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Listening is loving.

Updated: May 30, 2022

'Listening is loving' ... three little words from music therapist, songwriter and author Jeffrey Friedberg. These words really struck a chord with me this week. They prompted me to reflect on my own teaching practices and consider, yet again, how important it is to me that 'listening' form the bedrock of my guided music and story sessions.

I recognised that there are three different types of listening that take place in these sessions: focussed listening; attentive listening; active listening. This week I wanted to share my thoughts on focussed listening.

FOCUSSED LISTENING: I love providing opportunities for children to focus their attention on a single sound. What do you hear? It could be a recording (or a real sound) of the rain or an animal noise. Listen to those chickens! Can you make a sound like those chickens with me? Or perhaps the sound of my guitar, rainstick or other featured instrument.

When children are given the opportunity to attentively focus their listening, what they're really doing is building their brains auditory processes - they're growing their ability to discriminate among different sounds and training their hearing to focus on what sound is relevant and what sound is simply auditory noise. These skills are vital components of literacy and language. Research has demonstrated that children who have better auditory processing skills, have better literacy skills when they get to school.

In this riotous world of ruckus and noise, what could be a more loving gift that to provide moments for quiet and focussed listening - together.

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