My Kindergarten classes have been exploring sounds, and an unexpected discussion led us in an interesting direction: How do the sounds in our environment inspire us as musicians?

Cue The Listening Walk by Paul Showers, illustrated by the fantastic Aliki.

In a following lesson, I read the story, and we imagined all the different sounds the little girl heard. Which sounds would be forte? Describe the tempo of the woman walking. Where might we hear a  in the sounds around us? The children were excited to try and recreate the sounds, and equally excited to be using “professional” music terms!

We took our own listening walk around the school and documented some of the sounds we heard (which we later linked to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony). The students were listening to the world around them (in silence!) in a whole different way, and I really enjoyed seeing some of my students in a different light.

Listening Walk journal

After nearly a half hour outside, we returned to the classroom to share what we’d heard. We categorized sounds (piano, forte, high, low, etc.) until we ran out of time, but they weren’t anywhere near being done with this…

Listening Walk lessonSee The Listening Walk, Part II and The Listening Walk, Part III. And if you would like to try the lessons out in your own classroom, you can download the entire lesson plan and all the templates.

I love using children’s books in my classes wherever I see a real connection. What are you favorite books to incorporate into your lessons?

Like this? You might also enjoy:

The Listening Walk, Part I: Exploring Sounds Around Us
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