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, that don’t yet have an 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 use short groups of notes.
  • 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 they may get pleasure from attending to parts of whole songs to which they are exposed (Level 5).

Listening and responding to sounds and music

Amber Plus Card 33Play short bursts of rhythm to the child on percussion instruments

  • Short rhythmic figures may be the first musical elements that the child is able to grasp.
  • Play ‘rat-a-tat-tat’, ‘rat-a-tat-tat’, ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ on the drum; ‘shake-shake-bang’, ‘shake-shake-bang’, ‘shake-shake-bang’ on the maracas, ‘ting-a-ling-a-ling’, ‘ting-a-ling-a-ling’ on a triangle.
  • Stop a pattern in mid-flow and see if the child expects it to continue.
  • Make ‘daisy chains in sound’ on different instruments: ‘tap-tap-tap’ on the drum and then on the tambourine, for example.
  • Connect different bursts of rhythm together – ‘rat-a-tat-tat, shake-shake-bang, ting-a-ling-a-ling’, for example.

Amber Plus Card 34Sing short phrases from familiar songs to the child

  • Remember that the ‘hook’ of a song is the first thing that they are likely to get hold of, musically.
  • Pick out the most characteristic phrase of a song and sing it repeatedly – see if the child can start to anticipate what is coming next …
  • For example, ‘I’m Still Standing’ by Elton John, ‘Every little thing gonna be alright’ from ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley.
  • Try ‘I am the one’ from ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Just the way you are’ from the song of the same name by Billy Joel.
  • Use the songs from ‘Tuning In’. AmberPlus Music Resources

Amber Plus Card 35Play the child short phrases on an instrument

  • Play the ‘hooks’ from songs that are made up of just three or four notes.
  • For example, the notes of ‘I’m still standing’ (A flat, G flat, F, B flat).
  • Try the notes of ‘Every little thing gonna be alright’ (F sharp x5, F sharp x2, G, F sharp, E).
  • The notes of ‘I am the one’ (B, A, G sharp, F sharp), ‘Isn’t she lovely’ by Stevie Wonder (G sharp, A, G sharp, F sharp, E) and ‘Just the way you are’ (D, F sharp, B, C sharp, D).
  • Use the songs from Tuning In. AmberPlus Music Resources

Amber Plus Card 36Show the child where ringtones, doorbells and other bursts of electronic sound come from

  • Teach the child about the little fragments of music that are used to identify phones, computers and other equipment.
  • Let them hold different phones as they ring.
  • Let them watch or feel the microwave as it beeps.
  • Show them how a doorbell works.
  • Make recordings of the sounds so that the child can listen to them afterwards.

Play or sing motifs

Amber Plus Card 37Help the child to play short bursts of rhythm on percussion instruments or by using other sound-makers or technology

  • Give the child a range of sound-makers to play rhythms on: drums of different kinds, tambourines (large and small), wooden blocks.
  • Encourage the child to play the same rhythm on different instruments, and different rhythms on the same instrument.
  • Try metallic sound-makers and instruments, such as saucepans and cymbals.
  • Try using digital percussion.
  • Use beam or gesture-recognition technology.

Amber Plus Card 38Encourage the child to sing or hum short phrases from familiar songs

  • Encourage the child’s vocal efforts by amplifying them.
  • Show the child where the speaker is, then try putting it in different places.
  • Show them how the controls on the amplifier work and, if the equipment has the facility, try introducing different effects such as echo and reverberation.
  • Use looping software to build up the child’s short bursts of music into longer sequences.
  • Record the child’s efforts so they can hear what they have been doing without needing to concentrate on making sounds.

Amber Plus Card 39Help the child to play motifs on instruments

  • Help the child to play motifs that they have heard before and encourage them to make other motifs up.
  • Stick a marker (tactile and visual) on ‘middle C’ on a keyboard and show the child where it is.
  • Show the child, hand under hand, how to play simple patterns of three or four notes that start on C.
  • Help the child to do this using one finger to start with – show them how to find the notes next to each other by touching or looking (or both). Then encourage the child to use their thumb and other fingers too. Can they use either hand to play?
  • Show the child how to play jingles, ringtones and other bursts of melody that they hear.

