Creating a soundscape

Today at the Language School I created a graphic score with Middle Primary, of a soundscape of ‘scary sounds’. Last week we brainstormed different sounds that you might hear in the middle of the night, that might make you feel unsure or frightened, and experimented with ways to make the sounds, using the creaking doors, chairs and floorboards available in the room (ample choices!).

We started off by going through the list of sounds and deciding how many times each one would be heard in a 2-minute soundscape. Then we decided which sound should come at the end, which at the beginning, and what should happen in the middle. Once we had determined these, we could plan where all the others should go in relation to our beginning, middle and end.

Each child chose a sound to draw, and was given a coloured square of paper. I ruled up a large, broad sheet of paper into a grid. As the coloured cards were finished and passed to me, I stuck them on the grid in the order we had already discussed.

We didn’t have time to perform it today, but finished sticking up all the sounds (coloured cards with drawn images on them) onto the score, and talked through how we could perform it. The children seemed very pleased with themselves, and understood the process.

Here is the score we made:

soundscape photo

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4 comments so far

  1. Jennifer on

    Thank you for sharing this activity! I’ve started brainstorming ways I could use this with younger children – sounds they might hear at the zoo, shopping mall, beach, bird park, in the garden – there are so many possibilities – I love this activity!

  2. Lisa Hunter on

    …home sick today (music teacher without a voice) and have really enjoyed reading about your activity. It has definately inspired me to have a go at something similiar across the different levels I teach. Thankyou sincerely.

    • musicwork on

      Great! let me know how you go. Am developing another approach to soundscapes/non-rhythmic, evocative playing in a new City Beats project this week – I hope to write it up soon. I hope your voice gets better soon.

  3. […] their own part (rather than notating each child’s invention separately), or we might use a flexible paper score, putting each child’s name on a single sheet of paper or card, then moving the cards around […]


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