As an early-childhood music teacher, I believe that what I do is very important in developing young children’s listening skills. Singing, playing rhythm instruments, moving to music – all these involve auditory cues for children to focus on in a fun and age-appropriate way. There’s generally an enjoyable consequence of careful listening in a musical context – the satisfaction of making music together in a group of friends is a wonderful feeling.
Listening while singing and playing musical games has a carryover effect. It helps children to listen more carefully to friends and teachers. But there’s an even more basic way to “teach” listening skills.
You guessed it – I’m talking about listening to the children. Absolutely nothing makes a child’s face light up so much as when a teacher really listens to what they’re saying, making eye contact, reflecting their feelings, and responding with true interest.