Keeping Creative at Home: How to get creative with sound

Musician and sound artist Lucy Claire shares a range of creative arts activities which use soundscapes and listening to engage and inspire

12 May 2020

Image credit: Sound on Sound

Whether you're a teacher, a parent, or both, we hope our Keeping Creative at Home blog series will help you and your children through this tricky period of adjustment.

We're aware there's currently a lot of pressure on parents in particular around home education. So, first and foremost, all of the activities in this series are designed to be fun, creative experiences for your children (and hopefully for you too!), but there is also potential for learning in all of them.

Remember to share your Keeping Creative at Home creations using the #KeepingCreativeatHome hashtag – we'd love to see what you've been up to!

Most of these activities in this blog are based on Sounds Of Our World, a poetry audiobook Lucy has created to transport children to new and exciting places through sound and words, while encouraging active listening and promoting creative thinking along the way. The aim of Sounds Of Our World is to help young minds understand their world by listening closely to it.

Download sounds of our world

1. Go to the beach (by listening to it!)

  1. While listening to the soundscape, have a pencil in hand; poised and ready to write on an empty page. Close your eyes and move your pencil in time with the waves. Does your mark-making remind you of anything? What shapes or patterns have you drawn?
  2. Five hundred quadrillion grains of sand! That is a lot of sand – try to draw or paint every grain!
  3. Write a sensory poem about the beach:

    In 1 word, describe how the beach looks
    In 2 words, describe how water tastes
    In 3 words, describe how the sea smells
    In 4 words, describe how the sand feels
    In 5 words, describe how the waves sound
  1. If there was a storm out at sea, how do you think that would sound? It might be quite different to this soundscape. Can you write another sensory poem based on your own idea of what stormy weather would sound, look, smell, taste and feel like?

What to go further? Try these:

2. Listen to some house music

  1. Make a map of all the sounds you can hear in one room in your home. Draw yourself in the middle of the page and draw or write down every sound you hear in 5 minutes around you
  2. What is your favourite sound that you hear at home and why?
  3. Go for a walk around your home. Listen to the sound of your footsteps changing every time you step on a different surface. Experiment with using different shoes or force (for example, tiptoeing or stomping)
  4. Take a moment to sit and listen to the beat of the washing machine, microwave, kettle or another appliance that makes a noise. Can you drum the rhythm?
  5. What other objects in your home make sounds? Can you make a rhythm using a collection of these sounds as inspiration?

What to go further? Try these

3. Tune in to the African bush at night

  1. Who do you think ‘the invisible noise makers’ are? Can you draw what you think they might look like?
  2. Onomatoepiea is the name for special words that imitate the natural sounds of a thing. For example, dogs woof, mice squeak, lions roar and wolves howl.

    Can you find all the onomatopoeia words in the Limpopo Nights soundscape? And can you think of onomatopoeia words to describe some other sounds?
  3. Research a variety of animals that live in the African bush. Find out what sounds they make and practice making them. Can you have a conversation using some of those sounds?

What to go further? Try this:

4. Compose a storm song

  1. What does the wind look like? Can you draw it?
  2. Can you move like the wind? Make a dance routine for the wind. Be the wind
  3. Make your own storm song:

    Stand in a circle (or if there are only two people, stand face to face)
    Establish a drone by humming continuously
    Add the sound of the wind in the leaves
    Add the sound of a babbling flowing stream...

    Add the sound of insects
    The occasional sound of a bird...

    Develop it further: a storm is coming!

    Add some rain drops... starting lightly, getting heavier…

    Add the thunder coming from afar...
    Add the thunder right overhead!!!

    Decrease each sound as the storm goes away...

Sound Tool Box

humming, shhhh, tapping, ooooh, whistle, clicking, clacking, kakaaawwww, tweet, twittt twooo, ribbit, buzz, rubbing hands together

Add some of your own!

What to go further? Try this:

5. Write your own park life score

  1. This activity doesn’t require listening to a soundscape, but you need to imagine the sounds you might hear in a park. Think back to the last time you visited one, or next time you go, make sure to listen carefully and notice all the sounds you can hear. You could even record the background sounds using a tablet or smartphone
  2. Make a score of the park’s soundscape. A score is a way to write music down.
  • Close your eyes and listen
  • Put your pen to paper
  • And let your hand move with the sounds you hear

    Think about where the sounds are. Are they short or long? Spikey or smooth? Are they always there or do they come and go? How loud or quiet are they? Do they interact? Are some more beautiful than others?
  1. Have you ever noticed the sound a pigeon makes when it walks along the pavement? See if you can find one to listen to. You have to be very quiet!

What to go further? Try this:

For more soundscape adventures, follow @lucy__claire on Instagram or Twitter.

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