Exercise: “What we hear”
Objective: To pay attention to sounds.
How to do it: The instructor should tell the children to lay down (or sitting on the chair) with their eyes closed and attend to what they are hearing. They should listen to all the sounds that arrive to their ears. The instructor should provide guidance during the activity, reminding the children every few seconds, “Let’s listen calmly to the sounds around us,” or “Let’s pay close attention so that we can discover more and more sounds.” The instructor should remind the children that if a thought distracts them, they should notice what the thought is about, let it pass like a cloud, and return their attention to the sounds.
Eventually, the instructor should invite the children to discuss whether they began to hear sounds that had previously gone unnoticed.
Exercise: “Types of sounds”
Objective: Attend to sounds. The goal is not to recognize the sounds, but rather to observe them as they are. Examples: high-pitched, low-pitched, harmonious, squeaky, relaxing, lulling, etc.
Material: Objects that can produce sounds.
How to do it: The educator should bring elements with different sounds, for example: cellophane paper, a can with lentils, a water bottle (shake it to make it sound), a spoon in a glass, seed pods that make a sound, etc.
After completing a breathing exercise to calm them down, the instructor should tell the children to sit quietly with their eyes closed. The children should use the previously prepared objects to make different sounds and pay attention to each kind of sound.
The activity should be guided by the instructor with phrases like “Let’s listen carefully and attend to the sound of each object.” Finally, invite them to comment how they describe each sound.
Exercise: “Listening to silence”
Objective: The aim is not to listen or pay attention to sounds, but to listen to the silence. So, if a sound appears, they should not become attached to the sound, but let it pass and take their attention back to silence.
How to do it: This activity is best completed outside, in a truly silent environment. A park or similar location works well when possible.
The instructor should complete a breathing exercise, with the children laying down (if possible) with their eyes closed. Next, the instructor should tell the children to feel their bodies (taking a pause and guiding the children through the sensations in different parts of their bodies), to feel their breath (taking another pause and guiding the children through the entrance and exit of air in the nose) and finally, to listen to the silence in the way that was explained above.
Exercise: “The orchestra”
Objective: To listen carefully and repeat musical notes.
How to do it: After a brief breathing exercise, the instructor should sing or play 3 musical notes and tell the children to attend to the sounds. The instructor should repeat the notes and have the children repeat them, as well. The sequence of notes should be lengthened each time.
If any of the children have trouble picking up the pattern of notes, the instructor should invite them to pay close attention and repeat the notes correctly.
Exercise: “Find the pair”
The instructor should prepare non-transparent containers, each containing a different object that will make a sound when shaken (lentils, rice, rocks, sand, etc.). The containers should be prepared in pairs, such that each can be matched to exactly one other container with the same object. The instructor should place a tag with the name of the contents in the bottom of the container.
After the containers have been mixed, the children should shake them and observe the sound produced by each one. The goal is to find the containers which sound the same. The children should pay attention to the differences between the sounds each container produces.
Exercise: “MARCO – POLO”
Objective: Paying attention and following the sound.
Material: 1 Bandana or blindfold to cover the eyes.
How to do it: One child should cover the eyes with a bandana or blindfold. The rest of the group should join hands and back away from the blindfolded classmate, maintaining the circle as they do so.
The group should begin to play “Marco – Polo” – the child with his or her eyes closed says “MARCO” and the rest of the group responds “POLO”. The blindfolded child must use the sounds as a guide and try to tag one of the other students, who then takes the blindfold and begin the game again.
Exercise: “MY BODY IS A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT”
Objective: This may be an exercise for music lessons. Feel the effect of sounds within the body.
Material: A bell with a very high-pitched sound, a drum with a very low sound, a whistle, a triangle, etc. You can also use sounds previously downloaded from the internet.
The children should be seated on the floor, with their eyes closed. The instructor should ring the bells, telling the children to feel the sound in their bodies (where it vibrates, what each type of sound feels like, etc.).
The instructor should then whistle softly, beginning with the lowest pitches and moving slowly to the highest. It is important to blow softly, staying with each pitch for around 5 seconds.
The children should imitate each sound while observing and paying attention where each sound vibrates within their bodies. The exercise can be done by producing the sound of each vowel: A E I O U. Invite them to maintain the sound as long as the air lasts and observe where each vowel vibrates in the body. They should put the hand in the part of the body they felt vibrating with each vowel. Remind them to be relaxed so that sounds vibrate well.
Exercise: The sounds of nature
Objective: To be fully open to the sounds of nature.
How to do it: In a quiet park or in nature, walk in silence and slowly observing all the sounds of birds, the air, dry leaves that are stepped on, the sounds of trees, etc. Finally, they lay down on the lawn and continue to observe the sounds with their eyes closed.
Dialogue: All speak without raising the voice and ask them how they felt during the walk with the sounds.