For All Teachers

Soundscapes

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  1. The leader asks the entire group to lay on their backs in a circle, heads facing toward the center. Working with eyes closed helps participants hear each other more effectively.
  2. Start with a random location that has a lot of sound possibilities. For example, a forest, a city street or a carnival.
  3. One by one each participant makes a vocal sound appropriate to the location. For example, on a city street you might hear a dog barking, a car horn, the ‘v-rooom’ of a bus, some footsteps, people saying good-bye, a doorbell, a police siren, etc.
  4. Ask each participant to use their listening skills so they contribute to the environment without dominating it.
  5. After this initial exploration is done, discuss how to shape it as a composition. Which sounds make good ambient sounds, to be consistent throughout the performance? Which sounds are event-based or story-based, and should appear in the composition only occasionally?
  6. Once these decisions are agreed upon, do a version of the soundscape that is more intentionally shaped.

VARIATIONS As part of the shaping and refining process, you can create a soundscape orchestra and have the leader ‘conduct’ the participants with hand gestures. Pointing, raising or lowering a hand for volume, a thumbs up asks the person to sustain the sound.

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