Tag Archives: listening

Eclipse Playlist- songs for the sun, moon, stars!



^^ Click our Image for a direct link to the playlist!^^

We all seem to be enamored with the upcoming eclipse- schools are counting down, doing district wide events, families are finding their prime location, and eclipse hunters have been tracking down their ideal location for years!

As I started compiling this list I looked a bit into last total solar eclipse, in 1918 and started thinking about how different times are, yet how captivated we still can be by such an event. Then, just months shy of WWI’s end, cars were becoming an attainable fixture in the landscape, penicillin was still 10 years away from being invented, radio was the way to stay up on the war effort abroad…my own house was only 4 year old! What a spectacle this day must have been- to see connect with the entire country from your own environment.

Map showing path of total eclipse of the sun across the United States, June 8, 1918

Map showing path of total eclipse of the sun across the United States, June 8, 1918

Today we can hop across the globe without ever leaving our phones, not to mention our multiple cars in the driveway. We can do pretty much anything we desire, yet we’re still longing for more meaning… maybe that’s why this event seems so intriguing. The older I get the more I start to appreciate the world around me, as children naturally do. I want to take more time to truly see things, rather than let them pass by.

In this playlist you’ll find some of those favorite tunes from soundtracks (E.T., Star Trek, etc.) that captured a space in our memories of what space might be like. These can be fun to share with our younger ones before they may be able to see the movies and shows themselves. When you’re ready to move on, there are pieces that seem to capture those thought provoking questions of, “What is space?” “How big are we?”, sometimes you can even picture that space station look down at the earth with movement through space …. “A Model of the Universe” by Johann Johannsson really does this for me, or “The Planets, Op. 32: Mars, The Bringer of War” by Gustav Holst”. As much as I’d like to witness this event with all of it’s spectacle, these pieces makes me want to just lie in my backyard reflectively, by myself- maybe with a couple friends.  (A couple tunes in here are lighthearted as well, hopefully you find the theme in them pretty quickly)

Our List: 

  1. The Creation (Die Schöpfung) Part 1/The First Day: Introduction: The Representation of Chaos- Franz Joseph Haydn
  2. The Planets, Op. 32: 1. Mars, The Bringer of War- Gustav Holst
  3. 12 Variationen uber “Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman”, K. 265- Franz Joseph Haydn (can you hear all 12 variations of the theme “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”?)
  4. Main Title, Alien- Jerry Goldsmith
  5. Mr. Sun- MaryLee (something fun to sing along to) 😉
  6. A Model of the Universe, The Theory of Everything- Johann Johannsson
  7. End Credits- From “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”- Jerry Goldsmith
  8. “All That Is or Ever Was or Ever Will Be”, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Music from the Original TV Series) Vol. 3- Alan Silvestri
  9. Samson, HWC 57: Total Eclipse (arr. for brass quintet) George Fredric Handel *This aria originally from the oratorio Samson discusses the character Samson actually going blind from looking at an eclipse of the sun! 
  10. Enter the Galaxies- Paul Lovatt-Cooper
  11. The Planets, op 32: 4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity- Gustav Holst
  12. Main Title and The Attack on the Jakku Village, Star Wars, The Force Awakens- John Williams
  13. Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30: Prelude (Sonnenaufgang) “Sunrise”, Richard Strauss (2001: A Space Odessey)
  14. Main Theme, “Apollo 13”- James Horner
  15. Adagio in D Minor, “Sunshine” – John Murphy

*FYI- this playlist does tend to break all the rules in the “2 minutes or less” department on How I Create a Playlist… but it was too fun of a theme not to put it together. For those of you traveling to your Eclipse destinations, hopefully it will help pass the time, there are 15 days between now and then- and 15 pieces (one a day!)


Not included- but worth honorable mention for parents and irony-

-Eclipse- Pink Floyd
-Total Eclipse of the Heart- Bonnie Tyler
-Here Comes the Sun- The Beatles
-Sound of Silence- Simon and Garfunkel
-Endless Night- The Lion King
-Fly Me to the Moon- Frank Sinatra…

NASA also has compiled a great extended list of more popular tunes!eclipse-spotify

However, or wherever you are celebrating this event- don’t forget your eyewear! There are a A LOT of not safe products out there! The good folks over at NASA have not only listed the safest ways to view the eclipse, but also added a list of reputable vendors to their site https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety 

Enjoy your tunes! And we will see you for classes in September!




