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Music and the sound dimension as an educational experience

Listening as awakening to sound and music can be an educational experience that promotes self knowledge, of the others and of the world. The sounds that we perceive affect our emotions, our imagination, our behaviors and certainly also act on the cognitive level. In this perspective, any activity and any educational path involving sound stimulation can be very useful in the school environment, helping children to learn as well as through relationships and socialization.
School and listening   
Unfortunately, music is not always integrated into school activities. In particular, a teacher who does not consider himself as a professional musician and neither a “genius” of the subject, ends up refusing to use any sound experience or sound listening as a way of raising awareness on listening in general.
In fact, many educational theories say that sound and music listening is not meant to educate young musicians, but that it is essential to stimulate in each one many perceptual skills, such as concentration, attention to detail, sense of order and discipline, attention to breaks, analysis of sound and of oneself as a source, including of sound.
It is a listening attitude that “precedes” formal musical listening.

The pedagogue Maria Montessori as well as the Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the homonymous method whose value is recognized throughout the world, support the centrality of musical learning for children, and especially that we cannot distinguish between gifted children or not: everyone at birth has innate talents that can be developed during growth if the environment allows it.

The Effects of Music on the Human Body: Studies   
Beyond the musical development of the child, recent studies show how music affects our body. The researchers measured several parameters during listening activities: breathing rate, blood pressure, arterial flow in the brain, heart rate. We can deduce that musical pieces have a constant and dynamic influence on the cardiovascular and respiratory system. In fact, the heartbeat and breathing are synchronized with the music, regardless of the subjects’ knowledge and musical preferences. Fast-paced music speeds up breathing, heart rate, and increases blood pressure, while calmer, more rhythmic music has the opposite effect of general relaxation which slows the pace and lowers pressure.
A German study from the Ruhr University of Bochum, published in the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, found that the music of Mozart and Strauss lowers blood pressure, heart rate and the level of cortisol, the so-called hormone of stress. The same can’t be said for the pop group Abba, which seems to have no significant effect on blood circulation.
These data were confirmed by a study carried out by Professor Luciano Bernardi (2018) of the University of Padua who wanted to understand whether listening to music, especially classical and lyrical music, produced particular effects on the human body. Bernardi says, commenting on the results of his work: “Music generates continuous and dynamic changes, and quite predictable, in the cardiovascular system; it is not only the emotions elicited by the music that influence cardiovascular changes, but also the opposite, that means in a bidirectional way, the cardiovascular changes induced by the music can be the substrate to elicit new emotions ”.
Sound and Music Listening could therefore not only constitute a didactic tool available to teachers, but if used systematically, it could also help to create emotions and moods that promote a children predisposition to learning.

Maria Montessori: “the great narrator of truth”.  Ocarina pay homaget o her 150 years after her birth

