A wonderful way in which we can encourage sound awareness, both in ourselves and in our children, is mindful listening. This can be done in a variety of ways including quiet time with the addition of atmospheric music, playing audiobooks during your commutes, or even through listening to nature walks. Instead of merely playing music as a passive activity, or spending time outside while always participating in a loud activity, this intentional quiet time will give yourself and the children in your care with the opportunity to develop the auditory senses.
There are multiple benefits to taking this approach. Intentionally listening to music may result in discovering more about musical instruments or genres and the introduction of audiobooks encourages both literacy and a diversified vocabulary. Quiet walks in nature not only give the chance to learn about the fauna of your area, or the sounds of weather patterns or seasons, but also give a new outlet for movement and physical wellness in the natural world.
Alongside the benefits that may come from specific sound interactions, there are overarching ones to be found also, including the opportunity for improved wellbeing, a facet to support emotional regulation, and the opportunity to bond with others who may be participating with you. Once the experience has concluded, the opportunity to discuss it together will be there as well, encouraging conversation–which can boost language development and the learning of social cues and norms.
Listening to music, and the sounds around us, is another important facet of developing an awareness of sound and even an appreciation for music. This is another way of interacting with, or participating in music, even if it seems like a more creative interpretation of this idea. If you are feeling like including music time in your life is challenging to approach, perhaps this is the most accessible first step for you!