Sounds of the world
Using your ears to explore the world around you.
You probably use photographs, images and film every day, to strengthen student understanding of topics - but what about sound? You could get students to listen first. What do they think they can hear? Where in the world has it been recorded? What can they find out about a place from the sounds they hear?
Sounds are not just a great tool for discovering about other parts of the world but can also help build up an important skill – listening.
Here are a few links to help you find sounds from all around the world, past and present.
British Library sound archive: music, stories, accents and nature including recordings of British prisoners of war captured by Germany in WW1 and the Fijian nose flute - http://sounds.bl.uk/
Sound Around You: The Audio and Acoustic Engineering Research Centre at the University of Salford is building a sound map of the world to investigate how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel - www.soundaroundyou.com
Sound tourism: places that ‘sound’ interesting like the sand whistling through dunes in the Sahara or whistling languages - www.sonicwonders.org
Sound transit: search by places and people to hear bustling markets, the call to prayer or falling snow - http://turbulence.org/soundtransit/
BBC World Service: ‘endangered sounds’
Ecosystem sounds: you can find out more about the biodiversity of a place from sounds than pictures or writing - www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/09/the-sounds-of-v/
The lyrebird: this was one of David Attenborough’s recent choices for ‘Desert Island Discs’. Students can learn about adaptation and the impact of humans on the natural world - www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y
Earthquakes: converted into sound
No sounds: the world’s last quiet places
Sound could be used in literacy and creative writing lessons – listening to sounds and imagining what you would see as a first step for describing a place or creating a world. Who or what is there? Colours, smells, buildings, weather, emotions and so on.
Have you found any useful websites that help you to explore global sounds? Let us know, and we'll add them to this page. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The photo at the top of the page is Light and shadow by quinn.anya on Flickr and used under a Creative Commons licence.