Minute of Listening

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

About Minute of Listening 

Minute of Listening is an exciting and innovative project created by Sound and Music, that provides all primary-aged children with the opportunity to experience sixty seconds of creative listening each day of the school year.

Our application can be used on your laptops or desktops and with your interactive whiteboards, bringing a wealth of sonic resources into the classroom.

Minute of Listening 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.

Find out more about Minute of Listening 

The Importance Of Listening

Listening, and the way we experience sound, has a huge impact on our lives. Yet in a predominantly visual culture, time is rarely dedicated to exploring our aural experiences and to developing our ability to listen in a concentrated or imaginative way. 

Minute of Listening provides a simple and effective way of introducing a culture of curious, engaged and reflective listening in the classroom and offers a structured, daily activity that enables teachers and their pupils to explore a wide variety of sonic experiences.

The application 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 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.

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 

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 


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.

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 



We are always looking for new ideas for how to use and develop Minute of Listening, so if you have been inspired or would like to get listening in your school please do contact us for more information: education@soundandmusic.org


Our Partners

Minute of Listening has been developed by Sound and Music with the support and collaboration of local delivery partners including local music hubs. We would like to say a big thank you to all our partners.


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