This winter, take a family dive into the musical world of Beethoven. Our guides Laryssa, François and Adi have put together 3 thematic activity sheets – they will be available one at a time – about the Hotel Beethoven exhibition. Try out this second activity sheet and explore the fascinating world of the senses!
Before you start the three activities, listen to what our guide Adi has to say...
Now that we’re done with introductions, enjoy the following creative activities!
1. A DIFFERENT WAY OF LISTENING
Place your fingers on your partner’s back and let them guess how many fingers you are touching them with. It’s much harder than it sounds!
2° The osophone
Place the bone of your wrist in the hollow behind your ear. Then tap lightly on your elbow. Can you hear the tapping? This is known as bone conduction; the sound vibrations travel through your bones.
3° Elephant ears
Turn on the music and turn your back to the speakers. Put your open hands just behind your ears. Where does the music seem to be coming from? Now turn around and listen. Keep your ‘elephant ears’. Then take your hands away and hear the difference.
4° De richting van het geluid
Close your eyes and slowly revolve twice. When you stop, have someone send you a sound signal from as far away as possible. Can you identify exactly where the sound is coming from? Tip: Try this game in a park if your indoor space is too small.
2. A DIFFERENT WAY OF SPEAKING
Let’s start by learning a few sign-language words in French Belgian and Flemish Sign Languages with Julie Carlier and Jaron Garitte.
Now, let’s play telephone in sign language.
Stand in a line. The person at the end of the line chooses a set of words in sign language and communicates it to the person in front of them, who then passes on what they have understood to the next person, and so on, until it reaches the person at the front of the line. How has the set of words changed during its journey?
Example of a set of words: “Hi, how are you? Thank you! I love you…”
3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Beethoven was a deaf musician. Do you know of others? Do you know any musicians with a disability*?
For example, Stevie Wonder is blind and plays the piano perfectly. Which senses does he use to play without seeing?
Here are some answers:
— Sound: he hears the spaces (the “intervals”) between the notes, knows the sound (the “colour”) of the chords…— Touch: the black keys on the piano are set back from the white keys – they don’t only look different, they feel different.
— Hand movements: our body’s memory allows us to reproduce gestures which, over time, become reflexes. The instrument becomes an “extension” of the musician’s hands, a bit like a tennis racket for a tennis player.
Often, the absence of one sense enhances the others.
Do you have one sense that is more acute than the others? What does this help you with? Music, cooking, drawing, climbing trees?
Do you have a sense that is less pronounced than the others? Has your brain developed other skills to compensate for it? For example: some blind people have a very acute sense of hearing.
Watch this inspiring video of a young blind American who uses sound as a different way of “seeing”! Please note: the first images are not recommended for very small children.
* Words matter
Avoid expressions like “disabled” or saying that someone “suffers” from a disability – these expressions stigmatise people and reduce them to their condition.
Remember, it is often our society’s failure to adapt to disabilities that causes “suffering”.