MotherTongue, MotherLand by Sunny Kim (lead artist, vocals, percussion), with Mindy Meng Wang (guzheng, vocals), Gelareh Pour (kamancheh, qeychak, vocals), Aviva Endean (clarinets, vocals).
Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey & Jenny Hector
Image: Letterbox and Jody Haines
13th April 2023
Begin by watching this introductory video to DarkQuiet and discuss the following questions as a class/in small groups:
● Do you have an “attunement space” where you can block out human-made sounds and surround yourself with sounds of nature only? Can you think of a place where there is no “industrial” (manufactured) light and sound?
● What comes to your mind first, when hearing the word “music”? Where is the place you think music starts?
Let’s get creative!
Creative Activity 1 – Build Your Own Head-Hide
Here is an image of an attunement space from Dark Quiet:
1. Get a large cardboard box and open both top and bottom covers, then fold them in so the box is hollow:
2. Individually, either standing or sitting, put your head inside the box - the idea is to block all vision and draw attention to your listening. You could hold up the box yourself, ask your peers to help you, or stand against a wall, so the box can prop itself up.
3. Listen carefully to the natural sounds around you while wearing the box. Tell your group members:
a) What sounds you hear
b) Your thoughts/experience with this activity
4. Next, put on some headphones and listen to the pre recorded nature sounds, still with your head in the box. Share with your group members:
a) Whether being in the box impacted the way you listened to the pre recorded nature sounds
b) Which experience you found more interesting, or "more natural" - natural sounds from your surroundings (from step 3), or pre recorded nature sounds through headphones?
Here are some sounds for you to listen to:
Bird Sounds and Wind:
In the Dark:
Trees Blown by Wind:
Creative Activity 2 – Make Field Recordings in the Dark
This activity needs to be done at home in your backyard or a similar setting, and in the dark! Record the sounds of nature on your smartphone or chosen device. Your challenge is to try to avoid recording any sounds that are human-generated e.g. traffic, talking, technology… etc. Let’s find out how many sounds you are able to collect given this restriction!
Save your recordings as MP3 files in preparation for the last activity, where we’ll do some editing.
Watch this video where the creators discuss the concept of “Dark Quiet” and the impact of sound and light pollution.
Creative Activity 3 – Edit Field Recordings
Watch the tutorial video below to combine and edit your field recordings using Soundtrap. Applying all the techniques as shown in the video will help you produce a quality audio track to present to your peers!
Presentation of Learning
Students present their final edited field recording audio works in front of the class – families, or even the public, could be invited too. Recordings could be published privately via the school LMS, or on music/visual sharing sites such as Soundcloud, Google Drive or Dropbox.
If possible, a "Presentation Night" could be really effective in presenting these works that were created by students in the dark. The head-hide and headphones from Creative Activity 1 could also be brought in for students and audience members to experience and enjoy.
Australian Curriculum Mapped Outcomes
Year 7 and 8 Music
Developing practices and skills - AC9AMU8D02
Reflect on their own and others’ music to inform choices they make as composers and performers about how they will manipulate elements of music and/or compositional devices.
Creating and making - AC9AMU8C02
Compose using the elements of music and compositional devices to communicate ideas, perspectives and/or meaning, and notate, document and/or record the music.
Year 7 and 8 Media Arts
Exploring and responding - AC9AMA8E01
Investigate the ways that media arts concepts are used in media arts works and practices across cultures, times, places and/or other contexts.
Creating and making - AC9AMA8C02
Apply production processes and use media arts concepts to construct representations and produce media arts works that communicate ideas, perspectives and or meaning for specific audiences using responsible media practice.