Listening Lab Baltimore


Mindfulness through Music

The Listening Lab is an education program of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, teaching students mindfulness, concentration, and awareness techniques through music listening.

During a one-week Listening Lab residency, students learn listening strategies during a series of classroom sessions, concluding with a BCO concert in their own school. This fall, the Listening Lab will be in residence at schools in the Highlandtown area. If you're interested in bringing the Listening Lab to your school, please contact us.

With its emphasis on mindfulness, the Listening Lab may seem like a quiet, serious program, but we have a lot of fun! All activities alternate between interactive, kinesthetic exercises and focused listening work. The three-part curriculum progresses from internal focus - managing my own thoughts and attention -  to external focus - connecting and communicating with others. 

Part 1: Ready to Listen

Students learn to be physically and mentally open to sounds. Core concepts include: 

  • “Monkey mind” - directing attention calmly and compassionately using a traditional metaphor from meditation practice 

  • Listening posture - finding a comfortable position and becoming open to sounds 

  • Feeling sound - becoming aware of music’s impact on the body and mind 

Part 2: Listening with Imagination

Students use their imaginations to actively engage with music. Core concepts include:  

  • Seeing sound - imagining what music looks like through colors, landscapes, and stories

  • Hearing motion - hearing music’s ability to move, change directions, and come to rest

  • Identifying with music - imagining the physical sensation of playing or singing music 

Part 3: Listening Together

Students learn how shared listening experiences enrich our lives. Core concepts include:  

  • Musical connections - understanding how music forms a connection between listeners

  • Critical listening - articulating likes and dislikes, finding commonalities with other listeners

  • Listening with different ears - hearing music as someone else might hear it