We explored...

Using music for focused listening activities, including:

  • Asking the children what they could hear.
  • What they thought about the music.
  • If they liked/disliked the music.
  • Inviting children to match pictures to music.
  • Asking children to listen for specific elements in music, e.g. listen out for the loud section, listen out for the slow section.

We found...

  • Children were able to identify specific instrumental sounds.
  • Children wanted to simply listen without the need to do anything else for sustained periods of time.
  • Children listened intently when they were asked questions about the music.
  • When we asked children “what can you hear” children either answered with logical answers specifying instruments or with a more imaginative answer.

The children were aged three to four:

“What can you hear?”

Music played: The Blue Danube by Strauss


“It’s violins”
“Instruments, I can’t hear any people” Nicola asks – “Is this a song?” The girl replies “No, there’s no people singing.”

Does this music sound like any of the pictures?

To further explore children’s logical and imaginative answers we offered children pictures to match to music.

We asked this question to children aged three to four in pairs and in small groups.

Before any music was played one child points to the fairy picture and says “for girls”, then points to the dragon picture and says “for boys”

Music played: Nutcracker suite by Tchaikovsky
Children laughed. Two children point to the castle. One child points to fairies. Another child points to the castle and says: “this doesn’t have a noise” he then points to the instruments 1 by 1 and says – “these have a noise.”
Download additional responses below.