Amber Plus Card 40Make the child a game that uses switches or other technology that uses recordings of ringtones and other electronic sounds

  • Help the child to appreciate that everyday bursts of rhythm and melodic motifs can be put together to make longer segments of music.
  • Attach some doorbells to a sheet of wood and show the child how they make similar (or different) patterns of notes.
  • Encourage the child to sing the ‘doorbell’ music.
  • Then see if they can play any of the motifs on a keyboard or other instrument.
  • Make recordings of the child in action for them to enjoy listening to later.

Interacting through copying motifs

Amber Plus Card 41Play ‘call and response’ games with the child using your voices

  • Use a range of songs from all over the world: army marching songs, African American work songs and sea shanties.
  • Try using folksongs from different countries that have a ‘call and response’ element.
  • Try using pop songs (such as ‘My Sweet Lord’ by George Harrison).
  • Use the ‘Tuning In’ materials. AmberPlus Music Resources
  • Take it in turns to take the lead.

Amber Plus Card 42Play ‘call and response’ games with the child using instruments

  • Try using short bursts of rhythm at first, clapping and tapping.
  • Next, transfer the short rhythmic bursts to percussion instruments.
  • Try doing the same activity with melody instruments – send three or four note phrases to and fro between you and the child.
  • Sing along at first and then use instruments alone.
  • You take the lead at first, and then see if the child will grasp the initiative.

Amber Plus Card 43Play ‘question and answer’ games with the child using your voices, instruments or movement-based technology

  • Use ‘question and answer’ songs that have one phrase followed by another that is different.
  • Try spirituals, such as ‘Michael Row the Boat Ashore’.
  • Try Western classical melodies, such as the opening of the slow movement of Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ symphony.
  • Try pop songs, such as the opening phrases of ‘Clocks’ by Cold Play.
  • Use songs from the ‘Tuning In’ set, such as ‘How are You Feeling?’ and ‘Where Are We?’. AmberPlus Music Resources

Amber Plus Card 44Make up short pieces with the child using short bursts of rhythm of melodic motifs

  • Start with rhythms, as these will be easier for the child to make up and copy than melodies.
  • Use percussion instruments and specialist technology if required.
  • Now try the same activity using melody instruments.
  • Sometimes, engage with the child in simply copying; other times, make up new phrases that fit with the old.
  • Soon, you’ll be making up whole new songs together.

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

Amber Plus Card 45Use the ‘Tuning In’ songs to help the child’s body awareness and to encourage them to move

  • Use songs such as ‘Stretch and Bend’ and ‘Backwards and Forwards’. AmberPlus Music Resources
  • Try ‘Wiggle’.
  • Try ‘Left and Right’ and ‘Up and Down’.
  • Try ‘To and Fro’.
  • Try ‘Time to rest’.

Amber Plus Card 46Use the ‘Tuning In’ songs to help the child express their thoughts and feelings

  • Use songs such as ‘Happy’ and ‘I am Feeling Angry’. AmberPlus Music Resources
  • Try ‘Sad’.
  • Try ‘Tired’.
  • Try ‘Very Well, Thank You’.
  • Try ‘I’m Not So Good’.

Amber Plus Card 47Use the ‘Tuning In’ songs to help the child communicate, take turn and think about other people

  • Use songs such as ‘Who’s Sitting Next to Me?’. AmberPlus Music Resources
  • Try ‘All Join In!’.
  • Try ‘In the Circle’.
  • Try ‘Can you Copy Me’.
  • Try ‘Listen’ and ‘Together and Alone’.

Amber Plus Card 48Use the ‘Tuning In’ songs to help the child understand their world better

  • Use songs such as ‘Finding and Giving’. AmberPlus Music Resources
  • Try ‘What Is It?’
  • Try ‘What Can You See?’
  • Try ‘Where Is It? and ‘Can You Find Your …?’.
  • Try ‘What Day Is It Today?’ and ‘What’s For Lunch?’.