A few months ago, I read this neat post over at Homegrown Learning about SQUILT. What in the world does this funny name mean? It stands for Super Quite UnInterrupted Listening Time. I thought the concept sounded really neat, and very doable, so I wanted to give it a try with my kids.
Essentially it is choosing a quality piece of music to listening to, and then being super quiet while you listen to it. We haven't done too much with classical music, so I thought this would be a simple way to introduce this good music, and I also thought it would be a good way to have the kids wind down after a busy morning.
Mary, from Homegrown Learners, suggests listening to the piece of music, talking about what you hear, then finally doing a notebooking page about it (which she has for you to download, so go check it out!). This is great, but the notebooking page seemed too advanced for my two and three year old, so I wanted to take her idea and make it more suitable for them.
I have been doing this with my children since the day I read Mary's post. My children love it, so we do it as often as I think to do it (or am asked to do it by my three year old!) This is what we do:
- Listen quietly to the piece of music (I pick something about two minutes long)
- We lay right down on the floor next to each other. This makes it fun for the kids =)
- We close our eyes and do not make any noises until the song is over.
- How did the music make you feel? (happy, sad, etc.)
- What instruments did you hear? (piano, cymbals, trumpets, etc.)
- Was the music fast, slow, or a mix?
- Dance to the music, mimicking what you hear and how it makes you feel
- Color a picture, using the colors that match the sounds in the song and coloring at the speed the song is playing at
- Make up a story to go along with what you hear
These steps are basic (and fun!) enough for my little ones to understand. My three year old can pick out a few basic instruments, and I can teach him others we hear that he does not know. He does not always understand the emotion the song is trying to convey, but it give us something to talk about. Both of the kids LOVE dancing to the music the second time around. We stomp like big bears or flutter like birds, spin in circles or hop up and down, etc.
Like a said before, this seems like a great introduction to music and can teach your children self-control, acceptable ways of expression, new instruments and music styles, etc. If nothing else, in the middle of a loud, busy day, its does a mama's heart good to have a few moments of peace snuggled up to her little ones =)
Have you done this, or something like it with your children? I'd love to hear about it! And make sure to check out Homegrown Learners to read her post on SQUILT and her whole series on 10 Days of Teaching Music.