The Listening workshop is based on experiences and practices that The Mosaic And Sound (UK) performed for years in different settings of formal and non-formal education and on resources created within the “Euphony” European Union funded project (Socrates programme).

The following steps are also inspired by the content of the ARTES Conference held in Florence, Italy, November 2014, section on “Music and Listening as a New Source of Education”.

The following workshop is divided into four experience/Steps:

  • Warm-up activity through music and movement
  • The speaker and the listener
  • The improvising circle
  • Music listening and feedback sharing


STEP 1   Warm-up activity through music and movement

  • Participants stand in the room in places that they like.
  • They tell their name to the group.
  • The workshop leader will explain that they are going to listen to a brief piece of music and they are free to move in the room expressing movements inspired by the music.
  • They will try to have a slow and conscious breathing.

More: step 1

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STEP 2   The  speaker and the listener

The workshop leader explains that the next step is an activity intended to provide an experience of attentive listening. Participants will listen to the words of another person and will practice silence, as they will interact only through eye contact and body language. This activity is usually used as a warm-up exercise, but in this context it is used to raise awareness of the act of listening and speaking, and certainly to know each other better.

The trainer explains the whole exercise by describing each of the following steps. After that, they cans start.

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More: step 2

STEP 3  The Improvising Circle

The aims of this step are: continuing to acquire listening awareness and to free expression through making sound and singing.

The participants sit in a circle and select together a simple song that everybody knows. It may be  Frères  Jacques, for instance. 

They sing it gently together four/five times until, by adjusting their voices, they feel confident with it.

Then, the group is split into two groups.  One group form a circle and is in the centre of the room, the other group form a circle around it, so that there are two concentric circles of participants.

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The participants in the inner circle will sing Frères Jacques, very gently (piano) over and over again and those in the outer circle, around them, will improvise by making any kind of sound with their voice or by beating on parts of their the body (sh…sh…  tra… tra… boom..boom…, drumming on the body…) to form an accompaniment to the song that is sung by the inner circle.

More: step 3

STEP 4   Listening to music pieces and sharing feedback

The final step aims to increase active listening and to enhance awareness of our inner sources of knowledge, through a process of insights with sounds and music providing a bridge to memory.

This particular step can be also be performed as a stand-alone activity.

Duration: 40 minutes

  • Participants are invited to prepare themselves by following some simple steps concerning posture. They will sit and have the spine straight, better if they can also close their eyes. They are invited to breathe quietly and to try to relax their head and shoulders.
  • The leader explains that they are going to listen to a piece of music and ‘something’ is going to happen. The exercise is to catch that ‘something’. Nevertheless, the leader does not suggest to the participants that they should have any expectations.

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More: step 4

Recommended music

Step 1

  • Compassion, The Seven Tones of Balance Pythagoras Music Treatment, Daniel Levy, piano and resonances, Syntony, UK
  • Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould, piano, Sony Classical S3K87703 (1981)

Step 4

  • Contrabajìsimo-Tema Central, Alma Argentina, Astor Piazzolla, Bandoneon (1984), Daniel Levy, Piano (1998), Edelweiss Emission (1998).
  • Mahler, Das Lied von der Erde, Jessye Norman (soprano), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/James Levine, Deutsche Grammophon 439 948-2.
  • Villa-Lobos:  Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for soprano & 8 cellos, A389 – Aria,  The Magician Disc Soprano,  Anna Moffo,  Conductor, Leopold Stokowski.
  • Chopin: Piano Concertos No 2 in F minor, Op.21 – Larghetto. Claudio Arrau, piano, London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by  Eliahu Inbal (1992), Philips (1992).
  • Primera Noche, Al-Son, Mudéjar, Begoña Olavide, Karonte (2003).
  • Schumann, Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54, Daniel Levy (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Edelweiss Emission, EE5001.

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