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Most Kindermusik classes include an Active Listening segment. Your educator sings a cue and asks you to rub your ears and to “Listen, listen, listen, shhh!”
The act of physically rubbing the outer ear stimulates the reticular activating system. Big words that basically mean it helps your brain filter out extraneous noises and focus on the relevant auditory stimuli. Rubbing your ears actually focuses your brain and primes the auditory nerve to transmit the appropriate information.
Now that we have you and your child’s attention, we play a sound. We make it a mystery, asking them to identify what they hear. This gives them further motivation to focus and pay attention. There are so many fun sounds in the Kindermusik library! Animal sounds. Vehicle sounds. Playground sounds. Ocean sounds. City sounds. Farm sounds. And more! All these different sounds can help build their social skills as they learn to understand the things around them in the environment.
After actively listening and decoding the sound, we discuss it. Just a moment to talk about what it was: “Did you hear the rooster? That was a lion! Wow, that airplane sounded fast!” This is helping build the auditory library of your child’s brain. They need practice decoding all the stimuli that is always coming in, and learn the skill of filtering out background noise.
Finally, we mimic the sound ourselves. Another benefit is when we mimic the sound we are developing their phonemic awareness, a crucial building block of language and verbal communication.
This simple and fun activity not only benefits your child developmentally but it also gives them an incredible foundation to be future musicians. As they practice this auditory discrimination they will develop the ability to differentiate between timbres, or “voices” of different instruments. This will help them in singing harmonies, tuning their instrument, and learning to play in an ensemble.
So many benefits from such a little activity! What a cognitive feast for your little one. Happy listening!