Here’s our guide to creating a unique sound map
What you’ll need:
- Something to sit on
- Sketch book/loose paper or card
- Mark makers; pencils, pens or paint
1. Find a spot outside where you’ll be comfortable for 30 minutes. This could be your garden, local park or nearest wildlife reserve.
- Sit down and close your eyes.
- Take three deep breaths, then begin to tune in to the sounds around you.
- Spend a few minutes just listening. If you sense your mind beginning to wander, bring your awareness back to the sounds around you.
- Now we are going to start ‘mapping’ these sounds: take out your paper and put yourself in the centre of the map. Draw a circle and write, ‘I am here’.
2. Try to notice which direction the sounds are coming from and ‘translate’ them on to your map. Map these sounds as words, drawings, shapes, or a mix of all three. Use colours, too; what ‘colour’ is that sound? There is no right or wrong way to do this, so have fun with it.
Things to think about
- What does the sound feel like? Is it a soft, round organic sound? Or is it a hard industrial sound?
- What colour does the sound have? For example, yellow as a light sound or birds singing; black for a heavy deep sound, such as a lorry or someone slamming a door.
- Notice how your body feels and responds to these sounds.
- If there are too many sounds to map, just focus on picking out a few.
- It’s normal to feel tired after this exercise, as we don’t tend to concentrate this much on using sound in this way, so stop when you feel ready to.
3. What to do when you’ve completed your sound map…
Look at what you have created: name, date and time your sound map.
- Has it made you feel differently about the space? Are you more or less connected to it as a result?
- Was there a sound that resonated with you? A bird singing or the sway of a tree? Try to find out as much as you can about that species or variety.
- What did you enjoy most and least about the experience? Was it difficult to just sit and listen? What else did you notice? Jot down all your responses.
Taking it further
Try this exercise at various moments in the day, sitting in different places, then compare the results. Are there times that you feel better connected? Is there a spot that you felt happy to be seated in? Putting the three images together, are there shapes that you like that could be combined into an artwork?
Try making sound maps when you go on holiday to get a different ‘feel’ and view of a place. What kind of sound-based creative adventure could this give you an idea for?