Children are often aware of sounds that adults shut out. The small sounds that children hear and focus on during a period of comparitive silence provide a good way of enhancing listening skills. Talk about the sounds you have heard – this is a good way to develop vocabulary- and imitate sounds such as a dog barking, a siren, a bird call. Encourage children to feel their own heartbeats. Make them aware that they have a constant rhythm within their own bodies.
In planning listening experiences during a class be aware of the three phases of listening skills that need to be nurtured in young children:
Awareness of sounds (making children aware of the presence or absence of sounds)
Discrimination (Being able to tell the difference between sounds).
Sequencing (Being able to listen and copy a pattern of sounds).
Set and maintain a routine by placing a quiet listening time during the same period every day. This could be outside, listening to the environmental sounds around. This is a fabulous thing to do if you are by the sea, or in the country. What are the changes you notice? The changing sounds of the seasons, the quiet or busy sounds of the traffic etc.
Parents can listen to a piece of music with their child and discuss the parts of music they really enjoyed. How did the music make you feel? Was it fast or slow? Did you hear the ukulele, guitar, or trumpets, flutes, strings, bassoon or the drums?
Listen and see if you can identify the instrument families of the orchestra: Strings, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion. Take children to concerts.
Create a sounds table containing a variety of sound-making objects such as shells, stones, sticks, leaves, of different sizes. Ask questions. Is this a loud sound, a soft sound, a rough sound, and smooth sound, is this a high sound or a low sound?
Sing echo songs, play echo games.
WHY SHOULD TEACHERS AND PARENTS LISTEN AND NOT TALK DURING A MUSIC CLASS?
One of the primary aims of our Musical Play classes is to develop children’s listening. We want your children to be able to listen, identify songs, instruments, to listen insightfully to songs and music including recorded music, and to be able to follow sung instructions.
When teachers or parents talk, especially during recorded songs such as “Bubbles Pop” it gives their children a clear signal that listening to music is not important, that it is just background music. Children are bombarded with noise and background music and quickly learn to switch off their listening ears. But we want the children to be able to go to school able to listen and follow instructions, to be able to follow musical sequences, to hear the form of the music, to follow a sequences of sounds, musical phrases and musical form. We have noticed an increase in parents taking time to talk to each other through group music. This builds up the noise level, it makes it much harder to reach children when they can’t hear because of talking, and it takes a lot more energy for the music facilitator to conduct enjoyable, successful music classes. WE WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO BE GREAT LISTENERS AS THIS IS A CRUCIAL PART OF LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF MUSIC. Please listen with your children and take time to socialise afterwards. We want you to form friendships in our musical play classes as this is a huge part of our music philosophy of musical parenting, musical play and music community.