Sounds of Intent Level 2

What to expect from a child functioning primarily at Sounds of Intent Level 2

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

  • Children functioning at SoI Level 2 experience the world in a sensory way. They do not process the repetition and regularity in the environment that would enable them to make sense of what they perceive and anticipate what may happen next.
  • By the same token, while they may deliberately make sounds, they do not intentionally create patterns of movement – or sound.
  • And while they may respond to the sounds made by others, they do not imitate them or recognise themselves being copied.

Choosing musical activities for the child

  • Children functioning at Level 2 are likely to benefit from musical activities that are primarily sensory or multisensory in nature.
  • However, their development may also be enhanced by seeking to engage them in activities at Level 3 that promote the recognition and creation of patterns, alone and with others, and by exposing them to resources that focus on motifs (Level 4) and whole pieces (Level 5).

Listening and responding to sounds and music

Little Amber Card 1 Show parents how to make different vocal sounds for their child to enjoy

  • Let the child feel how your lips move and your throat buzzes when you hum and click and make silly sounds like blowing raspberries.
  • Enunciate different vowel sounds and consonants slowly.
  • Vocalise using long sounds and short sounds.
  • Sing different sounds quietly and loudly.
  • Make happy sounds and sad sounds.

Little Amber Card 2 Show parents how to help their child learn about the sounds that everyday things can make

  • Gently guide the child’s hands to feel what you are doing: shaking containers with things that rattle, and banging things together like wooden spoons on pots and pans.
  • Let the child feel you splashing water in a bowl.
  • Show them how to scrunch crinkly plastic paper.
  • Rub a nailbrush on a tray.
  • Guide the child to feel household equipment that vibrates, like a vacuum cleaner or an electric toothbrush.

Little Amber Card 3 Show parents how to play the ‘sound and silence’ game

  • With the child close to you or on your lap, see if you can hold their attention with alternating vocal sounds and short silences.
  • Make a very long sound and then … stop.
  • Do it again, and again, and see if the child reacts – discuss any response with the child’s parents.
  • Move your head from side to side as you make the sound, or nod slowly up and down.
  • Let the child feel your mouth as it moves around.

Little Amber Card 4 Show parents how to have fun with their child listening to outdoor sounds

  • Remind parents that it’s important to give their child plenty of time to listen to all the sounds that are going on in different outdoor spaces; they may need to take care that their child isn’t overwhelmed in very noisy places – though some children may enjoy loud sounds if they are predictable.
  • Ask parents whether it is possible for them to take their child to a family farm. This would mean the child could feel which animal was making which sound in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Remind parents that it is important for their child to experience the rain and wind – in moderation!
  • Most forms of transport make a sound: cars, motorbikes, trains, boats and planes. Even bicycles make some sounds, and they often have different bells and horns; these are easy for children to explore safely themselves. Maybe they might like different bells and horns to play with?
  • If possible, go out with the parents and their child and make some recordings of outdoor sounds to play back later. Tell them what is happening using simple language and give them first-hand experiences wherever possible.

Making sounds

Little Amber Card 5 Show parents how to encourage their child to make different sounds

  • Remind parents that their child’s motivation to make sounds may well come from physical contact and play.
  • Show parents how to coax their baby or very young child to make sounds by cuddling them and tickling them.
  • Blow raspberries on their hands, feet and tummy.
  • When the child makes a sound encourage them to do it again by showing them how much you enjoy their sound-making; praise them and jiggle them around, if they enjoy it.
  • Show parents how to be their child’s ‘first responder’ – as a child seeks to make contact through sound-making, be there for them, so they get timely, positive feedback on their efforts.

Little Amber Card 6 Show parents how to help their child make sounds with everyday objects

  • Help parents to find everyday objects around the home that are safe for their young child to play with and that little hands can use to make an exciting range of sounds.
  • Think of things for their child to bang together made of wood, plastic or metal.
  • Give them things to scrape together like a small brush on a metal tray.
  • Find things that their child can shake or rustle or scrunch.
  • Encourage parents to make a collection of small sound-makers, like the squeakers that go in toys, whoopee cushions and buzzers.

Little Amber Card 7 Show parents how make a ‘sound cave’

  • Cut off one side of a large cardboard box and hang small everyday sound-makers inside.
  • Discuss with parents the items they could hang inside the box: a rattly chain, a little bell, some crinkly paper.
  • Lie the child on their back inside the box, so they can reach the things that are hanging down.
  • Help them to start with by gently guiding their hand to what is there.
  • But then encourage parents to give their child plenty of time to explore for themselves, though never leave them alone in the box, of course; safety always comes first.

Little Amber Card 8 Show parents the fun that their child can have making sounds outside

  • Encourage parents to let their young child play outside and have fun with natural sound-makers.
  • Remind them that even sounds that their child knows well (like the sound of their own voice) will sound different in different environments.
  • Perhaps the child will enjoy scrunching in gravel or swishing through piles of leaves or splashing in a paddling pool when it’s warm outside.
  • Show them how to hit a log with a stick to hear the sound it makes.
  • Have they even been to the beach and played with pebbles, throwing them in rock pools?

Interacting with other people through sound

Little Amber Card 9 Show parents how to have ‘conversations’ in sound with their child

  • Model how to take it in turns with the child to make vocal sounds.
  • Give the child plenty of time to respond to the sounds you make.
  • Hold babies and young children up close, so they can feel your face and get a sense of what is happening.
  • You can start or you can wait for the child to make a sound first.
  • Sometimes the child will make different sounds from you; sometimes they might seem to copy what you do; you can copy them in return or do something different.

Little Amber Card 10 Show parents how to play with their child using everyday objects that make sounds

  • Model simple interactions in sound for parents.
  • For example, if the child is banging a pot or a pan, sit next to them and bang one too!
  • Show them what is going on by letting them feel with their hands if they don’t have any sight.
  • Sometimes try playing at the same time as the child; on other occasions, wait until the child has finished before you make a sound.
  • Copying may start to occur, and you can encourage this; above all, though, show the parents what fun it can be just being next to their child and making sounds together.

Little Amber Card 11 Show parents how to enjoy making sounds with their child in a physical way

  • Try whooshing the child round and round as you make sounds together with your voices.
  • Put bells on the child’s wrists and ankles, and bells on yours too, and play shaking games.
  • Bounce up and down on a trampoline with the child if they have one.
  • Put a balloon between you and the child and share the sounds either of you make with your voices or hands.
  • Make funny noises down a cardboard tube held to the child’s ear and then swap over.

Little Amber Card 12 Show parents the fun that their child can have playing games with sound outside

  • Go outside with the child and their parents and take it in turns to stamp along the pavement or scrunch along a gravel path or push through long grass.
  • Take it in turns to throw pebbles in a pond – notice the different sounds that pebbles of different sizes make. Throw them near and throw them far.
  • In the autumn, make a big pile of leaves and jump with the child into the middle of it.
  • Find somewhere that echoes (like a cave at the beach or underneath the railway arches in town or a long corridor in a public building) and yell and stamp your feet.
  • Go into the middle of the park or a field and walk away from the child and then go round and round them, calling their name. Encourage them to do the same. Notice how the sounds of your voices seem to change according to how far away they are and which direction the sounds are coming from.