Learning to Listen

Learning to Listen consists of tracks that are targeted at three different levels of musical engagement:

Start by playing a few tracks from Level 2 in a quiet environment with as few distractions as possible. Observe any responses that the child or adult you are caring for or working with makes. Do they seem to react more strongly to some tracks than others? Are some responses positive and some negative? Make a note on the ‘Soundabout Tracks Record Sheet’. Download some of these tracks and start to build up a playlist.

Try doing the same listening activity on different occasions. The tracks can be played at a more or less regular time each day, or whenever the opportunity arises. Check on the Record Sheet to see whether some tracks seem to elicit consistent responses. The playlist may become more firmed up. But remember that the preferences of children and adults with multiple disabilities may be different on different occasions, and may develop over time, just as yours do. So, as well as playing favourite tracks in a session, play one or two less familiar ones too.

Once some of the Sounds tracks have become well established in listening sessions, try introducing ‘Patterns’. Again, make a careful note of any responses that are made, and be systematic in keeping records using the Patterns Record Sheet. Then try ‘Motifs’.

After a few weeks, look at the picture that is emerging across the three levels. Is one level more strongly represented than others? Are certain types of sound (like the human voice) consistently preferred to others? Use this information to select more sounds, patterns and motifs that you can find online, or record yourself.

Try to get a good balance between consistency and the gradual widening of experiences. But don’t forget, people with profound disabilities may keep enjoying the same experience many times over. Carers should learn to relish repetition!

Select level

To proceed, select a level from the menu below.