Ooooh, the cool weather arrived in Florida… finally. The wind is blowing through the trees and rustling the leaves. And the sounds of many mysterious characters fill the air this week. What a wonderful season for active listening, and mimicking the sounds we hear.
There are several articles on this website focused on active listening, a description of timbre, the benefits, and some good methods for approach. (see the list with links below). Exploring sounds and timbres are a key component in our Kindermusik classes and events.
Today, we are simply focused on the wonderful sounds of the season.
Since babies are not yet ready for abstract ideas, it is best to point out a sound while you can see it occur, label what it is and try to mimic the sound. As children are ready for more, it is still important to label and mimic to help with their language and articulation, as well as expanding on varieties in the sound – exploring more options and how to make the sounds themselves. And around 2 1/2 – 3 years old, they are ready to use the sound effects during fun storytelling.
As children identify these sounds in such a positive way, it helps them associated the sounds with pictures in their mind that are not so scary. Wouldn’t you rather have a good guess in your mind about what certain sounds could be, rather than to hear a sound that is completely unfamiliar?
Finding the real sounds is always the best place to start. But if real is not available, or if you want to use the sounds for a story, find other ways to make the sounds, using just your breath and voice, or finding other objects to make the sounds.
Finding and Focusing on Fall Sounds
– Could also be sounds of a Haunted House
- Wind blowing through doorways and windows (blowing air through hands, or over tops of bottles)
- Wind blowing through the trees, rustling the leaves (fill clear bag with dried leaves, fill with air, shake)
- Crackling of the dried leaves (crunching paper is a good substitute – like all that junk mail)
- Tapping and breaking of dried branches
- Creaking & squeaking of door hinges or swing set chains as they sway in the wind
- Clunking screen doors (pretend play with wood blocks)
- Windows rattling (shake aluminum pans)
- Curtains rustling (shake open up sheets or towels)
- Wind chimes (find some, or make your own)
- Geese flying south, and other birds
- Thunderstorm sounds (larger aluminum pans or cookie sheets)
- Horse drawn carriages (horse sounds – trotting & neighing, creaky carriage)
Exploring the Wild & Wonderful Animal and Characters of Halloween
- Cats – Yowl (pinched voice rising high quickly then gradually lowering)
- Wolves – Howl (Long extended high vocal with very slow lowering)
- Snake – Hissssssss (try getting louder and softer)
- Owl – Hoooot (Sometimes try short starts of the sound before the long oooo)
- Mouse – Squeek (a very high pitched sound, raising slightly in pitch)
- Bat – Swoop (a very breathy voice, use a lot of air . . . and hand movements)
- Ghosts – booooo (vocal glides raising higher and lower)
- Witches laugh – Cackle (try all kinds of laughter, and pick the witchiest one)
- Monsters – Groaning in Deep low voices
- Robots or Alien spaceships or characters (this is very fun creative play)
When Spitfire (alias name for my daughter) was 2 1/2 years old, she wasn’t at all interested in saying Trick or Treat. Hearing about ghosts at first, she was a little nervous about the dark, and potential scary things. But after many poems and short stories, she began to be intrigued, so we got her a ghost outfit, so she could pretend to be the ghost in the story. For Halloween, she was determine to be a ghost, and delighted in making ghost sounds. She thought she was the scariest thing around. She would walk up to the people at the houses, and even up to teenagers that had those gruesome bloody scary masks and would continue to make scarier and scarier ghost sounds. Often I had to warn them, “If you’ll just act scared or surprised, she will stop and move onto the next person.” Honestly, she cared more about scaring people than getting the candy. For her, pretending to be the scary one helped her overcome her fears.
As we choose our Halloween costumes for the year, we now love to explore the different sounds that would be made by that character, songs that would accompany that character, or phrases that would typically be uttered by that character. Spitfire delighted in being a cat, and a horse and exploring ALL of the sounds they make. This year, she specialized in the catch phrases and energy building sounds of Aelita, a virtual character from the anime show Code Lyoko. Ace (alias for my teenage son) delights in capturing catch phrases (otherwise known as meme’s in the teenage world) for the vampire he likes to embody). And my husband and I enjoy the classical bantering and swooning as we play the parts of Gomez and Morticia Adams.
But characters and Fall sounds do not have to be scary. Just listen…
You may also be interested in other articles on this website encouraging active listening with young children:
- Listen Purposefully, Avoid Tuning Out
- Exploring Timbre with Young Children
- Hey, Mister Timbre Thing, Man, Make a Sound for Me
- Timbre Makers Slide Show
- Introduce Children to Layers of Sound in Music
- Animal Fun
What are the sounds that surround YOU and your family this Fall? Please share other sounds that I have missed in my list !