Jean-Pierre Batard (*)
Primary school teacher/Training Teacher
School Jean Zay 2
35 bis Bd St-Denis
36000 Châteauroux - France

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). Furthermore, - and quite complementarily - a teacher employed by the town carries out a vocal and corporal work with the children. An experiment in physical science (according to the spirit of the “Main à la Pâte”-scientific approach- ) has also been carried out about sound.

Starting hypotheses

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.

Main objects

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 practice

- Everyday activity as it were (modulated according to the discharge I get as a training teacher ).
- 5 to 10 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 ( f. photos 1, 2, 3 and 4 )
- 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) (photo 5 ).
- 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.

First observations

- 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 proposed teachings.
- 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) ( 6, drawings 1, 2, 3 and 4 )
- a positive incidence on the practice of the mental gesture of attention in all 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 the national academy of music of Châteauroux 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 space.
3°) of singing on vowels ( or even on consonants ) in the right intonation.
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.
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 several harmonics.
- we sing a “lll” and we shift our tongues on our palates, and there again, we hear several harmonics.”

Mathilde, 10 years old,.june 2003

Takaisin kirjastoon