Today I’m introducing a new feature on my blog. As you can guess from the title of this post it’s about nature and sound and will come back every month.
There are many challenges out there to help you make the most of the outdoors, but more often than not they focus on what you see rather than what you hear. Visuals can certainly be stunning but they are not always present. Close your eyes and the scenery is gone. This is not so with sounds. You cannot close off your ears. You can ignore the sounds but they are here nonetheless and some part of you are registering them.
How does it work?
On the 1st of every month, I’ll publish a post with a prompt for what to listen to. This prompt is aimed to help you open your ears to nature and is by no means a rule to follow. You can record something else if another sound picks your interest.
Theme of the month: backyard sounds
September is the beginning of Autumn but more importantly for a lot of people, it’s the beginning of a new academic year. Children and students go back to school, parents get back to the usual routine, and the roads and public transports become busier. Summer is over and during the week, the light heartedness of August has disappeared. It’s back to business. With all those changes, we sometimes forget to make time for trips to the outdoors. So this month, rather than focus on sounds that might require of bit of planning and researching to locate and record, let’s focus our ears on the nature sounds around us.
In a city, it’s easy to forget about the birds singing, the water lapping the banks of a river, or the wind rustling the leaves. We too often walk with earphones plugged in, a goal in mind, and the constant roar of traffic at our side. And if you live in the countryside, when was the last time you stood outside and listened to what happened around your home when nobody is on the road or everybody back inside? So let’s pause a moment in the frenzy of everyday life and listen to nature around us.
How do I capture sounds?
You can get all technical and purchase a recorder and microphones for field recording, or you can use your phone. All smartphones have some kind of voice memo app. Use it to record the sounds. There’s also plenty of apps available if you search for ‘recorder’ or ‘voice recorder’.
Where do I post my sounds?
There’s SoundCloud and Dropbox. If you want to add a video or some photos, there’s Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo. Or you can (usually) host your recordings on your blog (if you have one).
Note that those websites are only suggestions. There’s plenty more you can use.
- Wind is your enemy. Even if it’s a light breeze it can ruin your recording. Use your body and the environment as a wind shield.
- Listen and monitor what you’re recording (if you can). Using a set of earphones (headphones tends to be better) while you’re recording will help you make sure you’re capturing what you want. A microphone doesn’t hear like you do.
- Record for a couple of minutes. Give yourself time and let the sounds unfold at their own pace.
- Be still and avoid movements. Your clothes might rub or a rock might fall and make an unwanted addition to the recording.
- Find more tips here.
- Post your sounds online or send them over to me. If posting them online, don’t forget to share a link in the comments.
- Post as many sounds as you like during the month.
- Interpret the prompt any way you choose. Feel free to add a bit of text to accompany it. Or not.
- If you choose to make a blog post about your sound/experience of listening, link back to this page so other people can join in the challenge.
- Most importantly, have fun 🙂