Sounds of My Neighbourhood: ecopedagogy, soundscape & music ed.

I’m pretty excited to present this week at WestCast 2017 conference in Nanaimo, BC.
This blog post corresponds with my workshop titled “Sounds of My Neighbourhood: Ecopedagogy, Soundscape, and Music Education.” Maybe you couldn’t attend the workshop, or you wanted to find out more! You’re in the right place. 

Listening deeply to familiar spaces such as a school or classroom can shift and expand our conscious awareness of these surroundings. Furthermore, using technological devices to listen, record, and edit sound can allow students to experience quotidian environments in a different way. This can deepen students’ engagement with common environments by asking them to notice and creatively explore the sounds that define their daily experiences” (Akbari, 2014, p. 3).


Check out this quick video for a briefing I made on the main themes of this post!

I don’t think it’s enough in music education to reproduce performances of the European classics without extending a musical intelligence to the dire questions and imbalances of our time. How does sound relate to environment? Geography? Experiences of identity and culture? What if music(al) classrooms used an ecopedagogy framework in their engagement with sound, deep listening, and creative process?
The purpose of this workshop is to connect ecopedagogic theory with expressions of multi-modal learning and to pose relevant topics in soundscape composition as a valuable connecting piece between innovator and environment. Well, it starts with going outside and paying attention. Maybe pulling out the voice memo on your phone to help you focus (what?!) Build a sound collage. Or sound poetry. Whatever you want to call it. I believe that the act of listening, amplified with mobile recording and mixing technology that many of us already have, can lead to some pretty creative ways of engaging with space and place. (So do these people: check out these great resources to learn more!)

How can I make a soundscape?
Check out this quick vid on how I use Launchpad’s template to create my own interactive soundscape:

But this is just one example. Soundscapes don’t have to be electronically produced. Try this activity with your class. Incorporate field recordings into learning about musical subjects (rhythm, tone, frequency, communication, melody). Try keeping sound journals as you work on deepening sense descriptors in creative writing. Consider the differences and limitations of both visual and aural culture. Does social media push one over the other?

Learn about acoustic ecology.

Did you know that generations of trying to sing over traffic noise has caused some bird species to lose ability to communicate with rural birds of the same species? Our acoustic environments have evolutionary consequences! They also have consequences on our mental health, ability to focus, and the ways we engage with music and each other.
Try soundwalking. Whether you are on the hunt for sounds to gather in a microphone or just practicing with your ears, the practice of walking with the explicit intention of listening and being an audience to whatever you hear is a useful practice in mindfulness and acoustic awareness. More on this topic here:
Where can I learn more?

I made a whole separate post full of sources on this topic HERE!

Check out listening examples here: 

Akbari, E. (2014). Soundscape Compositions for Art Classrooms (Master’s thesis, Concordia University, Montréal, QC, Canada). Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http:// _Thesis_Soundscape_ Compositions_in_Art_Classrooms.pdf

2 thoughts on “Sounds of My Neighbourhood: ecopedagogy, soundscape & music ed.

  1. Pingback: Music Tech across Curricula: my reviews! Part 1 | The Cross Hatchery

  2. Pingback: Sound advice: case studies and research in soundscape education  | The Cross Hatchery

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