Sound Stations- Make Noise At Home!


Sensory Stations can bring great, natural learning opportunities to a child’s everyday; yet still providing you opportunities, as the parent, to teach concepts that would otherwise be taxing or potentially lengthy (like learning by rote).

Sometimes sensory stations seem obvious, but so much so that we forget to do them, or how to use them in an educational way. I went ahead and *used what I had* (this is a key phrase… do not go out and get something! You can do this right at home and still have fun!) and put a couple things together here to discuss some ways you can start to incorporate “noises” at home, particularly when trying to develop hearing and listening skills.

img_4899FOUND SOUNDS: Found sounds often become an important discussion when we talk with older students about instruments; for example it’s important that they are aware of how to describe that sound, and know how that instrument produces that sound. This is a precursor to that, by providing a discussion, an ear training, and a vocabulary for those later years. Discussing loud sounds, soft sounds, high, low, rough, smooth, and silent sounds (that’s important too!). Go on a walk, or go around the house with some containers- you can buy some or use old film canisters, pill bottles, or tupperware to hold your treasures- then you display everything and do some compare and contrast. For little ones, you can do as I have it here, I have everything preset with lids taped shut and they’re easy shaker containers, when one gets used I am sure to mention what I see inside and what I hear.

*Everything in this photo I either already had or snagged at the dollar store through my days of teaching, so don’t feel intimidated or as if this is a big project, it’s as big as you want it to be! if I didn’t need to use it for classes, I probably would have just scooped up some dirt and rocks from my backyard, some noodles and sugar from my kitchen and gone from there (which I recommend) In the containers I have… macaroni, rice, coins, styrofoam balls, wooden dowels, sand, glass stones, beads, puff balls, and rocks. 


TEACHING LISTENING: A great introduction (or re-introduction) is the book “The Listening Walk” by Paul Showers.  It takes a child on a walk with her father and dog as she recognizes what she hears. She notices how her father “thinks” as she “listens”, and then she shares all the sounds that fill her ears along the walk. Once you’ve graduated from animal sounds, this is a nice book to introduce as you can review lawnmower, chainsaw, airplane, shoe, sprinkler sounds (which have more than one sound!) and more sounds from your environment. Now, since we don’t all live in the same place it’s so important to read this book (more than once) and then practice taking your own listening walk and take stock of what you hear in your OWN world! If you have preschoolers or kindergarteners at home, afterwards they can help you write a list of everything they can remember from the walk, with younger ones see if they can recognize sounds by asking them questions about what they see and hear.

I also have a pack of paper doll bodies that I reference to label what parts of the body we use to listen. You can keep this simple with just the ears, or you can expand – especially if your little one is headed to a classroom this fall- “ears on, mouth off”; or “hands down and still” (sometimes this looks like crisscross applesauce) … you can check out any ‘whole body listening’ concept and find the phrases that work for you.

a51cc86b048530a64dc61fc61373c079-person-outline-templates-person-template-for-kidsSince we are able to get outside right now, you could trace their body with chalk and ask them “what do our hands do when we listen?” I like the paper dolls because they can fold the arms themselves and further manipulate or add to the body as they see fit. (There are also great pre-made charts already out there that you can easily grab) 🙂






fullsizerender-2WATER PLAY:  Children love water play! Be it the calming, repetitive nature of scooping and pouring, or the release of energy that it brings us all (either relaxing or exciting). It can also help develop gross and fine motors skills along social skills when we have to share space, or experience something like water on our face unwillingly.

It’s also another opportunity to recognize the names of sounds that you might not get to hear elsewhere, “splash”, “spray”, “plop”, “drip”, “sprinkle”… these are your average onomatopoeia words, but highly specific to a water based area. In addition to these special words, you can throw in some metal bowls and kitchen utensils and discuss how they sound in the water- maybe they sound the same as they do out of the water? Maybe one has a lower sound or a higher sound when it has water inside? Does a wooden utensil have a different sound than a metal utensil? You can do this in the bathtub on a rainy day, or add everything to your little pool or water station outside.


Your options with developing listening skills are truly limitless! Sensory Stations, listening and identification all go hand in hand as long as we are able to provide an opportunity for examples!


Keep trying and keep having fun!