Sounds of Intent Level 3

What to expect from a child functioning primarily at Sounds of Intent Level 3

Assess the child’s level of musical engagement through careful observation

  • Children functioning at SoI Level 3 are pattern-seekers. They process repetition and regularity in the environment to enable them to make sense of what they perceive at a basic level and to anticipate what may happen next.
  • They intentionally create patterns through repeating sounds that they have made, by singing or playing sounds with a regular beat, or by changing them in a consistent way (for example, by getting gradually faster or higher or louder).
  • They copy the sounds that other people make and realise when others are imitating them.

Choosing musical activities for the child

  • Children functioning at Level 3 are likely to benefit from musical activities that use simple patterns in sound.
  • However, they are still likely to enjoy purely sensory activities (Level 2), and their development may also be enhanced by seeking to engage them in activities at Level 4, that promote the recognition and creation of motifs, and by playing and singing them whole pieces (Level 5).

Listening and responding to patterns in sounds and music

Little Amber Card 13 Show parents how to make patterns in sound with their voice to catch their child’s attention

  • Let the child touch your lips as you make different sounds with your voice.
  • Say ‘ma, ma, ma, ma, ma, ma’ and ‘pa, pa, pa, pa, pa’.
  • Sing ‘down, down, down, down … low’ and ‘up, up, up, up … high’.
  • Make a hissing sound that gets louder and then quieter.
  • Go eeeoww, eeeoww, eeeoww’ and whistle ‘peep, peep, peep, peep, peep’.

Little Amber Card 14 Show parents how to move their child to and fro as you sing simple patterns in sound for them

  • Help the child to sense how music and movement are linked.
  • Rock them to and fro in a regular rhythm as you sing a ‘two-tone’ pattern like ‘di, do, di, do’.
  • Swing the child’s left arm and then their right arm as you sing.
  • Then lift one leg and then the other as you sing another pattern.
  • Lift the child up and down as you sing, then roll them from left to right.
  • Listen to the ‘Tuning In’ songs that involve movement online and help the child engage with them. Little Amber Music Resources

Little Amber Card 15 Show parents how to tap into a child’s love of pattern

  • Make simple, regular patterns on sound-makers and musical instruments for the child to listen to.
  • Make the same simple tapping sound on one instrument then another (such as a drum and then a tambourine).
  • Use your fingers first, and then a drumstick – show the child what you are doing by letting them feel what is going on if they can’t see at all.
  • Tap a tambourine gently on a child’s hands and give it a shake as you rub it to and fro on their arms, legs or body.
  • Play little songs that go up a few notes on the keyboard, and then down again. Let the child feel what you are doing.

Little Amber Card 16 Show parents to help their child understand the world by using sound symbols

  • Identify places, people and activities with different sound-makers.
  • For example, hang different windchimes by the doors of different rooms, and tinkle them as you go in with the child – they can be made of metal, wood, pebbles or shells.
  • Let the child feel them as well as listening to the sounds.
  • Give people who are important in the child’s life different jangly bracelets and show parents how to make the child aware of them.
  • Show parents how to give the child warning of what is going to happen next by making relevant sounds consistently. For example, tap the spoon on the bowl before it’s time to eat, and splash the water in the bath.

Making simple patterns in sound

Little Amber Card 17 Encourage parents to respond to patterns in sound that their child makes with their voice

  • Remind parents to give their child the time and the space to experiment with pattern making.
  • Tell them not to interrupt when their child is concentrating!
  • When the child pauses, show parents how to give them lots of encouragement to get going again: tickle them, wiggle them, ask them to do it again!
  • Show parents how to bounce their child up and down in time to the patterns of sound they make.
  • If the child’s voice goes up and down, move their arms up and down in time with the pattern they are making.

Little Amber Card 18 Show parents how to help their child make simple patterns in sound on instruments and everyday sound-makers

  • Show parents the different ways in which their child may be able to make patterns in sound.
  • For example, put the child’s hand over yours while you tap a simple beat on a drum or a saucepan with your fingers, and then let them try on their own.
  • Show the child how to hold a stick to make a regular beat on instruments and other sound-makers.
  • Show the child how to make patterns in other ways too – with shakers and scrapers.
  • Remind parents that patterns start in the child’s head, not in their hands, so show them how to guide their child’s hand by placing it on top of their own, so that the child is always in control.

Little Amber Card 19 Show parents how they can help their child make patterns up and down a keyboard

  • Demonstrate to parents how to guide their child to play single notes with one finger on a keyboard (using either hand).
  • Next show parents how to help their child play a simple beat on one note.
  • Use the black notes and the white notes.
  • Remind parents of the importance of giving their child plenty of time to explore for themselves.
  • Then show parents how to support their child in playing simple patterns of two or three notes next to each other on a keyboard. They can sing as they play.

Little Amber Card 20 Help parents to collect families of sound-makers for their child to explore

  • Support parents in helping their child to make sense of the world by dividing their sound-makers up into different types.
  • For example, make a collection of metal utensils (teaspoons, a whisk, measuring cups, a sieve).
  • Collect wooden things that can be used to make a sound (spoons, claves, an agogo, castanets).
  • Put together a set of things for the child to shake (maracas, a small rainstick) or scrape (a guiro, a wooden frog) or pluck (a ukulele, a banjo, a guitar).
  • Show them how to make simple patterns on all of the sound-makers and instruments.

Interacting with other people through copying sounds and patterns of sound

Little Amber Card 21 Model vocal copying for parents – and explain how it helps a child to understand that other people are like them

  • Copy the sounds that a child makes with their voice.
  • Give the child plenty of time for this to sink in!
  • When all is quiet, make a sound with your voice that is similar to one of the sounds that the child sometimes makes.
  • Wait, and see if the child responds.
  • Remind parents that copying someone else is a difficult thing to do, and it may take a lot of practice, especially in the absence of a visual model.

Little Amber Card 22 Encourage parents to copy the sounds their child makes with everyday objects and instruments

  • Show parents the control over a situation that a child can exert when other people copy the sounds they make.
  • Start by copying the sounds on the same object or instrument that the child is using.
  • Then get another object or instrument the same as theirs, and play the game again, showing the child what is happening.
  • Then copy the child’s pattern using a different instrument.
  • Swap instruments. Does the child understand what has happened?

Little Amber Card 23 Show parents how to encourage their child to copy the patterns that they make on instruments and other sound-makers

  • In a quiet moment, suggest to the parents that they put a sound-maker on their child’s lap and make a sound on it that the child has made before.
  • Show the parents that they might need to give their child lots of time to respond.
  • Once the child has got the hang of copying on the same instrument, show parents how to use another one that is the same.
  • Then use different instruments.
  • Swap them over.

Little Amber Card 24 Show parents how to play ‘pass the sound’ games with family and friends

  • Sit in a circle with the child and other members of their family.
  • Start by making a sound with your voice and ask the next person round to copy it.
  • When it’s the child’s turn, give them lots of encouragement to join in the game.
  • Play the same game where everyone has the same sound-maker. Then have different ones and copy patterns in sound.
  • Gradually see if you can add more people to the circle.