Luistergoed is a music center focused on providing high-quality musical orientation for babies and toddlers. Luistergoed aims to stimulate all areas of the developing child, but especially her/his musical development in a playful and rich musical environment.
The Luistergoed method follows the idea that children learn music the way they learn to speak their native language. This method is based on various well-known musical education methods, such as Orff, Suzuki, Ward and Gordon (Music Learning Theory), and follows the latest research in the field of early childhood musical development.
During the course, parents are given the opportunity to stimulate their creativity in a relaxing and inspiring way, so that they can later guide their children's music learning process.
Learning while playing
Matilde Castro was born in Lisbon, in 1972. For years she has been interested in two fields: Literature and Music. After completing her university studies in Portuguese and French Literature, as well as a singing conservatory study, she continued her education in The Hague, where she studied singing and music education at the Royal Conservatory. She then decided to respond to her passion for the fascinating relationship between children and music, in particular the musical development of babies and toddlers, and followed the Post-hbo education in Muziek op Schoot teacher at the Conservatorium in Amsterdam.
Since then she has been associated with a variety of daycare centers and schools, where she provides many children with a first introduction to music and musical development. This musical environment helps them to develop their many talents and possibilities. Matilde pays special attention to the quality of the didactic material that she uses during the lessons. She composes the songs herself and develops a rich and varied teaching material. Her source of inspiration is without a doubt the inexhaustible creativity and inquisitiveness of the children themselves.
In addition to her teaching practice, Matilde has extensive experience as a classical singer. She was a member of the Gulbenkian Choir and Lisbon Chamber Choir, with which she performed in countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Japan. She has been a member of The Kassiopeia Quintet, which has recorded 6 CDs with madrigals from the baroque composer Gesualdo.
Method & background
Why is it important to stimulate musical development in young children?
Music is a fundamental element of our culture and can play a major role in the education of a child. Through music, young children learn to express their emotions in a natural and balanced way and to communicate with their environment. In addition, music helps the child build up motor, social, cognitive and sensory skills. At Luistergoed, we offer a high-quality musical environment for your child, making profound impact on the extent to which she/he will be able to understand, appreciate, and achieve in music as an adult.
Every child has the potential and ability to learn music. This ability can be most powerfully developed from birth to age nine. However, the most important years are the first three. If the child does not get the right musical incentives during the first years, her/his precious innate capacity will be lost. Although babies are born with a certain potential to learn music, this tendency is strongly influenced by the environment. The musical environment in which a child grows up is therefore essential for her/his musical development.
Singing, playing with movement and dancing are all primary forms of communication between parents and children, which stimulate both the development of the musical capacity and the learning of language. Recent studies by music psychologists and pedagogues have shown children learn music in much the same way they learn a language.
How does the music session work?
During the Luistergoed music class your child will receive informal guidance by listening, moving and experimenting with beautiful instruments and other materials. Songs are sung in different tonalities and meters, and mostly without words, because the words of vocal music tend to distract children's attention from the basic elements of music. They are not expected to "learn" songs, nor to respond in specific ways to the music they hear. Doing this, they will naturally absorb the music from their environment.
The way the music session is offered depends entirely on the age of your little one. The reason for this is that children have different motor, social, cognitive, and emotional responses, according to their age and stage of development.
In addition to the music lesson, there are three CDs with songs in different tonalities and meters so that parents and children can practice and enjoy together at home.
Since birth, movement is the most natural and spontaneous response to music. That is why the Luistergoed music session contains various activities that focus on movement and spatial exploration, such as musical games with scarves, balls or even without material. With these activities the child learns to coordinate her/his movement and breathing with the music she/he hears. It is very important to let the child move at her/his own pace. During the music class we move in a free flowing manner, without imposed "dances" that could hinder the natural motor response of the child. Parents are invited to perform the movement instead of, for example, holding their child's hands to let them clap or to let her/him hit on a drum.
