SOUND TO SYMBOL

iPad Apps Based on Preverbal Elemental Music

Preverbal Elemental Music
The Method*

BEFORE THE FIRST MEANINGFUL WORD​​​​​

Infants say their first word around the same time they start to walk. We can easily observe how their movement skills develop towards the first independent strides -  from holding their head up to sitting, crawling and standing. It is more difficult to spot their developmental steps that lead to understanding spoken language.
 
Language development begins long before saying the first word. In addition to developing joint attention with parents or caretakers, infants have to build their capacity for the auditory system to be able to approach complex sounds like speech. 
​Auditory perception development during the early years entails building discrimination skills to basic sound features like frequency, intensity, duration and timbre, as well as developing the ability to detect changes in these features over time. Localizing sounds, grouping, assigning meaning and building the capacity for auditory memory form the foundation for symbolic language use. 

Preverbal Elemental Music provides a way to use the simple elements of music, specially composed and configured to represent the musical aspects of spoken language, to strengthen listening and related thinking skills necessary for spoken language learning. It provides a way to develop auditory and multisensory problem solving skills without having to know spoken/written language or music.


HOW DOES THE METHOD SUPPORT THE DISCRIMINATION OF BASIC  SOUND FEATURES?
​Frequency, intensity, duration and timbre discrimination form the basis for the techinque used for composing and configuring 3 second musical segments representing and paired with the elements of spoken vocabulary categories:

a. Frequency: compositions and activities include sounds with a​​ wide fundamental frequency range combined in a variety of frequency patterns. The full 88-key piano fundamental frequency range of 27.5-4186Hz which covers the human auditory fundamental frequency range necessary for understanding spoken language,  provides endless possibilities for sound combinations.
Example: descending frequency pattern in the medium frequency range used for 3 sec music segment paired with the object "Elephant"/
Animals/Level 1 vs. alternating frequency pattern in the low range for 3 sec music segment paired with the object "Gorilla"/Animals/Level 1.

b. Duration and temporal processing:​ The compositions and activities of Preverbal Elemental Music are configured to promote temporal reasoning for elements of speech. The syllabic rhythm and accents of each vocabulary word are an integral part of music segments in music/word pairs. 
Example: rhythm for the 3 sec music segment paired with the object "Elephant"/Animals/Level 1 ♫ ♩♫ ♩♫ ♩​vs. rhythm for the 3 sec music segment paired with the object "Dog"/Animals/Level 1♩♩♩.

c. Spectral shape or timbre: the recordings and activities of Preverbal Elemental Music are configured to promote spectral shape discrimination: various instruments with rich sound spectrum are used for recordings of 3 sec music segments. 
Example: acoustic violin used for recording a 3 sec music segment paired with the object "Bird"/Animals/Level 1 vs. xylophone used for recording a 3 sec music segment paired with the object "Elephant"/
Animals/Level 1. 

​HOW DOES THE METHOD SUPPORT MAPPING SOUND PATTERNS TO MEANINGS?

​Preverbal Elemental Music pairs objects with 3 second specially composed music segments, containing syllabic rhythm and accents of the spoken word of the corresponding object. The formed association
is used to link the object to the written word.

HOW DOES THE METHOD SUPPORT BUILDING THE CAPACITY FOR WORKING MEMORY?

Preverbal Elemental Music iPad apps use a problem solving design where the elements of speech and music are presented in an hierarchical manner, so that the experience from several previous screens is required to solve the next few problems:
SEQUENCE:

1. IDENTIFY    
2. RECOGNIZE    
3. COMPARE  
4. CATEGORIZE  
5. MEMORIZE  
6. RETRIEVE   
7. MAKE A DESICION  
  
​ ​
App Info
Thea Kuddo, M.D.

Professionally trained musician and medical doctor with 10-year research experience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Her research includes biomedical studies on proteins responsible for the support of survival and growth of nerve cells and cell signaling in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Her musical mastery is based on over 30 000 hours of violin and piano playing, Kodály method, solfeggio, and perfect pitch. She is a member of the International Society for Autism Research, the International Association for Music & Medicine, the Acoustical Society of America, and the Linguistic Society of America.
​Email: [email protected]


*Patent pending