Maria Montessori was born on August 31st, 1870: educator, child neuropsychiatrist, scientist, philosopher, creator of the method bearing her name, mother of a timeless pedagogical thought, which has become a legacy for generations of teachers from all over the world. These days many are celebrating the 150th anniversary of her birth and Ocarina also wants to pay homage to her by talking about her beautiful cosmic lessons.
How was the universe born? How did life on earth begin? How will man become? Who invented the letters? And the numbers? These are all great questions that often children aged 6-7 years – when they enter primary school – begin to ask themselves and ask their parents and teachers.
Starting from the evolutionary needs and psychological characteristics of children in this developmental age, Maria Montessori in 1935 developed an educational project called “Cosmic Education”.
The aim is to educate the child to realize and satisfy curiosities of all kinds, which arise in him when he begins to become aware of the things that surround him and to want to know the causes and effects, that is when the mind feels the need to deepen the reality.
With her cosmic vision, Maria Montessori tries to answer children’s questions about the connections and relationships that characterize our Planet. According to his thought, the world and the Universe represent a great order, in which each element is interconnected and has a cosmic task.
The primary objective of every educator is therefore to generate a sense of belonging to this great world and to provide the necessary keys to be able to interpret and understand it. Only by developing an ecological and responsible vision of the world, it is possible to grasp its complexity and beauty, and feel part of it as an active subject.
The five great cosmic lessons
In her educational project, Maria Montessori proposes five cosmic lessons: compelling and engaging narratives for the first primary school classes that children are invited to listen sitting in a circle on a carpet or on cushions.
These tales are a precious didactic tool and still widely used today by Montessori masters; a tool that inaugurates the journey of children in the exploration of the cosmic order and harmony of the universe, as well as the study of history and geography, biology, language and mathematics.
The first lesson introduces the child to the theory of creation of the universe, speaks of the origins of the Everything. Although known by the historical name of “God who has no hands”, in many Montessori schools it is preferred to replace the word God with the word Nature, or with the creative force of the universe. One or two weeks after reading the first lesson, it’s the turn of the story that tells how life was formed on the planet, then of the one about the advent of the human being and the others to follow.
The storytelling enables children to contextualize the present between the past and the future, while looking at their origins and the responsibility to contribute to the safeguard and development of our planet.
Telling the Truth
Mario, son of Maria Montessori and her close collaborator, liked to define his mother as “the great narrator of Truth”. It is not a coincidence, in fact, that cosmic lessons have the character of reality and are inserted within the natural order of things.
The imaginative and sometimes allegorical language of Montessori’s narratives therefore builds a tool to strike the interest of the child. In this context, according to Maria Montessori, fantasy represents a way to explore the world and reality, and it is absolutely important that it is not relegated to the world of “reverie” and fairy tales. The imagination world, on the other hand, must be a reinvention of the child’s daily life; similar, but not exactly the same, some details or settings must differ, otherwise the child would feel too involved and could exchange reality with fantasy.
It is precisely with respect to this issue that Maria Montessori, defined as “the teacher always against the current” criticizes the educators who, in her opinion, while recognizing the importance of the imagination, tend to cultivate it separately, independently from the intelligence, just as they would like to separate this last one from manual activities. There is therefore a clear separation between the reality, that is taught with arid notions and complex subjects, and the fantasy, that is cultivated by fairy tales, which speak of a wonderful world, which is not the world around us, the one in which we live.
However, there are tales that are an exception, in which fantasy is confused with reality, but they are so beautiful and contain such precious teachings that it is overlooked that the protagonist can be a child or a talking rabbit. In these cases, we should try to explain that rabbits do not actually speak and do not have human attitudes.

The most beautiful songs of Francesco Guccini

In a few days Francesco Guccini will turn 80 and Ocarina doesn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate this important anniversary by listening to some of his most beautiful songs.
Full of timeless successes, the career of the great artist from Romagna began more than 40 years ago with no less than 16 albums under his belt. It is not easy at all to draw up a list of his songs, one more beautiful than the other, and undoubtedly intergenerational, so that older people, young people, but also children like them!
Among the songs that we recommend to let your children listen to there’s without doubt The Old Man and the Child/Il vecchio e il bambino and the Song of the Twelve Months/La canzone dei dodici mesi, both real poems, contained in one of his best-known albums Roots, 1972.
Sweet and with a very melodic text, The Old Man and the Child tells the story of the passage from one generation to the next one. In the 70s and 80s it was one of the favorite pieces in schools, in scouting activities and in general in many youth movements and associations. The twelve-month song instead describes the time of a year, month by month, from the point of view of those who give a meaning to the various moments of their existence.
And again, The song of the child in the wind /La canzone del bambino nel vento (Auschwitz), written by the songwriter in 1966, is a real pacifist manifesto, which all children should listen to know about the crimes of Nazism, unfortunately still very current.
Always interested in looking at reality from many points of view, Guccini has very often taken sides with young people, urging them to have critical thinking. Already starting from God is dead / Dio è morto, in 1967, the singer doesn’t share the ideas of those who consider young people as poor in ideals, dreams and courage. In contrast, this song tells of a generation “prepared for a brand new world and a new hope, for a future that they already have in their hands, for an unarmed revolt”, therefore capable of building a new and better world.
Guccini loves stories, loves to write them, loves to tell them in his songs … he sings about politics, young people, ideals, love, life stories, giving them universal meanings.
Eskimo, considered by many to be a masterpiece, an absolute piece of history, is the story of an unconventional love, between a young man who had “the revolt between his fingers” and a “girl with the paletò”. The song is contained in the album Amerigo (1978) and is set in a revolutionary climate that has already gone in 1968: the rejection of religion and the system, the discovery of drugs and sex … everything is relived with nostalgia by the adult voice of the narrator.
Even in Locomotiva, probably one of his most popular ballads, Guccini tells a true story, which has as its protagonist the anarchist machinist (stoker) Pietro Rigosi. Once again, he deals with the issue of equality, social justice and freedom.
With Locomotiva Guccini was used to conclude his beautiful concerts, and so we want to finish with it as well our tribute to this great artist.
If, like us, you nostalgically remember Guccini’s live shows, we recommend the video (here below) of one of his performances at the RSI Swiss Swiss Television in January 1982.