The listening moments, which require special concentration, are also of the utmost importance. During these moments the child comes into contact with the pleasure of listening and experimenting, playing with and exploring new sounds and musical instruments. Silence also receives special attention: it is precisely during these moments of silence that the child absorbs all musical information. It is often also the moment of unexpected reactions, such as repeating the movements or short tonal sequences that were performed shortly before. These are expressions of "music babble" in which the child engages in music imitation. She begins to learn how to teach music to herself.
Benefits for all development areas
Nothing activates as many areas of the brain as music!
In addition to developing musicality, the Luistergoed music class covers various other areas of child development:
Musical skills: listening, moving, singing, experimenting with musical instruments
Motor skills: awareness of one's own body, balance, spatial orientation, motor coordination
Social skills: playing and interacting with others, learning to share and cooperate, getting to know one's own limits, learning by observing others
Emotional skills: learning about feelings, developing creativity, developing the relationship between child and caregiver, self-expression and self-awareness
Cognitive skills: concentration, problem solving, following directions
Speech and language skills: playing with the sounds of language, good articulation, mouth motor skills
Sensory development: listening, looking, touching.
Rhythm and tonal content
During the music class the child informally receives a wide variety of rhythmic and tonal material. Songs are sung in major and minor, without preconceived meaning, such as "cheerful" or "sad." Many songs are also sung in musical modes such as Doric, Mixolydian and Phrygian. We also play with rhythmic sequences in different meters, performed with neutral syllables such as "ba", "pa" and "ma".
Most of the songs are intentionally performed without words: in order to learn to understand music, it is much more important that your child be exposed to the pure content of the music (tonality and rhythm) in a creative and playful way rather than focusing on the words of a song . Stimulating a sensitive ear for music in young children depends on their focus on the basic elements of the music, such as correct pitch, meter, tempo or dynamics. This focus is easier to achieve if the music is played without words.
Why is variety of tonality and meter, dynamics and tempo so important? Research shows that children learn music in much the same way as they learn to speak. From the time of birth, and even before, they are surrounded by the sounds of language. Parents make verbal contact with the child, bringing them into natural contact with syllables, words and sentences, without the special purpose of teaching the child to speak. The child does absorb this language information in order to develop a vocabulary through imitation, until the child reaches the stage of verbal improvisation. Similarly, when exposed to a rich and varied musical environment, the child will develop a greater musical "vocabulary" and a better musical way of thinking and understanding.
How do children learn their mother tongue and music?
The child listens to her/his parents when they talk. The child listens to her/his parents when they sing or play.
The child imitates the sounds she/he hears.
The parents recognize the reactions of the child and provide positive feedback; this encourages the child to continue learning.
The child absorbs the positive feedback from her/his parents and repeats the learned sound. This process continues until the child knows different sounds or words.
The child learns to imitate sounds and words, but also to understand these and later use them in sentences. She/he is then able to improvise with the language or with music.
The following factors are therefore essential when teaching the child's mother tongue and music:
Diversity of listening repertoire in the child's environment
Quality of example given by parents/caregivers
Repetition (which stimulates imitation)
Positive feedback towards the child's reactions
Actieve participation of parents/caregivers
The musical environment in which a child grows up is essential for her/his musical development. Active participation and stimulation of parents and caregivers is essential for the child's musical growth. At Luistergoed, not only the children learn, but also the parents. They are extensively involved in their child's learning process.
The choice of materials is carefully made having in mind the safety of the child. Materials are introduced in a playful way through a variety of timbres, colors and textures. All the materials used during the Luistergoed music class are suitable for your child's development stage and offer many different possibilities for playing.
All songs are sung at medium-high range, suitable for the children's voice, so that the children can imitate the music (sounds) they hear in a natural and healthy way. Let us not forget that children learn first and foremost through imitation and that we must therefore give them the best possible example. The most important elements in the Luistergoed music class are undoubtedly free movement and use of voice.