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
That’s how children really learn to listen.