The first school year for “The sounds of the rural school” (2017-2018) began by posing a set of questions that had aroused from one of the project’s objectives: to seek the relevance of local space against the global imaginary, promoting the experience of everyday experiences and the relationship with the environment in which they are expressed.
With the first question, “How do we sound?”, we sound with the voice and the body in a process of personal and collective discovery. We reflect on the concepts of sound, noise and silence, as we begin to experiment with the parameters of sound through games and group activities. To do this we use tools such as an improvisation choir (known in the CRA as “The Orchestra”) and the games: “The blind man and the guide” or “Zombie chairs”.
Then we extended the same question to our context, investigating the soundscape and the recording of sounds. To know “how does our environment sound?” we were guided by a series of questions to which we answered in sound language, recording:
•Where do I live? (How does the place where I live sound?)
• Whom do I live with? (What do the humans and/or nonhumans I live with sound like?)
• What do I do where I live? (How do I sound where I live?)
• How do I come to school? (How does the journey from my house to school sound?)
In the second quarter, we incorporated the concept of orality and narration. At the same time, different musicians from “Juventudes Musicales de León” collaborated with us in the sessions, showing their musical instruments and participating in the usual activities we carry out. Games like “Machines” or “Telling-sounds” rang in very different ways and we began to see that our questions could be answered in different ways.
In the middle of the year, Hara Alonso, a composer collaborating in the whole project joined us in our creative process and wrote four musical stories for it: The Peregrine Drop, The Carpenter Who Listened to Trees, Papagena 2150 and Look somewhere else. Originally, these stories had one narrated part and one musical part. The CRA students voiced the narrated part without any knowledge of the existence of an orchestra score. Thus, we investigated how a narration could sound, that is, how the realities described by the story sounded. We used objects that sound, small instruments, some inventions, our voices and our bodies. Afterwards, we put the two voices together (that of the children and the orchestral score) forming the final version of the four musical stories and we played them in an ensemble made up of two orchestras (Juventudes Musicales and Children’s Orchestra). With this creative process, we began to discover how does the world sound. A world we are part of through our sounds and the sounds of our environment.
During the first year, the project’s report was collective and we made three sound stories (podcasts) that narrated our experience. These stories were nourished by our field recordings, games, activities, opinions… and served us as a journal.
Every day we hold an assembly where we value the sessions and make proposals for change. To report our reflections, we use “listening notebooks”, where we write the sounds we like, the ones we don’t like and the ones we want to tape, as well as tasks, ideas and proposals for the assembly.
This post is also available in: Spanish