Do you ever just stop and really listen to your surroundings? It’s kind of noisy. You might hear the sounds of music or television commercials, the humming of the refrigerator or air conditioner, birds singing, cars driving by, your baby babbling, wind blowing, a coffee maker brewing, the microwave beeping, someone talking, and more. Thankfully, as an adult, you know how to tune in to the sounds that matter most and tune out the sounds you don’t need to focus on. Babies, however, are still working on this skill.
Listen …. what does your baby hear? Like vision, at first, it is all a blur, until baby starts filtering out the unimportant sounds, and tuning in to the sounds that need attention.
Listen… what does your baby hear? Like vision, at first, it is all a blur. Babies start by hearing all the sounds around them, but learn to “tune out” what is not important, and to “tune in to” what should be attended to, by how we interact with them. The art of active listening is an incredible skill we can help them build that can impact their ability to be a good musician, student, and friend.
I hear a ______ . Pick out a sound in the environment, perhaps even the dishwasher. Exclaim, “Oh, I hear the dishwasher.” Pick up Baby and get closer to the dishwasher to truly listen to the sound. This can help baby learn what sounds to expect in her world, and learn to tune them out (or not give them so much attention, so new sounds are more likely to be attended to).
You hear a _______. Perhaps you see your child stop to listen to a new sound. Exclaim: “You hear the train going by.” If possible, try to move Baby to see where the sound is coming from. Imitate the sounds you hear.
I hear an instrument. In front of your child, place two instruments that have different timbres (types of sound), like a shaker and a bell. When they pick one up to play it, talk about what you hear, “I hear a bell… jingle, jingle, jingle. You are shaking the bell (or whatever action they use to explore it).”
I hear YOU, Tell Me More! Model and encourage active listening – and the art of conversation – by talking with your baby. Pause. Listen to your baby’s reply. Then respond by saying, “Tell me more,” or, “That sounds interesting.” Make eye contact and expect to hear more. What a joy for both of you.
You may want to capture this moment in time by writing down how your baby is enjoying this mutual listening:
- What new sounds is your baby recognizing?
- What sound startles your baby?
- Which sounds makes your baby look for the source?
- Whose voice captures their attention most?
- What is their favorite sound to make right now?
- Which instrument do they choose most?
- ??? Share more questions you can think of below.
Or capture their firsts in your baby’s journal…
- When did your baby first turn to look when their name was called?
- When did it seem your baby first responded to being talked to?
- What was the first word your baby recognized and acted upon when it was said?
- What was the first word you recognized the meaning, (even if it didn’t actually sound like the word).
- When did your baby start to say dada or mama?
- When did it first sound like your baby was singing?
- When did it first sound like your baby was matching your pitch?
- Which song did you first recognize they were singing?
- ??? Share more questions you can think of below…
Let’s share our questions, answers, and stories of our fascinating mutual listening with our babies in the comments or in our Facebook conversations.
"One of my goals as a parent was surrounding my children with as many role models of people pursuing their passions as I could. I wanted them to see people doing and teaching things they love and enjoy so that they would learn to pursue their own passions as they grow. I was very fortunate to find Mrs. Debbie Mondale from Kindermusik when my first child was around 14 months and we started our Kindermusik journey as a family. Mrs. Debbie was passionate about music and passionate about making sure children love and enjoy music. She was *always* upbeat, caring, and enthusiastic in class, doing everything she could to connect to the kids on their level and meet them where they needed. If you are looking for a class that will celebrate the uniqueness of your child then you will find it with Mrs. Debbie. She also cares about our family as a whole and worked with me many times with my often difficult schedule to provide us enough flexibility to allow us to attend our classes. When my first child got older I thought she was doing so well with music that we should start piano lessons. She did do very well initially with her piano lessons and I credit Mrs. Debbie with that because I know she introduced many musical concepts in our classes that helped her excel at first in her lessons. While she did very well in her traditional piano lessons and I believe that she would've continued to do well (and eventually be quite proficient at the piano), I noticed a change in her approach to music. She was memorizing pieces for recitals (which she happened to enjoy at first) and practice was very robotic. It wasn't until I started back in Kindemusik classes with my second child did I realize the difference. My first child no longer had the joy and excitement with discovering music like my younger child was now doing in his own classes. She could play the notes, but the passion was gone. I asked Mrs. Debbie if it were possible for her to join the Young Child class for her age group and she graciously agreed. I took my older child to a class and let her decide which she would prefer to do- piano or kindermusik. There was no hesitation- she loved the class and we were back in kindermusik. Now I get to watch both of my children learn and discover musical concepts (sometimes without even realizing that's what they are doing) and I get to see my older child excel at multiple instruments. They are being exposed to music and culture from all around the world and learn musical history. I knew I had made the right choice to return to kindermusik when I saw my older child (without prompting) play one of her kindermusik songs on our piano (with no sheet music) for her younger brother to learn just because they both enjoyed it. I know that kindermusik has helped my children become well-rounded in their appreciation of music. I would highly recommend kindermusik and Mrs. Debbie to any family.!"Karen Strickland - 2018