Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sound - so much more than what meets the ears...


 The longer I work in preschool the more I realise I want to know more about everything and the more I want to ensure that there is something for everyone. The hundred languages concept of Loris Malaguzzi resonated deeply within me... that we all learn using different languages/methods/approaches and that all are valid and necessary.
This has made me want to explore the senses so much more to find out new ways of learning through touch, sight, taste, smell and hearing. Trying to analyse the activities that we do and see how the senses are tantalised - to see if we are using some senses more than others - or even forgetting some senses...

This post will focus on sound - using inspiration from Boulder Journey School...

Of course music is a natural connection to sound...





At Boulder Journey school they asked themselves how much music was being incorporated into preschool...
they discovered that all groups sang, but that there was more singing with the youngest children, the older children tended to have a song meeting once a week - and they also discovered that it was mostly percussion instruments that were made available to the children...
 they invested in a greater variety of instrumentsto allow the children to experiment with different sounds and using their bodies in different ways to create music... including trumpets and didgeridoos  (think that blowing into instruments can strengthen mouth muscles and aid speech development)

They also introduced the idea of sound effects when reading stories to add music and sound enrichment, allowing the children to explore that sound can have different moods/feelings.

They also added chime bells etc to the construction area to see what sort of effect that would have.

They also collected different music - as playing music in a classroom can also affect the atmosphere.

Bringing music into science - that it is not just music on it own, but there is so much to learn using music as a tool.

music and science... the magnet board with ramps and chime bells - can you create music? How does the angle of the ramps influence the music? how does the spacing of the chime bells influence the sound? How can we re-create music that we have made... how can we allow others to recreate a melody that we have made? (Between the chime bells you can see bits of wooden ruler allwoing the children to measure space...

here is a close up of the ramp - more questions - does the choice of ball change the sound of the music? Does the number of chimes, length of ramp. distance between chime and ramp, number of children involved influence the sound of the music?

the wooden ramps were carved out branches with magnets...

I will return to this sound/science project in a later post, together with more information about a project about "The Composition of Wind" to go into more detail about how music and sound can be used more actively in learning.

But it is not just about doing sound projects with the children - sound and music needs to be incorporated in a child's everyday... we need to be more aware of sound... and of course of sound pollution...

Air conditioners can be VERY nosiy... in fact I remember when I had been on a boat between Helsinki back to Stockholm that when I visited a department store the day after I realised that my ears had equated the sound of the engine with the rocking of the boat... so when I was in the department store the whole building started to rock for me as the air-con gently brumming in the background (normally not heard) was interpreted by my ears as the boat's engine (I promptly left the building - and the ricking stopped). So what I am saying with this is that sound and hearing are VERY powerful indeed and that we should not devalue them in any way as just songs or think that song meeting once a week is enough...

think about what you are placing in the construction area - not just from the point of view of challenging the children building and aesthetic awareness - but also about what sounds we can add and how that will contribute to the richness of the experience...

music and sound above nappy/diaper changing area...

this was not put there for music - but just think of the sound possibilities here - as children experiment not only with shapes and patterns but also the difference between tight and slack elastic and how this changes the quality of the sound when plucked... does the width of the plastic have any effect etc etc...

this basket was created as part of a light project - but can equally be used for music too - maybe the children could experiment with creating their own music baskets?

and not to forget the outside... listening to how different materials create sound - metal

wood/bamboo

Of course you can create whole walls of music - like this one above... or using pots and pans and other recycled materials... just use your fanatsy... if you want some ideas about music with children then I recommend that you visit
Child's Play Music
there are LOTS of great ideas of how to create musical instruments, music walls and play with music...

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