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 and 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 sounds and music

Amber Plus Card 17Make simple patterns in sound with your voice for the child to listen to

  • You may need to get close to the child and perhaps let them feel your lips and throat as you make sounds.
  • Make simple patterns such as ‘ma, ma, ma, ma, ma’ or ‘pa, pa, pa, pa, pa’.
  • Try going ‘kuh, kuh, kuh, kuh, kuh’ or ‘mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm’.
  • Try hissing, ‘sss, sss, sss, sss, sss’.
  • Try whistling, ‘peep, peep, peep, peep’.
  • On a single note or chord, start playing quietly, then get louder and louder, and then gradually quieter again.

Amber Plus Card 18Tap into the child’s potential love of pattern

  • Using everyday sound-makers and percussion instruments to make the same, simple tapping pattern. Try doing this on different instruments such as a drum and a tambourine.
  • Use your fingers, then a stick – let the child feel what you are doing if they can’t see.
  • Tap the tambourine gently on the child’s hands.
  • Scratch your nails to and fro on a drum; tap on a resonance board so the child can feel the patterns of vibration on their body.
  • Use switches or motion-sensitive technology, and let the child watch or feel what you are doing.

Amber Plus Card 19Make simple patterns of sound that go up and down in pitch or get louder and quieter

  • Using melody instruments, make short patterns that go up and down on a keyboard for the child to listen to – remember to let the child feel what you are doing if they can’t see.
  • Now do the same using a touchscreen, or a beam or gesture-recognition technology.
  • Make simple patterns using a glockenspiel or xylophone, then do the same on a wind instrument, such as a recorder.
  • Make short patterns that go up and down on a string of a ukulele or guitar.
  • On a single note or chord, start playing quietly, then get louder and louder, and then gradually quieter again.

Amber Plus Card 20Help the child to understand the world and what is going to happen next by using sound symbols

  • Use sounds consistently to signal other things, or to reinforce their identity.
  • Hang different windchimes in the doorways of important rooms in the child’s school and make sure they sound as the child goes in.
  • Give key people in the child’s life different jangly bracelets to wear to enhance their identity; and give the child and their classmates distinct ‘personal soundmakers’, to use at times of greeting and other social activities.
  • Help the child to anticipate activities by using sound symbols, such as a jingly bell for music and a clanky chain for the swing.
  • Make a ‘sound diary’ of activities that happened during a morning or afternoon, so that the child can be helped to remember the experiences.

Making simple patterns in sound

Amber Plus Card 21Encourage the child make different patterns of vocal sounds

  • Give the child the time and space to experiment with pattern making.
  • Move their hands or arms in time to any patterns of vocal sounds they make.
  • If the child pauses, stop the movements, to help them become aware of the pattern they are making.
  • Praise the child with plenty of positive encouragement, by touching them on the hand or arm – whatever they respond positively to.
  • Make recordings of the child’s vocal patterns for them to listen to later.

Amber Plus Card 22Help the child make simple rhythmic patterns on everyday soundmakers and percussion instruments

  • Over time, ensure that the child has different sound-making options.
  • Put the child’s hand over yours while you tap a simple beat on a drum with your fingers, then let the child try on their own.
  • If they have the physical ability, show the child how to hold a stick to make a regular beat on percussion instruments and other soundmakers.
  • Always remember that patterns start in a child’s head, not in their hand.
  • So guide the child hand-under-hand, so that they are always in control.

Amber Plus Card 23Help the child to make patterns up and down on a keyboard or using technology that responds to movement

  • If the child has the physical capacity, gently show them how to play single notes with one finger (use my stronger hand if I have one).
  • Show them how to play a simple beat on one key – you could make it easier for them to find it by using a sticker with a texture.
  • Encourage the child to use the white notes, and the black ones if they can reach them.
  • Show the child how to play simple up and down patterns on three notes next to each other on the keyboard or touchscreen.
  • Then help them to make longer patterns that go up and down.

Amber Plus Card 24Collect families of sound-makers for the child to explore

  • Help the child make sense of things by dividing their soundmakers up into different categories.
  • One set could consist of metal utensils, such as teaspoons, a whisk, measuring cups and a sieve.
  • Another could comprise wooden things, such as spoons, cleaves and an agogo.
  • You could pick out things that are scraped to make a sound (a guiro, wooden frogs) or plucked (a ukulele, a banjo, a guitar)
  • Show the child how to make the same simple rhythmic patterns on different instruments.

