Diving Deeper - Learning to listen by Robyn Stewardson
Still. Quiet. Listening to nothing. The littlest children in our classes are great at listening and the older ones get great at it. Funnily enough, it is harder for them as they get older, but the babies? They’re expert! That ability to just sit in the moment and focus, listening, in the case of our classes, to nothing – the absence of the music track we have just paused – is something that we adults can struggle with (we need to fill the space with ‘stop’ and ‘shhhh’), but not the babies.
Every child is different. They come out that way — the way they are — and, despite what I believed for many, many years before becoming a parent, there doesn’t seem to be much of their personality that nurture can change — it is set (although this is purely from observation, I’m not quoting any particular research here). There are, however, ways to help children build certain skill sets.
Is hearing the same as listening? It takes no skill to hear something, but you realise when it gets complex (that ‘tone’ in your partner’s voice can help you notice!), or a list of instructions, that you need to start listening properly, and it is something that you can learn. In this article ‘Listening to Music’ from education.com the authors find that the ability to listen involves more than just hearing. It requires children to focus their minds on the sounds perceived. Haines and Gerber (2000) state, “This ability to pay attention is not innate but it is a learned skill, and the young child needs training and help to acquire it”. They go on to say that "…children cannot develop a high level of listening skill unless attentive listening is stressed".
Children are constantly taking in all that surrounds them, but music can foster complex listening skills alongside creativity, self-esteem and self-expression. Learning to listen also means learning to follow instructions and to co-operate within a group, allowing time for others to talk – valuable lessons, not only for school preparation, but for life.
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." Stephen R. Covey
In our Mini Maestros classes we help children to develop their listening abilities in a number of ways. From our littlest learners pricking up their ears when we pause a musical track, and all stop playing our instruments, leading to reactions that can be as small as a blink and as significant as a smile and/or vocalisation. It can be as simple as a peek-a-boo or ‘freeze’ activity, learning to hear the end of a musical phrase. The children listen for actions in songs as we mime holding our hand to our ear to help them focus their senses and, as they grow in ability, then strain to listen for the sound of a bell to indicate it’s time to put their instrument down until they again hear the bell and pick the instrument up.
In the older classes, games with blindfolds help to hone these burgeoning skills as a child must point to where the sound originates whilst another child, singing, moves around outside the circle they are sitting in. Each age group builds on the learning of the previous ones and their ability to focus and concentrate is developed.
In addition to children taking part in Mini Maestros structured music and movement classes, you can help build your child’s listening ability in a number of ways, including playing fun activities and games together like those in this list. As with so many things we realise as parents, modelling good listening will speak volumes to your child, and be one of their best teachers. Give them your attention.
“Listening shows kids they matter, we love them and their words are important.” ToddlerApproved.com
Make the most of this time while your child is young and spend quality time together – they grow up in the blink of an eye.
- What's happening in Term 2?
- Mini Maestros At Home Educational Activities e-Pack
- Zoom Zoom Zoom With Bumblebee - By Melissa Eilers
- 7 Things to Keep your Toddler Occupied When they Have to be Quiet - By Kate Phillips, Rowville Teacher
- Contemplating During COVID - By Kate Sadler Mini Maestros Kew/Balwyn
- How Music is Like the Clothes We Wear - By Pip Hargrave
- Inter-Generational Music Making = Strengthening Friendships Through Songs and Dance by Jo Irwin, Macedon Ranges Franchisee.
- Diving Deeper - Music from Around the World - Janet Collins
- Why Have Concerts? - By Maddy Kelly, Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Music and Mood Enhancement
- Diving Deeper - Music and Vocabulary By Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo.
- Diving Deeper - Lullaby and good night - hopefully... By Judy O'Neill
- Kodály, Orff, Dalcroze and Suzuki - By Jo Irwin - Mini Maestros Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Franchisee
- Mini Maestros Customer App
- Diving Deeper - Connection by Maddy Kelly - Mini Maestros' Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Imagination. By Caroline Paterson
- Diving Deeper - Creativity by Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo Franchisee
- Interview with Dr Anita Collins – By Esther Bertram
- Onlooker Learners - By Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head Of Teaching
- Meet The Team - Ally Hvalica
- Music and Intellectual Development - By Alison Cusack & Linda Repic
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 1 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 2 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Physical Skills - By Taryn Wright
- Inter-generational music making is building healthy communities
- Writing Music Down - by 3MBS
- Diving Deeper - Social Skills by Kate Rice
- The Importance of Repetition
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Esther Bertram - Marketing and Franchise Development Manager
- Meet the Team - Jo Irwin
- Diving Deeper - Imagination and Music By Lisa Marcolin
- Speech Development - Stories from Parents by Annette L. Graham
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 1 of 2
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 2 of 2
- Meeting the Head Office Team - Maddy Kelly
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Bruce Fethers - Co-owner & Managing Director
- Diving Deeper - Dance - by Cathy Edgar
- The Senses - By Robyn Grose
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Jennifer Smith - Co-owner & Music Director
- The Power of Music in Expressing Children's Emotions by Chantelle Alvaro
- Play - By Kate Howard
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Stephanie Migliore
- Relationships - By Ally Hvalica
- Developmental Milestones - By MaryRose Harrison
- Stories From Parents/Grandparents - Bobbie Carroll
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Monika Szilagyi
- JOY by Tiff Ikin
- Music Education
- Peekaboo Scarves by Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- All Shapes of the World
- Music Forever
- Children of Tomorrow: Thoughts On Mindful Music Education in the Early Childhood Space
- Nurturing the Love of Music
- Music. Feel it all over.
- Mini Maestros - It's Not Just About The Children.
- The Creative Life
- 5 Simple Ways to Nurture Creativity in Our Children
- Discovering the Joy of Music
- Five Alternative Ways to Say "Well Done!"
- "Good morning Bumblebee"
- A Mini Maestros Moment
- The exchange between teacher and child
- The joy of being a new mum, and the importance of connection learning and play
- BABIES CLASSES - a very special and important time for you and your child.
- 5 Ways To Jam With Your Child At Home
- Was Your First Mini Maestros Class What You Expected?
- Learning an Instrument