Whether in the family, in a children's group or with senior citizens, sound stories are fun and connect, because they are entertaining, interactive and invite to discover, experience and communicate.
Here you will find an example of a sound story with a short instruction. This is followed by 6 tips for implementation that can help you to organise the sound effects, the story itself and the participants. Variations and ideas for pedagogical work round off this blog.
Have fun trying out and modifying.
Effect instruments are particularly suitable for sound stories. They are used when the described terms are read aloud. One person reads aloud and everyone else picks up an instrument.
Instruments for the Sound Story
This sound story is about an autumn day with sunshine, thunderstorms and a locomotive that you can hear and feel. We recommend the following music effects.
|Effect Instrument||Terms from the story|
|Kalimba Moon||moon, silence, peace, night|
|Wooden Owl||owl, bird song|
|Hand Cymbals||sun, sunlight|
|Birdcall Blue Tit||birds, bird song|
|Wind Effect||breeze, storm, wind|
|Calabash Rattle||rain, raindrops|
|Thunder Drum||thunder, thunderstorm|
|Locomotive Whistle||whistle, whistles|
Sound Story – An Example
It is night. The darkness is broken by the gentle glow of the moon. Softly, the call of the owl can be heard. Smoothly the melodies of the moon sound and silence spreads and the call of the owl fades away.
Slowly the sunrise appears. The sun breaks through the darkness and sunlight spreads over the landscape.
The warming sun awakens the first birds. You can hear the birds chirping softly. Ever louder, they cheerfully chirp their morning bird song.
The sun's light is getting stronger and yet you can feel the first fresh breeze. The chirping of the birds becomes quieter as a storm announces itself. The wind gets stronger and stronger and blows with all its might. Clouds gather, push in front of the sun and darken the sky.
The first small drops of rain fall on the windswept earth. The rain becomes heavier and from far away you can already hear the thunder approaching. The thunder grows louder as the thunderstorm gets closer. Wind and heavy rain fill the air. It thunders, flashes and rains. Everything gets wet.
Finally the wind calms down and only a few raindrops fall. The thunderstorm moves on and the thunder can only be heard faintly, from far away.
And then rays of sunlight break through the dark clouds and let the last raindrops glisten. A magical play of light! The sun regains ist strength and harmonious peace spreads over the landscape again. Birds begin their exuberant concert and their chirping blends perfectly with the peace that lies over the landscape.
Suddenly, the quiet whistle of a steam locomotive breaks the silence. You can clearly hear the approach of the train. Louder and louder and closer the steam locomotive comes, whistling its signal loudly. Very close, the train is especially loud and whistles once more. And then it is already over. The steam locomotive and its whistle become quieter and quieter until both can no longer be heard.
Finally it is quiet and still again. The sun loses its power and slowly disappears on the horizon. Silence. Only the call of the owl can be heard as night settles over the landscape and the moon can be seen in the sky.
6 Tips for Implementing an Interactive Sound Story
- Explore the instruments together and listen to the way they sound. Experiment with volume, intensity and melodies.
- Think together about which instrument goes with which part of the story. You can also provide pictures of the sun, moon, rain, wind, thunderstorm, blue tit, owl, steam locomotive and steam engine whistles and have them assigned.
- Let everyone choose their instrument. Then sit together in a circle and briefly practise the sounds and their use.
- Read the sound story slowly with pauses. Everyone plays his/her instrument when the appropriate term is read out.
- After the first run-through you can reflect together on what was fun, what sounded authentic, how the music-making and the individual sounds felt. Also talk about what you can improve to make the sound story especially enjoyable. Maybe change instruments or change the volume and intensity.
- Then read the sound story again slowly and with pauses. Everyone listens carefully and uses their instrument as well as possible. Make a video of your sound story and you will have a nice memory of the sound experience.
Of course, you can also vary this story, expand it, reinvent it and adapt the instruments to the size of the group. There are no limits to your imagination for varied effects. On dark days you can - preferably together - search for sounds in toy or tool boxes, on your desk, in the kitchen or during a walk in nature and find suitable sounds for your story.
Sound Stories as an Impulse for Pedagogical Work
Sound stories are excellent for pedagogical work and not only in music lessons! You don't need any musical talent to tell sound stories. And so they can be used in language lessons to train listening skills, to write dictations, to continue writing stories or to invent new ones.
In projects, learners can go in search of sounds together, develop their own story and set it to music with their sounds. Performed or on video, the evaluation and reflection is also fun.
Or how about a historical sound story or an animal story in biology? Learning with all the senses becomes very popular, because learning is easy when teachers integrate different sensory perceptions and motivate with attractive content. Extraordinary, memorable experiences are simply better remembered. Therefore, a sound story not only delights the learners, but also enhance the learning process if it is used didactically well.