Interacting through copying sounds

Amber Plus Card 25Echo the sounds that the child makes with their voice, and give them time to copy the vocal sounds that you make

  • By copying your voice and recognising their own voice being copied, a child can come to learn that they are like you and you are like them.
  • So, copy the sounds that the child makes with their voice. Give them plenty of time to think about what they’ve just heard.
  • When all is quiet, make a sound with your voice similar to ones that the child likes to make.
  • Gradually, you might hear the child copy you more and more – it takes a lot of practice to get it right!
  • Repeat the activity many times in different contexts (with different people and in different locations).

Amber Plus Card 26Copy the sounds that the child makes with everyday objects

  • Copy the sounds that a child makes and show them that they can influence what you do.
  • Copy the sounds and patterns of sound that they may make on instruments or other soundmakers.
  • Use the same instrument or object at first, so the child has the best chance of realising what is happening. Then use a second instrument or sound-maker that is the same as the child’s.
  • Let them see or feel what is happening.
  • Finally, use a different instrument to copy the same pattern; then swap instruments!

Amber Plus Card 27Encourage the child to copy what you do on instruments and other sound-makers

  • Help the child to understand what it’s like to be you by encouraging them to copy you.
  • In a quiet moment, put a sound-maker on a child’s lap and make a sound that they have made before. Give them lots of time to respond.
  • Once the child understands what to do, play another soundmaker the same as theirs, so you don’t have to share.
  • Then see if the child will copy the same pattern on a different instrument.
  • Remember that repetition is key – playing simple copy games may become one of the child’s favourite ways of interacting with people.

Amber Plus Card 28Play ‘pass the sound’ games

  • Copy sounds round a circle of people to give the child a sense of belonging to a group.
  • Have the child sit in a circle of three or four people. One makes a sound with their voice, the next person copies, and so on, round and round.
  • Now do the same activity with body sounds, like clapping.
  • Then use musical instruments or other soundmakers. Use the same ones at first, and then add variety.
  • Gradually add more people to the circle to increase the level of social and musical challenge.

Using sound and music to promote other areas of understanding, development and wellbeing

Amber Plus Card 29Show the child how different patterns of movement can be used to produce different patterns of sound

  • Consider the different patterns of movement that the child can potentially make.
  • For example, they may be able to use their hands and fingers to make patterns of sound with an instrument or on a touchscreen. They may be able to move their arms up and down to produce patterns of sound using beam technology.
  • They may be able to use their feet to kick a beat on a bass drum.
  • They may be able to use their head or even their whole body to break a beam and make a musical pattern.
  • They may be able to use a motion-sensitive beam on their eyelids to convert regular movement to patterns of sound.

Amber Plus Card 30Observe how patterns of change in sound can affect the way a child feels

  • Repeated sounds that get louder and faster may make the child excited, but do repeated sounds that get slower and quieter calm them down?
  • How do they respond to a scale of notes that gets higher and higher?
  • What about a descending scale that goes very low?
  • How do they react when a regular pattern suddenly stops?
  • Do moving sources of sound excite their attention?

Amber Plus Card 31Help the child to make choices through using sound symbols

  • Find out who the child would like to sit next to by offering them a choice of two jangly bracelets that two of their helpers wear.
  • Find out where the child would like to go by playing one windchime then another that are used to identify different rooms.
  • Find out what activity the child would like to do by offering them sounding objects of reference for one activity and then another.
  • Give the child plenty of time to choose and be sensitive to the way they may express a preference – by looking, vocalising, moving, stilling or smiling.
  • Reverse the order in which soundmakers are presented, to ensure the child is not just choosing the first or the last thing they hear. And once they can choose between two things reliably, try three or even four options.

Amber Plus Card 32Show the child how simple patterns in sound can help them to understand the way the world works

  • Let the child experience the patterns of sound that contribute to the experience of everyday life.
  • For example, let them hear footsteps that get louder as someone gets nearer.
  • Let them hear the sound of a car engine getting louder and then quieter again as it passes by.
  • Let them hear the beeping of a microwave indicating that some food is cooked; the dripping of a tap that needs to be turned off; the ticking of a clock and the dong of its chimes.
  • Record the patterns of sound for the child to enjoy listening to in different contexts.