Have you ever had days at work when you wonder if it’s true you’re actually being paid to do your job? I’ve been lucky enough to have had this experience whilst working on the new sound pack for Minute of Listening.
Minute of Listening is an innovative resource for primary schools created by Sound and Music. It’s an easy to use application that enables teachers to share minute-long recordings of music and sound with their pupils each day. Its development was motivated by the fact that listening, and the way we experience sound, has a huge impact on our lives. Yet in a predominantly visual culture, time is rarely dedicated to exploring our aural experiences.
Minute of Listening highlights the importance of listening and creates a structured, daily activity that enables teachers and their classes to explore a rich and diverse world of listening experiences. Minute of Listening also promotes a culture of curious, active and reflective listening in schools, introduces music and sound as a stimulus for analytical thinking and imaginative enquiry, and creates a daily opportunity for experiential learning, group discussion and conceptual exploration.
Thanks to some amazing partnerships, I’ve had access to a huge range of music and sounds from all around the world, with the task of selecting just 60 tracks for inclusion in the new sound pack. How do you choose between London Sound Survey’s field recording of the Raising of Tower Bridge (slow-moving, beautiful drones) and Sound and Music’s New Voices composer Jobina Tinneman’s Rain Paints a Ricochet Picture (based entirely on samples of basket balls bouncing)?
Which might be more interesting for children, the British Library Sound Archive’s recording of Nightingale with Bombers (recorded during the Second World War) or South Sudanese children singing to celebrate the coming of the rains as collected by Pitt Rivers Museum, or even Judith Weir’s The Welcome Arrival of Rain from NMC Recordings?
Should I include the world sounds of composer Simon Thacker’s Rackshasa (thanks to Serious) or a contemporary arrangement of The Handweaver and the Factory Maid courtesy of English Folk Dance and Song Society?
Rather like a child in a sweet shop, I have to admit to being greedy and choosing all of them! And thanks to Minute of Listening, primary children across the country will be able to enjoy them from the autumn, when the new sound pack will be made available to schools.
You can find out more about Minute of Listening by visiting the website: minuteoflistening.org