Developing Children’s Senses through the Pleasure of Sounds 音とのお付き合い ~気持ちよさを知ることから始まる情操と自主性

Published on: September 15, 2019

  How can we foster our children’s sensibility and leverage their potential? Here’s the answer from a kindergarten staff member and kids choir leader.

 

By Miho Tsuda / Translated by Hanae Matsumura [日本語記事へ]

 

As a child, I would often bang on the washbowl in the bathroom. Although I knew it wasn’t good manners, I would hit my bowl with chopsticks and make slurping sounds with a straw and would end up being told off. I enjoyed making sounds with different objects until someone would tell me to stop. The same went for my voice; like a musical instrument, I made different voices using different parts of my body. It was merely for my own entertainment. It’s true to say that I learned how to have fun with sounds in my youth.

 

Engaging all five senses is important for young children. Aside from smell and taste, they look, touch, and listen. They even mimic sounds they hear with their voice. How fun and satisfying it is when they succeed in mimicking an animal’s cry with their voice! When their voice cannot mimic the sound well, they use materials around them to make the sound. I think this is how a “good ear” grows. Strangely enough, the sounds that are so annoying to parents can be new and exciting for children. So what should we, as adults, do to ensure that every child can relish these valuable discoveries? My answer is that we should not give any preconceptions but give children the freedom to discover for themselves. Every child has the right to try everything.

Education which encourages active engagement by children should be provided in a way that stimulates children’s interest, not by forcing them.

I lead a kids’ chorus group composed of elementary and junior high school kids. Surprisingly, they can sing in German, Latin and even Russian! Someone once said that children’s’ potential is infinite…and yes, that’s definitely true. To them, a foreign language is a mere “bunch of sounds.” They can do anything as long as they do not have hesitations. The same is true for musical genres. If you think that classical music is too difficult and beyond your child’s ability, you might be narrowing the potential of the child. In Japan, many families start looking for their child’s kindergarten when the child reaches a certain age. What surprised me in Thailand is that many families choose their child’s kindergarten during pregnancy. This is partly because the minimum age requirements for kindergartens are usually lower than in Japan, but it also suggests the importance placed on early years’ education.

The first step for a child’s future can be the pleasure of feeling “let’s try!” or “I’ve made it!” through play.

Among the five senses, “hearing” starts the earliest, while in the mother’s womb. Once your child can make good friends with sounds, the benefit is not only in music but also in languages. This is especially true for the Thai language, as it has its unique tones, so a childhood surrounded by this language is really precious. It’s also a lot of fun to, for example, go shopping in a talat and speak Thai with your children. It’s not limited to languages. Now it’s time to listen to various sounds around us with renewed attention. You will find birds that are not in your home country. Just listen and enjoy the high/low pitches, volume and tempo of their singing – you will see, music is there for you and your child.

 

子どもの感性を育み、可能性を活かすために大切なこと。幼稚園職員、子ども合唱の指導者の著者が語ります。

 

文・津田 美穂  

 

小さい頃にはお風呂場で洗面器を叩いて遊んだものです。行儀が悪いとわかっているにも関わらず、お皿を箸で叩いて叱られる、ストローで音を立てて注意される。叱られるまで場所による音の微妙な違いを楽しんでいました。声も楽器と同様、体の様々な場所を使って発してみる。全て遊び。楽しい、おもしろい、ただそれだけでした。その頃、音の楽しみ方を知ったのかもしれません。

 

幼児期は五感を使うことが大事だと言われます。嗅ぐ・味わうはさておき、見、触れ、そして聴く。更には真似て喉から出してみる。動物の鳴き声と同じ音が出せたらうれしい、気持ちいい!声で出来なければ物を使ってやってみる。音感とはこのように育まれるものではないでしょうか。 親にとっては迷惑な音も、子どもにとっては新鮮極まりないものであったりするから不思議なものです。どの子にもそんな発見をしてほしい。それにはまず、周囲の大人が子どもたちへ「先入観は与えず、自由を与えることである」という考えに至りました。子どもはみな何にでも挑戦する権利があります。

自主性を促す教育とは、子どもたちの興味をそそる方法で行われるべきであり、強制はしないものです。

私は小学生から中学生までの子ども合唱の指導を経験しましたが、彼らはドイツ語やラテン語、ロシア語も歌うことができました。子どもの可能性は無限だと聞いたことがありますが、まさにその通りでした。 知らない言語も彼らにとってはただの音。抵抗さえ持たなければ何でもやってのけるのです。 音楽のジャンルも同じ。クラシック音楽なんてうちの子には無理、親がそう思っていると幅を狭めてしまうことになりかねません。 日本では、概ねお子さんの該当年齢が近づくと幼稚園探しを始めるご家庭が多いようです。しかし私がこの国で驚いたのは、妊娠中に入園を決める方が多くいらっしゃることです。保育スタートの時期が日本より早いこともありますが、それほど幼児期の教育は大事であるということですね。

遊びの中で「やってみよう!」「やれた!」という気持ちよさを感じることこそが、将来の道につながる第一歩、ということなのです。

五感の中でも「聴く」ことはおなかの中から始まっていると言います。音との付き合い方が上手になれば、音楽のみならず語学にも強くなる可能性が高いです。 特に声調のあるタイ語が聴こえてくる国で過ごす時間はとても貴重です。お子さんと一緒にタイ語を使ってタラートなどで買い物をすると楽しいですね。 外国語はもとより、身の回りに溢れている様々な音を聴き直してみませんか?日本にはいない鳥がいることにも気付きます。鳴き声の高さ低さ、ボリューム、テンポなどを楽しむ、それこそが実は音楽というものなのです。  

 

About the Author

Having lived in Thailand for 11 years and raised two sons now in college and high school, Miho is an active, versatile mother as a computer instructor, writer and liaison marketer at Apple Tree International Kindergarten. She also plans and administers various concerts as a Chorus Administrator at Bangkok Opera Foundation. She actively engages in many chorus activities as her lifework.

在タイ11年。大学生と高校生の男子の母。PCインストラクター、ライター、Apple Tree International Kindergarten日本人リエゾン・マーケティング担当。財団法人バンコクオペラにてChorus Administratorとして様々な演奏会を企画・運営。ライフワークは合唱。


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