The Music Day is back again next June 21st!

On June 21st, the Summer solstice day, the whole world dances to the rhythm of the Music Day. An international event that has been repeated regularly for more than a quarter of a century, linked to the celebrations of the arrival of Summer, date on which, according to pagan beliefs, people, the sun, the earth and all living beings come into contact. Alongside the usual popular rites, Music is also celebrated; one of the best ways to meet and put together different cultures and social contexts.
The Music Day and its origins
“Music everywhere and the concert nowhere” was the slogan of the first edition, born on 1982 by the will and vision of Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture and the General Director of Music and Dance, Maurice Fleuret. The idea was to establish a big party where to create and live music thanks to the organization of many free concerts for a very large audience who can access all kinds of musical genres (classical music, jazz, rock, world music , rap, traditional music …). In squares, common areas, schools, museums, in the streets and even in airports, Music becomes the protagonist of a strong message of universal accessibility, an invitation to travel, to communion and communication between people and cultures.
This message will then be taken up in the following years, when the Music Day becomes an international event. More specifically, in 1985 the event crossed French borders on the occasion of the European Year of Music. In 1995, the festival spread to many capitals around the world, becoming World Music Day, one of the most important cultural events ever created.
The Music Day today
In less than 10 years, the Music Day has been celebrated in 85 countries, in the five continents. Only in France, it launches the organization of 18.000 sound events each year, for around 5 million musicians, bringing together more than 10 million spectators. In 2019, in Italy, thanks to the work of the AIPFM (Italian Association for the Promotion of the Music Day), more than 280 cities have participated, creating a network distributed throughout the national territory. In total, there were around 700 live music concerts in all the cities, mainly in the open air, with the participation of musicians of all levels and genres.
There’s a high participation also in many countries all around the world, where the Music Day becomes, over the years, an important event, carrying new musical trends, and promoting the visibility of artistic and cultural activities: renewal of traditional music, explosion of world musics, development of choirs, appearance of rap, techno, urban music, etc.
Music Day 2020
June 21st, 2020 will be an even more extraordinary day to reaffirm the importance of Music to the whole world. Despite the many organizational uncertainties caused by the health emergency, the Music Day will still take place this year. More than ever, it is essential to “revive” the Music, to create a moment to express the desire to live and to return to normality. Because, as we have seen in the many flash mobs from the balconies, in the streaming concerts of the last months, Music can overcome even the most difficult situations, creating moments of sharing and closeness.
It is important to celebrate the musicians and all those who work with and for Music.
And to avoid to celebrate the Music Day 2020 without Music, the demonstration launched in these days by La Musica che Gira, the Union of Workers of the Music System, has been shared on social media with the hashtags #senzaMusica and #IoLavoroConLaMusica. The purpose of this initiative is to ask the Government to take into account the needs of all those working in the music sector. An event collected by many musicians, from Vasco Rossi to Subsonica, from Jovanotti to Piero Pelù, passing by thousands of technicians, promoters, consultants, production houses, booking agencies and club owners who, with the lock down, have suffered serious and inevitable economic consequences.
In Italy, many cities will celebrate Music this June 21st. One of the most important celebrations will take place in Rome and will pay homage to Ezio Bosso, honorary citizen since June 20th, 2019 and recently deceased. The whole city will welcome – with free performances of all musical genres – the Maestro who told and demonstrated his love for Music.
Musicians, enthusiasts, professionals and above all amateurs, are invited to celebrate with spontaneous rituals, playing and singing outside, in the squares, in the courtyards, but also from windows and balconies.
We will celebrate Music with joy, sharing freedom and love.
Ocarina will be in the front row and you, are you ready?


