Sharing musical experiences:
- Just sitting together playing whatever instruments or musical toys you have in the house is lovely 1 to 1 time. Explore all the different sounds you can make on one instrument; try using different body parts to play it e.g. elbow, toes etc. You could try bouncing a ball on a drum or rolling bells or shakers over the drum head to try and create new sounds. You could also explore how loud/quiet or fast/slow you can play. Just have fun!
- Try listening to different music together each day and deciding whether you like it or not. You might find a new genre or artist you’ve never considered before. If you enjoy pop music, try listening to jazz, orchestral, light opera, punk etc. You could choose together and make up a whole new family playlist to enjoy.
- Environmental sounds. Sit in the garden and listen to the different sounds you hear. When you return indoors, how many can you remember?
- In the style of “Stomp”, what household objects can you use to make music? It’s the old idea of banging wooden spoons on the bottom of pans, but see what else you can come up with.
- When having a bath, massage or doing physio, play music that highlights a specific instrument e.g. a flute piece or laidback jazz saxophone. Are they able to name the instrument? Which instrument/s do they prefer? Sometimes the children surprise us with their preferences!
- Musical party games are great, but definitely need a few people to make them work. For example, Musical Chairs, Musical Statues (which can be adapted to add an element of fun into physio – when the music stops, hold the position), Hokey Cokey (which can be used to encourage physio moves), “The farmers in his den” etc.
- “The farmer’s in his den” can be adapted for one child to enjoy. Have a selection of teddies, dolls etc and give them all something that makes a sound. Have a mat, rug, towel or similar, then choose the first toy. Using the song tune, the words can be adapted. “Teddy plays his sound. (x2) He is sitting on the mat. Teddy plays his sound”. Play teddies sound during the verse. Choose the next toy e.g. “Teddy wants the doll (x2) He wants the doll to sit with him. Teddy wants the doll”. Put the doll on the mat and play her sound “Doll plays her sound (x2) She is sitting on the mat. Doll plays her sound”. Gradually bring in all the toys and their sounds and finish with. “They all play together (X2) Listen to their music. They all play together”. Then make a big noise!!
- Try a musical ‘conversation’, during which you have an instrument each. Take it in turns to play to each other, listening and responding just as you would if you were having a verbal conversation. Swap instruments on a given cue e.g. a timer. You could use the tune “Bobby Shaftoe” and sing “It’s your turn (pause as they play) and it’s my turn (you play in response) (x3) We play our sounds together”. This can guide the ‘conversation’ if required.
- Just singing together favourite songs, action songs, rhymes etc. is lovely to do; with or without instruments.
- Play “Match the sound”. Have two (or more) instruments ready behind a screen. Play one of the sounds, remove the screen and see if your child can find the correct sound. You can use contrasting sounds e.g. drum and bells; then move to more similar sounds e.g. tambourine and bells. If you don’t have instruments, you could use household items – tap metal spoons, use a wooden spoon on a pan, make scratching sounds on a chair, shake a jar of pasta etc. Can they guess how the sound was made?
- Finding sounds. Using a preferred sound to guide them, play ‘Hide and Seek’. If your child cannot manage this, can they turn towards a sound and aurally track it as you move around. Don’t stay in their sightline to encourage aural skills.
- “Play and Stop”. You can use red and green cue cards, verbal instructions, signing etc. One of you is the conductor, leading the music. They tell you when to play and stop. How quickly can you respond? Take turns.
- Add sound effects to a favourite story. You could have a specific sound or song for each main character as they appear in the story. You could have a sound effect each time a cue word is used e.g. “magic” etc. You could use sound effects from the internet, instruments, vocal sounds or environmental/household objects. Turn it into a performance.
- For those who are more verbal; try naming as many songs/artists/instruments starting with a specific letter or song titles that contain a certain word or relate to a specific topic (e.g. animals). How many can you think of?
- You could video yourselves trying any of these ideas. Watch back and enjoy!!
Linda White, Visiting Hampshire Music Service Teacher
Touch screen resources: http://www.priorywoods.middlesbrough.sch.uk/page/?title=Switch+%2F+Touch+Screen+Videos&pid=231
Out of the Ark: https://www.outoftheark.co.uk/ootam-at-home/
Little Kids Rock – It is a great website for different songs. It’s NOT for little kids despite the title and there are activities that other students might potentially like to do / listen to as well.
These are 2 live weekly sessions (Tuesday and Saturday) led by a practitioner from Soundabout which you can access through the following link:
Here are some ideas for some sensory musical experiences for you to explore in the classroom with your pupils whilst still at school:
There are 2 specific clips from the latest BBC Ten pieces that have been adapted for special schools and other special settings:
If you have not already subscribed to the Singing Hands Youtube channel, it’s really worth having a look at: