Jean-Pierre Batard (*)
Primary school teacher/Training Teacher
Sound resonance in the body and
fine listening into space
Experiment carried out in an
eighteen pupils’class betwen October 2000
to June 2002. (average age : 8-10 years old , with the same pupils
during two years).
Experiment continue now (since september 2002) with new pupils (9 years
old) and only during one year each time.
This activity is carried out, in particular, parallel to training for
mental control on the methodological transversal level and to listening
to musical works (in the historial field - from the Antiquity up to
nowadays - and in the field of traditional singing and music of the
world). An experiment in physical science (according to the spirit of
the “Main à la Pâte”-scientific approach- ) has also been
carried out about sound.
In the school context, what can
the pratice of the basic work
proposed by Iégor Reznikoff (**) about sound (fine listening and
perception of vibration in body and space), what can this practice
bring children ? As soon as a work allowing more refined listening is
carried out, we can expect it to produce effects on attention, not only
on the occasion of traditional musical listening (musical works) but
also on the occasion of any other school activity.
Developing a more refined keenness of hearing.
Improving capacities for being attentive.
.Setting. up listening habits.
- related to musical awakening in particular
- related to the behaviour in class in general (listening to oneself,
listenning to the others ... )
- related to mental gestures of attention, or even of memorization.
Skills being aimed at
Controlling one’s voice and corporal attitude.
Maintaining long-continued listening ; using listening instructions.
Singing in tune by controlling the intonation by ear.
Listening to the others ; practising inner listening.
Controlling the mental gesture of attention.
Short description of the
- Everyday activity as it were (modulated according to the
discharge I get as a training teacher ).
- 5 to 6 minutes, generally at the very beginning of the morning classe
The collective emission of a sound (on a “o” for instance ) is the
starting point of
- either a work about how resonance is felt in the body
- or a work on sound listening into space (in particular, listening to
harmonics in resonance, and fine perception, more particulary, of
“naturals” fifth and third).
- or a work about the emission of harmonic sounds (diphonic singing )
The children’s work is most often collective, but it may punctually be
carried out by small groups or even individually. It is very often
practised with closed eyes.
- an evident pleasure (which is far from being negligible !)
felt by the children immersed in this inner sound “bath”.
- an evident opening to an unknown sound world which had deep influence
during the activities dedicated to the listening of musical works.
Children’s sound world is generally quite restricted (radio, TV, video
games ). A priori, they don’t easily accept to attentively (and
tolerantly) listen to a piece by Mozart or Debussy, or to o pygmy song
or an indian raga!
- the everyday work in the early morning class allows to bring a good
many pupils to get ready, in a better way, for the more scholary
activities which are to come. In the early class, for various reasons,
a lot of them are “physically” but not” mentally” present ; therefore
they need a certain time’s acclimatization to get receplive to the
- a short moment’s experiment dedicated to drawing immediately after
singing allows to consider interesting possibilities : rich colours,
more “positive” drawings (the “usual” drawings are much more market by
violence, particularly that of video-games)
- a positive incidence on the practice of the mental gesture of
attention in all disciplines.is to be noted.
- a regular long-range work, quite well integrated with the other
practices in the class appears as necessary.
(*) I have been practising choral singing (
1990-2000 ) at a national academy of music and I have been
practising antique singing with Iegor Reznikoff since 1996.
(**) Iégor Reznikoff teaches at the university of Paris X
-Nanterre (France). He is. a specialist in antique singing and
organizes courses in France and abroat.
A fundamental work -
1°) on getting more refined perceptions in the body.
2°) on allowing the development of fine listening to resonance into
3°) of singing on vowels ( or even on consonants ) in the right
4°) about the emission of harmonic sounds -
is proposed in these courses, previous to any practice of antique
singing. It’s this first part of Iégor Reznikoff’s teaching we
are concerned with here.
“Every morning, when we go into the classroom, we produce
harmonic sounds by singing a “o”. When we make the “o” we hear a
whistle. Sometimes, we also make “a’s” and “mmm’s”. We do it all
together and it vibrates on our heads, our hands, our feet and in our
backs. We have also worked lying on the ground and we have sung sounds.
Mathilde, 10 years old, june 2003
I hear the whistle resounding in the whole classroom.
There are several ways of producing harmonics :
- all the pupils sing the same sound and we hear a whistle.
- we sing a “on” and we move our lips and we hear several harmonics.
- we sing a “nnni” in our nose and we move our lips ; we also hear
- we sing a “lll” and we shift our tongues on our palates, and there
again, we hear several harmonics.”