  #ataleforyou is the new initiative launched by Ocarina Music Player – the first music player for children – to make those long and tiring days of isolation a bit less painful. A stimulating alternative to television, smartphones, video games and Youtube, always in ambush, especially in moments of forced isolation.
By connecting to the new section of the web site  #ataleforyou, it is possible to download for free a selection of stories and songs for children, in 5 different languages ​​(Italian, Spanish, English, French and German), constantly updated.

Ocarina also makes available some from the Ocarina Classic Edition Playlists, in 5 different languages.
The songs in Italian and Spanish are original OcarinaSound productions, while the songs in French, English and German are the result of collaborations with European publishers, among the most important in the sector: Bloom – Children’s Radio; Storynory;

But that does not stop there: in addition to the titles from the Classic Edition, Ocarina allows to download new and original tales produced by OcarinaSound. Also, in the  #ataleforyou new section, Ocarina offers several links to online initiatives, YouTube channels, Facebook pages where you can listen and / or download audio stories or video readings.

Henri Des: the children’s songwriter

50 years of career, 250 songs, 4.5 million albums sold, 30 schools bearing his name, 100 times on the Olympia stage, 15 gold records, a melody composed for the carillon of the Geneva Cathedral, a mention in the Petit Larousse 2012, a web radio station that plays his songs 24 hours a day … We are talking about the Swiss artist Henri Des, one of the favorite songwriters of French and French-speaking children, considered by many to be a real legend. We started to love him thanks to the many parents, friends of Ocarina, who regularly report his songs to us.

Henri Des is the father of “La petite Charlotte”, a song so adored by children of several generations, as well as of “Les betises”, the CD composed of fun rhythmic songs for children and of “Le beau tambour”, a very successful album that makes sing and dance. There are also many other compositions that have made him unique in his field, one of the few that always remain on the crest of the wave over the years.

Henry’s songs speak of children’s daily life: at school, before going to bed, at the playground; they tell about dreams, but also about nightmares, because the universe of the songwriter is not always pink … Among the funniest videos we recommend “Les bêtises à l’école”, which on youtube has more than 6,000,0000 views.

Many argue that Henri Des is a true unifier of generations and it is surprising to discover how grandparents, parents and children sing his songs in unison during the shows. However, it seems that the Swiss singer is not appreciated only by the little ones. In fact, in August 2019 he participated to a metal music festival in Brittany, making thousands of metalheads dance, so much that he has been nicknamed Henri “death” metal. In this occasion he posted on social media that ‘big bearded men “with arms as big as [his] thighs” let themselves be carried crazy by the refrain of “Ohé, le bateau!”‘.

Maybe due to the too demanding concert in Brittany, in the late summer 2019 the singer had to take a forced break, then to resume his concert activity at the end of the year to the delight of his fans. And just this February, Henri Des will celebrate his 80 years on stage with a tour that will last until April. Here you can find the complete schedule of all dates.

Chiropractic and sensory development in children: interview with pediatric chiropractor Sébastien Cras

Sébastien Cras, can you talk about your profession?
I am a chiropractor based in the Basque Country, in Bayonne. Chiropractic is an excellent remedy to identify and combat spinal problems, but not only! In particular I deal with Chiropractic Functional Neurology. Pregnant women, newborns, children, adults, athletes, the elderly, all they require treatment to prevent or recover physical, chemical or emotional injuries. These last 3 aspects are actually related and my job is to bring patients back to an optimal balance and posture.

Functional neurology … where to start?
Everything starts in the belly of the mother, in the embryonic phase! Tens of thousands of neurons are created every day, as well as their interconnection. The optimization of this mechanism is essential in the first years of life, because in adulthood the creation of neurons slows down. It is for this reason that any stimulation in the fetus and in the child will allow to multiply the neuronal connections and to maintain their activity. Stimulations can be physical (motoric), chemical (food, micronutrition) and psycho-affective. They touch all the senses: taste, smell, sight, touch, but also hearing!
Before planting vegetables in a vegetable garden the soil is prepared, weeds are removed, the soil is nourished … in the same way the chiropractic “cleans” and optimizes the nervous system of a child so that he can understand stimulation, assimilate and then promote good posture, good motor skills, good concentration, good learning ability, etc.

