Listening and responding to their own and others’ music-making

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning to listen, describe and identify familiar sounds.
  • We are learning to respond to given sounds.
  • We are learning to think and talk about the sounds that we have made.

What to look for

  • Pupils listening in a focused way for short periods of time
  • Pupils identifying and describing familiar sounds using simple terms
  • Pupils responding imaginatively to a sound made on a percussion instrument
  • Pupils describing the sounds they have made and how they made them

Learning Activities

Give the pupils an opportunity to listen to and discuss a variety of sounds, for example:

  • loud sounds within the classroom:
    • shouts;
    • chairs scraping; and
    • doors banging;
  • quiet sounds within the classroom:
    • clocks;
    • scissors;
    • pencils sharpening; and
    • a tap dripping;
  • sounds outside the classroom:
    • birds;
    • cars;
    • the wind;
    • dogs;
    • insects;
    • planes;
    • voices; and
    • the bell.

Play some simple sound games as part of circle time. You could use:

  • voices:
    • One pupil listens to the others saying his/her name in different ways (fast/slow, high/low and loud/quiet).
    • One pupil closes his/her eyes, listens while three others say his/her name, and tries to guess which of the three voices belongs to his/her best friend.
  • guessing games:
    • Ask one pupil, hidden from view, to play an instrument. Another pupil has to select an instrument that they think makes the same sound from a box.
  • chain of sound:
    • Have everyone take turns to play a simple percussion instrument. Each pupil should only start to play their instrument when the sound before has faded away.

Encourage the pupils to think of images they would associate with given sounds. For example:

  • a drum might represent strong, rhythmic movements, e.g.
    • a giant; or
    • an elephant;
  • bells might represent light, swirling movements, e.g.
    • snowflakes; or
    • butterflies; and
  • a guiro might represent sharp, jagged movements, e.g.
    • Jack Frost; or
    • lightning.

Play a simple game together, for example:

  • the disappearing sound game:
    • Play a long sound, for example on a triangle or chime bar. The pupils close their eyes and listen. When they think the sound has disappeared, they put their hands on their heads.
  • the high/low game:
    • Play high C, then low C. The pupils respond with appropriate high/low movements, for example they stand/sit, or put their hands in the air/touch the floor.
  • the skipping rope game:
    • Explain that the pupils should jump over the skipping rope if they hear a high-pitched sound and go underneath it if they hear a low-pitched sound.

Lead the pupils in a discussion about the sounds that they and others have made.