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His Masterís Voice

The importance of listening

by Alan M Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To reflect upon the importance of listening.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (His Master’s Voice) and the means to display them.

  • Have available a 78 rpm record or a modern vinyl disc. Alternatively, have available some related images and the means to display them during the assembly. Examples could include:

    - some 78 rpm records, available at:
    - a turntable playing a 78 rpm record, available at:
    - a turntable with some modern vinyl discs, available at:

  • Optional: you may wish to arrange for four students to read the statements found in the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly.


  1. Show Slide 1.
    Ask the students, ‘Who knows which logo this is part of?’

    Pause to allow time for thought. You may also wish to listen to responses from the students.

  2. Show Slide 2.

    Explain that the logo belongs to HMV, a chain of shops and online retailer of entertainment products such as music, films, books and games. If there is an HMV store local to your area, point out where it is.

  3. Ask the students if they know what ‘HMV’ stands for. (Answer: His Masters Voice)

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    Explain that in the years before the First World War, the company began producing recordings on large discs or gramophone records, each easily identified by the image on the central label.

  5. Show Slide 4.

    Explain that the image shows a dog listening to a recording played on an old, wind-up gramophone player. The recording is of his master’s voice! No wonder the dog looks curious and puzzled.

  6. Most of the music we listen to today is downloaded or streamed, but there has also been a revival in vinyl discs.

    Show the images related to 78 rpm records.

  7. Show Slide 5.

    Although the technology may change, our ability to listen (and not just to music) is still important.

    Point out that listening:

    - helps us to learn (such as by listening to our teachers)
    - keeps us safe (such as by listening to advice and warning sounds)
    - strengthens our friendships (such as by listening to our friends rather than speaking all the time)
    - makes us one with the world around us (such as by stopping to listen to the sounds around us or by listening to music)

Time for reflection

Invite the students to consider some statements about listening.

Read the statements or ask the prearranged students to read them, pausing after each one to allow time for reflection.

Show Slide 6.

‘We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Show Slide 7.

‘When you listen, it’s amazing what you can learn!’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Show Slide 8.

‘Listening is often the first thing needed to help someone.’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Show Slide 9.

‘If you don’t listen, you won’t understand.’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Show Slide 10.

Ask the students, ‘How will listening enrich your learning, friendships and enjoyment of today?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Show Slide 11.

Thank everyone for listening!

Publication date: May 2019   (Vol.21 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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