In concrete terms, how can we stimulate children every day?
One of the first roles of the nervous system is movement. This is innate and should not be blocked. For example, bandaging a child deprives him of free motor skills and does not promote brain development. It is certainly better to leave a child on a mat than on a recliner. In this way he will be able to move, turn his head when he hears a sound and associate it with an image. He will also be able to touch what surrounds him without movement restrictions. Surely even the sounds will have a stimulating role: the noises of the house and of the outside, the voices of his entourage, the music are all factors that will participate in the multiplication of neurons!

Do you think Ocarina Player can play an interesting role in this stimulation?
Sure! The variety of sounds and sound frequencies promote a quantitative and qualitative creation of neurons and their connections. Ocarina also allows children to develop their autonomy thanks to simplified navigation and listening on the go.
A small personal advice to all of Ocarina lovers and users: enter into the player many and different tracks to offer children a wide range of rhythms, genres, languages and sounds!

* Sébastien Cras is a chiropractor for children and a professional in Kinesiology. He carries out his profession in Bayonne in France. Here you can find more information about him and his business.

Listening in learning: towards new educational frontiers

The bell is now played in all schools; children return to class and the new year begins with new good intentions! If you want to help your children to face this moment, sometimes a little ‘tiring, good medicine is certainly listening to lots of music. This will help to stimulate the mind, to concentrate, to learn better, but also to socialize, because one ear trained to listen to music will certainly be able to listen to others better.

The Mozart effect
Have you ever heard of the Mozart Effect? This is a study conducted in 1993 by two physicists – Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher – who tried to demonstrate how, listening to the Sonata in D Major for two pianos, K.448 by Mozart, could improve cognitive and learning skills of the students, as well as the relational ones, including also the empathy towards schoolmates. The research was carried out on students subdivided into three subgroups: the first listened to Mozart’s sonata, the second listened to “easy listening music” (another genre of instrumental music), while the third remained immersed in total silence. When the two physicists analyzed the test results they were stunned, noting how the group of boys who had listened to Mozart’s sonata had scored more than the other students, with an average of ten points of difference.

When is music beneficial?
The research of Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher was questioned by several scholars until Glenn Schellenberg (1996), a professor at the University of Toronto, conducted an even more in-depth study of how effectively Mozart’s Sonata contributed to cognitive improvement, as an element that developed dopamine – a fundamental chemical mediator for brain activity. However, Schellenberg’s study will highlight how music stimulates our mind, as long as we like what we are listening to – whether it is Mozart, the Rolling Stones or Metallica.
The point of view of science is therefore quite clear: music is beneficial and stimulating, but only if the melody and the sounds we are hearing are “friendly” to us and do not impact us in any way.

At listening school
Listening, empathy, inclusion, are the elements of emotional intelligence that enrich the development of each child. It is no coincidence that in Swedish schools the time of empathy was introduced last year, in which children can share their problems and listen to those of others without judgment or embarrassment.
Also in Italy starting from this school year, the Florentine experimental school (primary and secondary) Città Pestalozzi has introduced, for the first time, in the school program the subject of emotional education which provides 1 hour per week in which children put themselves in barefoot circle for talking, confronting, listening to their schoolmates, but also the passages of their favorite music.
And starting from listening to music, as well as stories, fairy tales etc., the child develops the right concentration, empathy and the ability to weave social relationships. A good ear will undoubtedly be fundamental to know oneself, others and also to learn how to stay in the community. In fact, by listening to the experiences, there will be no more fear of expressing one’s emotions, even those kept more hidden, even finding that sometimes many of our fears are similar to those of others.
Born with the intention of encouraging children to listen to music and sound fairy tales, Ocarina finds itself fully aligned with these new educational trends: at the base of its mission, listening is considered a priority in every moment of life of a child, in the classroom, but also at home, for every type of learning.

