The Listening Centre - Part Two: Importance of Music, Movement and Vestibular System Activation

The Director of the Listening Centre, Paul Madaule, spent some of his formative years working with Dr. Tomatis in his Paris Centre. In addition to being the author of numerous articles on subjects related to the educational and therapeutic value of music, voice and listening training with children with developmental and learning problems, Paul authored When Listening Comes Alive (1993), that has been translated into a number of languages, including Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese. He has drawn upon his 30 years of clinical experience to develop a portable audio-device called The Listening Fitness Trainer (LiFT®). He and his team developed Listening Fitness with the LiFT program and a professional training course, to make listening training available to wider audiences. 
This book has so many wonderful insights re: children and learning, in addition to the work done with adults. I am drawn to this work as Paul spends time on the important connection between language acquisition and music & movement. Paul states that 
“Our perception of all body movements comes from the fluid stimulating the sensory cells inside the vestibular system” (p. 52). He goes on to explain that “Music engages and reinforces the ‘dialogue’ between the ear of the body or vestibular system and the auditory ear or cochlear system. This dialogue is important for the acquisition of motor functions, verticality, space and time awareness, lateral dominance and language” (p. 52). 
“Harmony between movements and sounds – between the body and auditory – is a prerequisite for the acquisition of language and academic leaning in general. This is why music should play an essential part in early and in preschool life” (p.53). 
Paul eloquently goes on to explain that “having a vestibular challenge makes one unstable in their own body. It is like trying to carry on all the normal activities of life on a rocking boat in a most unpredictable sea” (p. 54). 
When we designed the movements for every Kids-Move song, a lot of time and attention went into how we could stimulate and support the vestibular system. Being able to shift weight from one foot to another in homolateral movements, to create stability and coordinated use of the arms and legs to create mobility, has formed the science behind our movement combinations and choices. Perhaps we have been doing what Paul suggests by providing children with some support to navigate “their rocking boat” in the unpredictable sea of life! 
Liz Jones-Twomey

For more information, read When Listening Comes Alive: A Guide to Effective Learning and Communication by Paul Madaule, Moulin Publishing, P.O. Box #560, Norval, Ontario, © 1994 
ISBN: 978-0-9697079-1-2  
To learn more about the amazing work at the Listening Centre, visit their site at 

Listening Training helps children with issues such as:  

Attention and Focus  
• Attention Deficit Disorder -with or without Hyperactivity (AD/HD)  
• Inability to Focus  
• Distractibility  
• Difficulty to concentrate  

Language and Learning 
• Learning Disabilities (auditory-language and non-verbal LD)  
• Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)  
• Reading and Writing Difficulties (Dyslexia)  
• Speech and Language Delays and Disorders  
• Fine Motor and Organizational Skills  

Communication and Socialization 

• Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)    
• Asperger’s Syndrome  

Other Developmental Issues 

• Sensory Integration Dysfunction (‘Out of Sync’ child)  
• Global Developmental Delay  
• Cerebral Palsy (CP)  
• Down’s Syndrome and Other Genetic Differences  

Areas of progress experienced by children during and after
the listening training  
• auditory processing • attention span • focus • clarity of speech  
• spontaneity • curiosity • happiness • ease of expression • well-being    
• motivation at school • organizational skills • learning • reading • writing  • sentence structure • muscle tone • balance • posture • body awareness  
• gross & fine motor functions • coordination • eye contact • desire to initiate  
• socialization • nonverbal communication • assertiveness   
• flexibility • tolerance • confidence • responsibility • independence 
• maturation • sensory integration • regulation •  visual-motor skills • motor planning 

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