Gather whatever art materials you have - this could be anything from a cereal packet and a few colouring pencils to a whole range of paints etc! If you have recording equipment (which could be a phone, or something really basic), you could bring this too. It helps to have something to lean on, too.
Find somewhere to sit or walk and listen, within your five-mile radius. If you want, this could be in your garden or even inside your home with the window open, or somewhere nearby. If you can, seek ‘green space’ - a park, river, tree, the sea, etc, but wherever is accessible to you is absolutely fine.
TUNE IN. Close your eyes, if this feels safe to do so, and feel where your body connects with the earth below. Tune into your breath, and how the sound of it changes as your breathe in and out. What are the furthest sounds you can hear? What are the nearest? How many layers of sound are there?
CARRY ON LISTENING. Can you sense the sound in your body? How do they feel? Are some more ‘noise’ than sound? Do you like some more than others? Which sound can you identify? Just notice your responses.
RECORDING: if you want to take a recording of the soundscape as you are making your soundmap, then start this now. Then, forget you are recording. You can also set a timer if you like - we suggest spending 5-20 minutes on your soundmaps. Longer if you wish! Ailsa will be sharing as many recordings as possible on the Wild Notes Wales SoundCloud page.
BEGIN TO MAKE MARKS ON PAPER We like to begin by drawing a rough circle, and imagining ourselves in the middle. Allow your intuition to guide you to draw on paper whatever excites your eardrums… It is not about being a great artist, but allowing your impulsive creative responses to sound to flow. You might decide to represent the sounds in a figurative way: for example, drawing a car for traffic noise. Or you might want to make abstract marks that look to you like the noise or anywhere in between. Consider whether the sound has a colour / if it reminds you of a taste, smell or sight, and record that too…
KEEP LISTENING AND DRAWING. What colours are you drawn to? How do you show direction of the sounds? Do ‘noise’ and ‘nice sounds’ have different colours? Is there ever silence? What about the passing of time? e.g. Consider making a mark for every instance of birdsong over the course of a minute. Do the sounds overlap? You can build up layers and layers of marks on your paper - and this can be completely in your own style!
WRITE any words, reflections - even profound thoughts! - that come whilst you are ‘in the zone’. This can be down outside your circle or even inside by particular sounds. You can also write the names of anything you can identify in your surrounding soundscape.
WHEN YOUR SOUNDMAP IS FINISHED, you may want to spend a few more minutes writing about your experience of connecting with the soundscape.
10)ALTERNATIVELY, you may want to explore becoming a vocal part of the soundscape by making sounds with your voice, keeping in the intuitive zone and just seeing what comes!
11)SEND IN YOUR SOUNDMAPS - if you like. This can be done anonymously or with a name - it’s up to you. See email address (for photos) or postal address (for physical copies) below. Ailsa will be choosing several of your sound maps to inspire a piece of musical storytelling performance later on this year!
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