Sounds of Intent Level 4

What to expect from a child functioning primarily at Sounds of Intent Level 4

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

  • Children functioning at SoI Level 4 are shape-detectors. They hear groups of notes as forming perceptual wholes (motifs, licks or riffs).
  • They intentionally create shapes in sound through combining small numbers of notes to create short bursts of rhythm or little melodic phrases. They start to join motifs together in chains, but don’t yet have a clear idea of overall structure or sense of tonality or metre.
  • They copy the motifs that other people make and enjoy having their own motifs copied.

Choosing musical activities for the child

  • Children functioning at Level 4 are likely to benefit from musical activities that have a focus on motifs.
  • However, they are still likely to enjoy purely sensory activities in sound (Level 2), and activities that utilise simple patterns or repetition and regularity (Level 3). They may also enjoy simple songs (Level 5), which they are likely to perceive in terms of the motifs of which they are made up.

Listening to ‘bits of pieces’: motifs, riffs and licks

Little Amber Card 25 Show parents how music is made up of short bursts of melody, and help them to choose some motifs for them to sing to their child

  • Find examples of the ‘building blocks’ of music to sing or play to the child and their parents: the short phrases that make up the choruses of songs, ring-tones, jingles, etc. Little Amber Music Resources
  • You could start with ‘hello’ from the ‘hello song’. ing it several times, followed by the child’s name.
  • Then sing ‘yes please’ and ‘no thank you’.
  • Teach parents the motifs from Tuning In that they can use for people’s names.
  • Encourage them to sing the motifs to their children.

Little Amber Card 26 Show parents how to play repeating patterns on instruments and other sound-makers

  • Demonstrate how playing the same repeated pattern can make up a simple piece of music.
  • Play ‘rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat’ on the drum.
  • Go ‘shake-shake-bang, shake-shake-bang, shake-shake-bang’ with the maracas.
  • Play patterns of three or four notes on the keyboard: C-D-E-, C-D-E-, C-D-E’.
  • Make these ‘daisy chains in sound’ on different instruments in succession: use the keyboard then the glockenspiel, for example.

Little Amber Card 27 Show parents how to play ‘call and response’ games with their child

  • Demonstrate how music can be made up of little phrases that are played or sung by different people.
  • Sit the child in between you and a parent and play ‘copy the pattern’ games with a shaker for the child to listen to.
  • Now do the same where one pattern is answered by another that is a bit different.
  • Next sing the communication songs from the Little Amber website, such as ‘How are you feeling?’ and have the parent answer ‘happy’, ‘sad’, etc. Little Amber Music Resources
  • Do the same with other songs such as ‘What do you want?’, followed by possible answers.

Little Amber Card 28 Show parents how to use ringtones and other electronic sounds to engage their child

  • Electronic sounds will often be present in a child’s environment, made by phones, computers and other equipment, and it is important that they know where they come from.
  • Let a child hold their parents’ phone as it rings.
  • Let them feel the microwave as it beeps.
  • Listen to the computer start-up sound with the child and show them what’s happening.
  • Find toys for the child to play with that make bursts of sound and show the child how they work.

Playing and singing ‘bits of pieces’: motifs, riffs and licks

Little Amber Card 29 Show parents how to help their child play short musical phrases on instruments

  • Place the child’s hand over yours as you play short bursts of rhythm on percussion instruments.
  • Stick a tactile marker on ‘middle C’ on a keyboard, explain what it is to the parents and show the child where it is.
  • Help the child to play simple patterns of three or four notes that start on C – these can be newly made up or taken from songs and other music with which the child is familiar.
  • Help the child to use one finger to start with, showing them how to find the notes next to each other by touch.
  • Then encourage the child to use their thumb and other fingers too, using either hand.

Little Amber Card 30 Suggest to parents that they get a ‘cuckoo’ bird whistle, an ocarina and/or a recorder for their child to play

  • Demonstrate how some natural sounds like birdsong can be used to make music, by playing a ‘cuckoo’ sound on the bird whistle and then on the ocarina.
  • Encourage the child to play other short patterns of notes on the ocarina.
  • Then show the child how to play the same patterns on the recorder.
  • Next, show the child how to play the same patterns on the keyboard.
  • Encourage the child to repeat the patterns to make short pieces of music.

Little Amber Card 31 Show parents how to make a ‘doorbell’ game for their child

  • Show the family how electronically generated sounds like doorbells can be used to make music and make a small collection.
  • Show them how different doorbells can make similar (or different) patterns of notes.
  • Encourage the child to make ‘doorbell music’.
  • Show the child how to play the same patterns on the keyboard.
  • Encourage parents to make recordings of their child in action!

Little Amber Card 32 Encourage parents to get a microphone and small amplifier

  • Explain to parents that a child can be motivated to sing by using a microphone and an amplifier.
  • Let the child feel how the equipment is connected and where the sound comes out of the loudspeaker.
  • Teach the child how the controls work.
  • If the equipment has the facility, try introducing different effects such as echo and reverberation.
  • Make recordings of the child’s efforts at singing.

Interacting with other people through copying ‘bit of pieces’: motifs, riffs and licks

Little Amber Card 33 Show parents how to play the ‘copy game’ with their child, using their voice

  • Show the family how to make up simple songs made up of short, repeating phrases.
  • Encourage the child to copy a short burst of music that you or the parents make.
  • Change over, so the adults copy the child.
  • Now take turns, so that the short bursts of music are linked together to create a simple song.
  • Make recordings of the music that is created to enjoy in the future.

Little Amber Card 34 Show parents how to play ‘copy my rhythm’ using percussion instruments

  • Transfer the ‘copy game’ from voices to percussion instruments, by showing the child how the rhythms of the short burst of tunes they have just sung can be played.
  • Then copy whatever the child does on another percussion instrument.
  • Make a new rhythm for the child to copy.
  • Involving all the family, join the rhythms together in regular turn-taking to make a simple piece of music.
  • Play ‘copy my rhythm’ with three people or more – sit in a circle and take it in turns to lead.

Little Amber Card 35 Show parents how to encourage their child to make up ‘pot pourri’ songs

  • Show the family how to make up simple pieces made up of different phrases from other songs (‘pot pourri’ songs)
  • Start by making rhythms that are different, for example, go ‘bang, bang, bang’ and get the parents to go ‘bang, bang, bang, bang’.
  • Encourage the child to join in, first by copying, and then taking the lead.
  • Now do the same thing using your voice (enunciating the rhythmic patterns, such as ‘ta, ta, ta-te, ta-te, ta’) and encourage the child and the parents to do the same.
  • Now do the same with short bursts of melody. Encourage them to use some of the short phrases from the Little Amber Music Resources such as ‘How are you feeling?’ and ‘happy’, ‘sad’, etc. Little Amber Music Resources

Little Amber Card 36 Show parents how to join bits of pieces together to make music on melody instruments

  • Show the family how to play the songs they made up using their voices on melody instruments such as the keyboard.
  • Take turns to play the phrases with the child, then encourage the parents to do the same.
  • Play the same game using the ocarina or the recorder (have one instrument each).
  • Play the same game with each person having a different instrument.
  • Gradually extend the turn taking so short pieces of music start to take shape.