HOW DOES IT SOUND LIKE?

Brief summary of activity

Participants will research music and sounds related to specific topics.

Aim of the activity

This activity aims to create an understanding of how elements such as music and ambiance recordings could reinforce a media message.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will examine whether there is a message connected to specific music tracks
Participants will learn how stories can be told through music, ambiance recordings and lyrics

experience and skills required

A good knowledge of music.
Facilitation skills.
Editing skills might be required to assist the participants.

infrastructure, setting, resources

no special requirements

Length

60 to 90 min. (variations longer)

Materials

Computers with internet access, headphones, speakers (audio devices, CD player, editing software)

How the activity should take place

All participants get a topic, for example “Holidays at the sea“, “unknown culture“, “daily work“ ...
Participants are asked to build a list of pieces of music according to the topic. There is no limit in styles of music.
The task takes about 60 min. Ideally a collection of audio samples is added with the list. It probably takes some more time for saving and editing the sounds.
At the end participants should present their collection to the group.

Recommended max. number of participants and trainees to trainers ratio

6 to 1 (4-1 for vision impaired and learning difficulties)

Risk and possible adaptation

It is a bit lengthy. But it’s really inspiring.

Variations

All participants get different topics each. So they don’t know what the others are working on. The presentation then might be combined with telling connotations of the listeners to the sound. Which topic could be “described“ with the collected music?
Advanced participants could be tasked with producing a short mix (3 to 5 minutes) of music. Of course this takes some more time. The activity then is more connected to practising editing software.

Tips for Trainers

It’s important not to limit the search. Participants should be encouraged to look for music of different styles and various sources. (To use only youtube will limit the results definitely.)
While participants are working, the trainer should direct the focus on rhythm, melody, harmony, lyrics of music. Participants should discover what the different feelings music evokes.
The activity also can take less time if participants collect only a list on paper. Usually they combine only well known music. The search for new music combined with the task to describe it through associations is much more surprising and mind opening.

This activity needs no special knowledge or skills. Visually impaired or blind people usually have their own music library which they already know well. To share different sources and libraries might support the discovery of new effects of music. If the participants have very different cultural backgrounds the associations can really vary. It is important not to judge “right“ or “wrong“ associations.

Analysis and evaluation

Who choose what music and why?
What did the others associate with that particular music style?
Were there commonalities / differences?
What does music tell us?

Scheduling

This activity works very well if it is possible to extent the time between task giving and presentation. Most of the time is left for searching the most diverging results.
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