Animal Verses

Ocarina is 5 years old!
In June Ocarina celebrated its first 5 years of made in Italy production with a big party. 5 years that were very intense, dedicated to entertaining, singing, dancing, relaxing children from all over the world, stimulating them to listen to fairy tales, songs and lullabies, all of high quality and in different languages. Until today OcarinaSound – the name that defines Ocarina’s audio productions – has made many original tracks thanks to important collaborations in Italy and abroad: from the French “Bloom – la radio des enfants” Parisian reality that develops audio content with innovative format, to Storynory the most important independent English producer that for over 15 years has been making audio-fairy tales for early childhood, up to the well-known German publisher which proposes a growing collection of classic fairy tales for children.

The new OcarinaSound audio project
The last production just developed by OcarinaSound is titled “Animal verses” a new audio project aimed in particular at children of preschool age with recreational but also educational purposes. A total of 25 sounds followed by an introduction speech recorded by some Ocarina’s little friends describing in three different languages (Italian, English, French), the animal’s name and the respective call. Thanks to the new shuffle function, which allows for random reproduction, children have the opportunity to hear the sound and try to guess the animal that emits it. The little ones do not always know that the deer bells, the owl hoots and the whale sings … thanks to these new audio tracks they will be able to learn many animal sounds not always known and easy to memorize.

The new Ocarina Summer Edition
Starting this month, the playlist with the sounds of animals was included in the new Summer edition, the special version of Ocarina dedicated to summer, the sea and travel. In addition to these new tracks, within the Summer Edition you can find a special playlist with songs about the sea, the heat, the surf, the holidays and of course all the audio content found in the classic Ocarina will also be present.

Here you can find information on the Ocarina Summer Edition and its contents.

Babywearing: the advantages for the little ones and for mum and dad

Carrying children in the wrap is an increasingly popular practice. Wrapped in a fabric or in a baby carrier, always in close contact with mum or dad. A way of moving with your children, transporting them and supporting them that comes from ancient times and that in many African and Eastern countries is a tradition still in use.
Although in the Western countries the Babywearing is a less widespread habit, in recent years many parents are rediscovering and re-evaluating it as a real high-contact and maternage treatment method suitable for raising their children.

Benefits for children
Small humans are “programmed” to be held by their parents all day. This is a fundamental need for them as important as drinking and eating. The use of the wrap allows to recreate an environment similar to the mother’s womb, in which the baby feels enclosed and protected thanks to this closeness, warmth and love.

The child is more easily integrated into the family routine: it lives “at the height” of the parent, has the opportunity to observe the world and receive stimuli, sharing the experience of the adult.

The sense of balance is constantly stimulated because the child must balance and follow the movements of the wearer. Babywearing is also very effective in protecting the child’s back and reducing the risk of dysplasia and / or dislocation of the hip.

This practice is very useful for newborn children, but even in the older ones it represents an extra chance to be together in a special way and to relax.

The advantages for mom and dad
With baby carriers and wraps it is possible to have total freedom of movement and to go anywhere: you can climb the stairs, you can walk during the day but also at night, in the heat or in the cold, in noisy places like even at a concert! … Children tightly wrapped so close with the parents, it does not need anything else and most of the time it falls asleep.

The continuous closeness favors that deep understanding that allows the mother to intuit the needs of the child, interpreting the bodily signals and facial expressions.

Baby wrap is a valid support to breastfeed comfortably even when you are away from home.

The babywearing favors the early development of the father-son connection.

Finally … if you want to carry your children in the wrap and also make them listen to the music, Ocarina is the right tool for you, ideal to hang and carry!

For further information, below we point out some of the most qualified associations specialized in babywearing divided per country:
For Italy we advise you to visit Portare i Piccoli, the first Italian site specializing in the topic of carrying, intended for parents and early childhood professionals, and the Bimbinfascia portal, one of the first Italian associations that dealt with babywearing.
Below is the site of the Swiss association ASpb.
For France the reference association is AFPB.
for Spain we mention Red Canguro. For further information in Spanish visit also the national pedriatric web page Porteo de los bebés

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