For many children, singing is acquired earlier and faster than speech…

“Listening and Singing”

by Paul Madaule

Published in the NATS Journal of Singing, May/June 2001)


“While hearing is the passive reception of sound, listening is the active process of

tuning in to those sounds we wish to receive while screening out those we do not wish to

receive. Listening involves the perception of both external sounds as well as those of our

own voice. In the early steps of language acquisition, children receive sound from the

surrounding environment (the process of hearing). Then they begin to “pick out”,

auditorily speaking, those sounds that are of significance such as “mom, dad, milk, juice”

(the process of listening). Children then re-shape these sounds with their own voice

modeling them on what they have heard (the process of self-listening).

This same process operates in the acquisition of singing, which most children master with ease and grace.

For many children, singing is acquired earlier and faster than speech. In my opinion,

engaging children in singing is the best listening training one can offer them especially

for facilitating their acquisition of language and introduction to the written word and the

world of numbers.7 Simply put, learning to sing also trains our ability to listen to

ourselves sing. It involves the fine-tuning and reinforcement of the auditory control of the

voice.” – keep reading: Listening-and-Singing-Madaule