Art of Listening

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The Art of Listening programme introduces classical music to young people by developing listening skills and focusing on how music interacts with the personal inner world of each child. The programme has been running for nearly 20 years engaging hundreds of Primary 7 pupils annually.

Art of Listening

The workshops engage the imagination and sense of self, stronger listening skills can be developed through ‘focused listening’ exercises. A professional opera singer and accompanist perform for children in a small recital as part of the workshop, giving them a rare opportunity to experience live performance in an intimate setting. Through fun practical drawing exercises, pupils increase their understanding of music and the role they play as listeners.

In a blog post offering a behind-the-scenes sneak peek in to the project Emma Hay, Creative Learning Officer, says: “In two short hours, we take the pupils from boredom and age-old preconceptions about classical music, through a history of the piano (featuring excerpts from The Simpsons and Pharrell Williams) to Mendelssohn and Britten amongst others and a visual art exercise that allows the pupils to express their experience of listening to classical musical.”

Art of Listening

In spring 2016 we travelled with the project from Edinburgh to Melbourne, Australia to present it to teachers, students and other music professionals from Independent Schools Victoria. In May 2017 we were invited back to showcase the Art of Listening at the inaugural Arts Learning Festival.

The Art of Listening is the subject of an international study by the education research unit, Project Zero at the University of Harvard, USA.

If you would like to request further information about the project or take the project to your school, please contact our Creative Learning team at

The children thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. It made them realise the importance of listening. The children also realized classical music can be fun and interesting. This was a really good workshop. It was fast moving and involved the children a lot

Teacher, South Morningside Primary

The songs were incredible. I loved drawing what we felt

Pupil, Bruntsfield Primary

I thought it was very good, and it definitely changed my view to classical music.  10/10!

Pupil, Parsons Green Primary

Project supported by Mike Shipley and Philip Rudge