Minute of Listening

Minute of Listening
Minute of Listening
Produced by: 
Sound and Music


Minute of Listening is an exciting and innovative project that has the potential to provide all primary-aged children with the opportunity to experience sixty seconds of creative listening each day of the school year.

By downloading a simple piece of software to their laptops or desktops , teachers can bring a wealth of sonic resources into their classrooms.

You can download the app now at www.minuteoflistening.org

To make sure your school benefits register interest at info@soundandmusic.org

The Development of Minute of Listening

Sound and Music completed a large-scale pilot of Minute of Listening in 2012, involving over seventy primary schools around the UK in Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Norfolk and London. Almost 20,000 children and their teachers engaged in a Minute of Listening each day throughout the Spring term, followed by group discussions and sharing their responses to the sounds they heard.  The pilot project was independently evaluated; the full report can be downloaded here and the executive summary here.

The following film was made at four of the primary schools participating in the Minute of Listening pilot:


Minute of Listening uses a custom-built piece of software to deliver one minute of music or sound to school classrooms each day. The project introduces children and teachers to a wide variety of recordings across many genres and from all kinds of sources. In a typical week during the pilot, classes might hear Matthew Herbert's 'An Apple a Day', followed by a field recording of an East London Market from London Sound Survey, before an extract from Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra. The recordings used in Minute of Listening are sometimes exciting, sometimes challenging, but always aimed at arousing the classes' curiosity and capturing their imaginations.

MOL has broadened the children's experience of sound and music. It has developed their interest and inspired dance and music-making activities. It has introduced many unfamiliar sounds and instruments. It has given them the opportunity to talk about the unfamiliar, share their views and ideas.

- Primary teacher involved in the Minute of Listening Pilot

Each day, teachers and their classes are encouraged to follow the Minute of Listening with a short conversation as a class, beginning with the simple question: When you listened, what did you hear?

My class looked forward to it every day and it really brought them out of their shell (sometimes the more reserved children were the most expressive) and it brought some great class discussions about the sounds and their drawing responses. For me, seeing the children feel free to express themselves through drawing, movement and language was great and created a great atmosphere in the classroom.

- Primary teacher involved in the Minute of Listening Pilot

Drawn responses by a Reception class child in Westminster


Minute of Listening provides a stimulus for imaginative class discussion, reflection and opinion forming, encouraging children to verbally explore what they hear, and supporting speaking and listening agendas. The project also presents an opportunity for children to let their imaginations run wild; the idea that there is no right or wrong response is welcomed when talking subjectively about their individual impressions of what they heard.

The sounds that are used in the project are accompanied by additional supporting resources and material for teachers to use with their classes in a variety of different ways. During the pilot, many teachers encouraged children to create visual responses to the sounds they heard in their 'sound diaries'. Others moved to the music, or created poetry and other literacy-based work inspired by what they heard.

Visual 'sound diaries' made by a Year 2 class in Lambeth

Minute of Listening demonstrates how daily listening activities can be used to introduce a culture of curious, engaged and reflective listening in the classroom. It also aims to explore how music and sound can be used as a stimulus for analytical thinking and conceptual exploration, and as the basis for open and imaginative class discussion that supports the development of speaking and listening skills.

It's been a wonderful experience which has enriched the lives of the children. Our school is very multi-cultural with many countries and languages represented. The experience has helped to celebrate the world as a whole and has helped us to develop listening skills and music appreciation with the minimum of planning and preparation. A wonderful resource.

- Primary teacher involved in the Minute of Listening Pilot

For more information about the project, please contact info@soundandmusic.org

In this project

Sign up to the Sound and Music Newsletter to find out more about this project.

Produced by

Sound and Music

In partnership with

Music Cornwall logo

Lambeth CLC logo

Tri-borough logo

Enfield Council

Oxford Contemporary Music


Norfolk & Norwich Festival logo

Software developed by



Sound Calendar Collection 1 (Pdf)

A printable calendar of all the recordings from Weeks 1-6 and Weeks 7-12 of the Minute of Listening project.

Sound Calendar Collection 2 (Pdf)

A printable calendar of all the recordings from Weeks 1-6 and Weeks 7-12 of the Minute of Listening project.

Sound Diaries (PdfDoc)

Download templates for 'sound diary' pages to capture responses to listening. These are based on templates made by teachers in the first trial, but can easily be adapted to suit your class! For KS1 & 2.

Sound Maps (PdfDoc)

Download a template for a sound mapping exercise in the classroom or around your school. For KS1 & 2.

From Sounds To Pictures (Pdf)

Creative visual arts activities based on drawn responses to music and sound. From simple responses thinking about sounds as shapes or symbols, to the creation of graphic scores that can be performed by your class! Try using these activities with the 'Everyday Objects' sounds from the tags page. For KS1 & 2.

Sound Objects Collection 1 (Pdf)

Two creative sound-making activities combining Music, Design & Technology, Art and PHSE. Use recycled objects found around your school or at home to create homemade instruments. Then use your homemade instruments or objects found around your classroom to create a sound performance! You could use this activity as a progression of the Graphic Scores activity (above). Try using these activities with the 'Everyday Objects' sounds from the tags page. For KS1 & 2.

Sound & Place collection 1 (Pdf)

Sound & Place collection 2 (Pdf)

A series of activities investigating field recordings and encouraging your class to explore their own sonic environments, as well as the site-specific recordings from Minute of Listening. Take a class Sound Walk, create a Sound Map of your school, or write Field Recording Stories! Try using these activities with the 'Field Recordings' from the tags page. For KS1 & 2.

Watery Words collection 1 (Pdf)

Poetry activities for KS1 & 2 - great for supporting literacy! Create haiku and concrete poetry inspired by Minute of Listening recordings relating to water. You can use these activities with 'Watery' sounds from the tags page. For KS1 & 2.

Listening Ideas

A range of ideas from Sound and Music and teachers who took part in our Norfolk trial and teacher training sessions. These include creative ways of leading investigative listening in the classroom and lots of ideas for approaching Minute of Listening with your class! If you have an idea of your own you would like to share, please contact us: education@soundandmusic.org.

To find out more download the Teacher's Pack.


Sound and Music|3rd Floor, South Wing, Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA|Tel +44 (0)20 7759 1800||Registered Charity: 1124609|VAT Reg No: 937 5533 96 

Designed by Fitzroy & Finn|Built by Platform3|Copyright © Sound and Music 2016