Write Out: Exploring the Cadence of Nature

NPR Joy Generator
One of the themes of this year’s Write Out is “cadences” and in a workshop with Michigan educators this weekend, my Write Out facilitator partner, Bethany S, and I asked participants explore the soundscapes of nature and National Parks with the wonderful “Call of the Wild” site from NPR’s Joy Generator.

You begin at at the site with some high-def recordings of various National Park sites and end with a mixing board of sounds, to make your own composition of soundscape music (although, you can’t download and share the track you make).

In our workshop, we all reflected on some interesting observations after spending time with the mixing board, chatting about how the levels of each of the sounds impacted the “seeing” of the entire landscape; how our own memories of place and time played a role in the kinds of mixes we made; of the emotional impact some of the sounds generated, from the sound itself (wind, for example evoked forests in a storm, while frogs evoked the start of summer) and from the sound levels (water overwhelming all else).

I am curious about using this site this week with my sixth grade writers, and I may begin with having them make a list of all of the sounds they hear as they move through the entire soundscape pages (connecting nicely to our work on National Parks). I might end with them making a mix with those last sounds and then drawing a “scene” of what they see as they are listening to their mix.

Peace (sounds like love),
Kevin

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