall's Lullaby Project, faculty and students from School of Music are helping these mothers write personalized lullabies to their children. This program helps support maternal health and the child’s development.
Several Columbia reporters, including journalists from The Post and Courier Columbia and WACH-57, along with Scripps national correspondent Tomas Hoppough interviewed program participants at the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institute.
Ashley is one of four women who participated in the program. She wrote these lyrics especially for her 2-month-old daughter Isabelle:
"This is only a moment.
Please don't forget me.
Feel my arms around you.
You are the best of me — Mama's world."
Bryant hopes to continue the partnership with SC Department of Corrections next semester.
About the USC School of Music
The University of South Carolina School of Music believes music is an essential component of the human experience. Our mission is to prepare our students to be skilled music leaders to ensure that they advance the quality of life in their communities by helping to make others happier, healthier, more hopeful and more fulfilled through the power of music. We do this not only by advancing musical instruction at the highest level for students' professional preparation, but also by leveraging the actual daily work done by students and faculty in the teaching and learning of music to unlock music’s unlimited potential to improve lives throughout the Midlands and beyond.