• Jessica Frost

The Benefits of Musical Exploration

My Mom gave me these chimes when I first started teaching (14 years ago 🙈) and I just added them to Nicky’s play space. I used the chimes as my signal to get students’ attention but now I’m watching Nicky explore them in new ways.

So where’s the learning?

When Nicky moves his finger up and down the chimes he is learning that notes sound different depending on where he starts and how hard or soft he strikes the tubes. This may seem obvious but this learning invitation strengthens his listening skills, which research suggests also supports kids in listening to the different sounds in language, thereby helping them develop oral communication skills and early reading behaviours. Playing with chimes like these or chime bars (think xylophone) also supports spatial awareness of intervals. Current Ontario research in mathematics education suggests that we spend more time developing young children’s spatial awareness. Traditionally, we have focused more heavily on number sense and numeration (counting, adding, subtracting, etc.) and, although very important, including more spatial awareness learning opportunities will build more numerate little learners.

Extending the Learning

I’m going to play a game with Nicky to get him to continue to strengthen his listening skills. I’m going to strike just a few of the smaller tubes on the chimes, the ones that produce a deeper pitched sound, and when he hears that sound I’m going to ask him to jump like a frog (you can choose whichever action you wish). When I do the same with the longer tubes, the ones that produce a higher pitched sound, I’ll ask him to perform a different action. Upcycling chimes makes for, not only patterning and close-listening activities, but fun games!