SoundHoppers is a sound exploration playgroup for children in Key-stage 1 (ages 5-7) and Key-stage 2 (ages 7-11).
The sessions aim to encourage careful and deep listening, and attempt to instil a nuanced and sensitive approach to the different qualities of sounds in the environment. This is achieved by a variety of listening exercises that explore various aspects of sound – whether that’s proximity (i.e. how far or close a sound is) or timbre (i.e. the tonality and type of sound), or volume (ie how loud or quiet a sound is), and then by getting the children to generate sounds by exploring and playing with specially constructed Soundboxes and other sound generating devices and materials.
A different approach is taken from music workshops in that there’s a focus on the wider creative possibilities with the medium of sound rather than on musicality. Music is usually considered a language in of itself in that it involves rhythm, pitch, dynamics, and modes of performance, but steering away from this language allows children to be much more uninhibited in their explorations, and allows for a freer and more playful engagement.
The intention then, is to instil within the children a sense of careful listening and sonic curiosity, without the formalities of traditional musical discourse.