What to expect from a child functioning primarily at Sounds of Intent Level 5
Assess the child’s level of musical engagement through careful observation
Children functioning at SoI Level 5 can grasp simple musical structures (in songs with a chorus, for example) and have an intuitive understanding of tonality and metre.
They can reproduce simple pieces they know and have an increasing capacity to sing in time and in tune. Some may play instruments as beginners.
They can perform with others, maintaining an independent part.
Choosing activities for the child
Children functioning at Level 5 are likely to enjoy simple songs and games that use straightforward musical structures (that have a different action for each verse, for example).
However, they are still likely to enjoy purely sensory activities in sound (Level 2), activities that utilise simple patterns or repetition and regularity (Level 3) and ‘call and response’ and ‘question and answer’ games that involve copying and changing motifs.
Listening to whole songs and understanding their structure
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Introduce the family to lots of songs with simple structures that the child will be able to follow
Start with children’s songs, with actions to help make the structure clear, like ‘The wheels on the bus’.
Try folk songs and working songs from different cultures, like ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’.
Sing pop songs (which often have simple structures) like ‘We will rock you’ and ‘Hallelujah’.
Try Classical melodies – which in the West include ‘Ode to joy’ and ‘The Hallelujah Chorus’, for example.
Start by humming songs that the child knows. Do they still recognise them?
Next, play instrumental versions of the same songs.
Then play instrumental pieces that have a lot of repetition, like ‘Eye Level’, the ‘Can Can’ and ‘Bolero’.
See if the child enjoys minimalist pieces by composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley.
Try longer pieces that use similar musical ideas over and over again (by composers such as Vivaldi) or more complicated pieces that use similar phrases repeatedly, like ‘Mars’ from ‘The Planets’ by Holst.
Start by singing songs ‘in unison’ – so you and the child (and other family members) are all singing the same thing at the same time.
You could have an accompaniment too, to help stabilise the pitch and rhythm, and to add interest.
Then, start the child (and parents) off, singing a song they know well, and then you sing another part underneath. Can they keep going, or does your part put them off? If so, begin by doing it very quietly.
Next, teach the child (and their parents) the second part, and take it in turns to sing the main tune and the counter-melody.
Try singing rounds, like ‘London’s Burning’ and ‘Frère Jacques’.