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What do you hear at this time of year? 

What better time to talk about sound than at the winter holidays. Paper wrapping being torn, children laughing in delight, carols and seasonal songs being sung.

All but the very youngest of us have experienced these moments many times before. So now imagine: it’s the day before the family get together. You’ve got a list of things to get through before you go to bed. Presents to wrap, cards to write, food to prepare.

Close your eyes for a minute. What do you do first? Can you hear the wrapping paper being cut to size, the cellotape being torn from its reel, the rattling of the present inside the box? Hhhhrtt, ccckkk! Are you writing the card to your aunt that you see once a year, what is the pen saying as it scribbles across the page? Swoosh, scrape! And how about the food that makes you hungry as you marinate it late in the evening, the knife cutting, the spoon mixing, the glass bowl ringing with every turn. Ring, ding, ring, ding!

We’ve all ‘done’ the festive holidays as a child or adult, but have you ever stopped to see what you are missing?

Like a song you only hear at that time of year, these sounds bring anticipation, memories, joy and happiness.

Learning to listen is our first sense, but sadly it’s also the one that is neglected in traditional education. We often fail to find the right words to describe a sound. For teachers, it’s the perfect time of year to have your students blind-folded and sat in a circle in the class. As the teacher, you set the scene: it’s the day of the year that all of your students are waiting for. What do they hear? Bells, parents whispering, the oven opening, food being prepared, glasses being cheered, carols sung and then a full range of emotions that only when we are blindfolded, do we get the chance to really appreciate the sound of joyfulness.

In our Erasmus Project Sound of Stories, we have created a library of sounds to cover a range of themes for any time of the year. With Audio Stories to stimulate the imagination and help us ‘’see with our ears’’, plus a long list of Activities to accompany them, learning to listen will never be the same again.

Find out more on our website: www.soundofstories.eu