From silence to sound

The sound-silence dichotomy

    School sections
    • Pre-primary
    • Primary
    Educational subjects

From silence to sound

“Being able to listen properly is the starting point to live according to the principle of good” Plutarco wrote in “De recta ratione audiendi”. Indeed, the art of listening, that is, developing conscious listening is at the basis of this project. Preparing children for an attentive listening attitude: getting them used to setting their hearing free from every vibration to listen to the silence. Even though being silent doesn’t always mean one is listening, the practice of listening begins with silence. The course draws attention to the sound/silence dichotomy and to their creative relationship through some simple group games.

Work tools

The activities were held on a weekly basis in the classroom, during curriculum hours. The choice of the use of the tuning fork derives from some considerations: it serves the essential function of producing vibrations and sound; it is easy to use so everyone can make use of it; it is easily available and has a low cost. Moreover, in its simplicity, the tuning fork favours children’s immediate observation of the tactile experience caused by vibrations. A butterfly model was used. Children were given a card with the butterfly profile printed on it so that each child could create his/her model by colouring it according to one's taste and cutting it out. Pencils, paper sheets and colours were also used.

Educational purposes

The skills, goals and training objectives selected by the teacher for this experience are shown below.

    • Sound perception
    • Interpretation
    • Execution
    • Improvisation
    • Composition
    Reading and Writing
    • Use of unconventional analogic music notation
Educational targets

The student:

  • listens actively and consciously
  • recognises distinctive features of sound and silence
  • uses voice and body to make games and dramatizations
  • gives meaning to listening to silence
  • uses the body and the voice to reproduce sounds and silences
  • expresses himself/herself with the voice and the body, alone and in a group
  • responds appropriately to the conductor's gesture; respects his/her role in situations of play and drama
  • plays the role of the conductor and guides the group according to his/her taste
  • creates sounds based on sound/silence alternation to comment texts or express moods
  • creates simple analog scores


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