The Sound of Diversity – 1st part

The Sound of Diversity – 2nd part

DVD description

The first part of the DVD is the story telling of this experience called ERASMUS+ project “Access to School for Everyone” through sounds, through the ears and words of the participant students. During every students mobility, a number of recordings took place to detect the diversity among the soundscapes of each participant country.

The soundscape is the component of the acoustic environment that can be perceived by humans, ranging from urban design to wildlife ecology. Recording a soundscape can give to the listener who doesn’t know the place, an impression similar to the one that a sequence of pictures could give him. As someone can perceive the variety of sizes and their distribution in space through vision, the variety of trees and plants, of animals and birds which are there, of the materials used by human, of the architecture, the means of transport and of the number of people around, someone also can perceive such information through hearing.

This activity was based on the belief that recording these 5 different soundscapes and afterwards comparing them to each other, could give to the students and not only, a possibility of understanding the singularity of these 5 different places, corresponding to the one that pictures or other visual aids can give, also training them on studying diversity through audio information.

The goal of this specific project was finally to pinpoint the differences among the 5 countries soundscape and identify the acoustic elements that are typical in each one. So, after the end of all the mobilities, useful conclusions came, about the similarities and differences of these 5 countries, especially located in school’s field. The students not only payed attention on how the new place that they visited sounds, but coming back home, they started listening to their own acoustic environment, more carefully.

The recordings in each host country are located on three places:

  1. The school. Through the recordings, the guest students are able to find out which school is the most noisy or the most quiet, differences on the acoustic of each building, in the classrooms and the public places, indoors and outdoors, while also differences on the ways students and teachers communicate each other during lessons and breaks.
  2. The home of their host family. Here it is interesting not only the number of family’s members or the pets that may live in the house, but also the size and material of the house and consequently its acoustic, the external environment, as there are families that live in the town and others in the countryside, having gardens or farms and animals.
  3. The town. Most of the schools which participate in this project are located out of towns. Recording the town helps understanding different cultures and ways of life in and round them. A lot of or a few people, who are in a hurry or not, many or a few cars, different public transports, the existence or not of gardens, squares, open theaters or concert halls, street music, church bells, clock towers, industries, rivers, sea and many other things, can make every town, unique.

Every country’s language is undoubtedly an eminent element in any place’s acoustic. Due to the nature of these mobilities, the students were most of the time among those of the other participant countries, so extra attention was paied on soundscape recordings which concluded speech, so that local speech was not included as the central sound, but in the background, with other characteristic sounds of the place.

Every Greek student who participated in a mobility had to make one or more recordings in  the 3 previous mentioned places. Students and teachers from other countries, who visited Greece, had to do the same. Greek teachers gave the same instructions to everyone. The recordings could be from 3 seconds to 3 minutes and they should conclude whatever each one considers as an interesting souvenir from the visiting place. Anything that he founds characteristic, that underlines the natural or cultural difference from the place he comes from. After the end of  the first mobility in Greece, the responsible teacher of each school sent to the Greek partner all the audio files that emerge from his school, accompanied by a reference on where exactly they took place. The same procedure was followed by the Greek students, after each mobility. Everyone was perfectly cooperated and very interesting recordings were gathered from the five different mobilities.

On their return, the Greek students had to fill a questionary, about the soundscapes they visited. So finally, after collecting all the recordings and thourgh the answers they gave, important conclusions arised. More specifically:

  • Even when students describe the place they visited as more quiet and peaceful, many times they find their home town, house or school as more pleasant, explaining this feeling through familiarity.
  • All of them noticed the difference that occurs between their school and all the others, due to the fact that music is heard all the time and everywhere in their own school. They descibe it as something relaxing and pleasant, but not as extra noise.
  • They all take in consideration the size and popularity of the towns they visited, to compaire their soundscape with those from the town they come from.
  • All the students appreciate possitively the sounds of nature instead of the urban ones and some of them expressed the desire to have more of that in their everyday life.
  • Students relate homes’ soundscapes with local culture and bring out conclusions about the personality of each family, for example: happy, vivid, warm, etc.

After completing this survey, we see that the goal is achieved. This procedure was a tool for the students, which offers them the ability to think critically, to identify the material and to gain knowledge through interpreting their own individual perspective, always making way for personalized meaning-making. Generally, as an educational tool, the recording procedure, followed by relevant questionaries and their survey, can offer to those who use it, critical thought, creativity and a valuable framework for the constructivist educational pedagogy, that supports student centered learning through their own experience. It is also a useful way of teaching respect on nature and other’s traditions and cultures.

The second part of the DVD is the story telling of ERASMUS+ project “Access to School for Everyone” through music. It’s a collection of videos. During every mobility to each one of the five participants countries, the host country had organised a music show. Many different kinds of music were heard in these concerts.

Common element in more of them was Beatles’ song “Imagine” and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, from his 9th Symphony, the first one as the hymn of ASE project and the secong as the hymn of EU. Before the first students’ mobility, the greek school had arranged an on-line voting, to decide the hymn of the project. All participant students proposed their favourite songs with reference to diversity. All the proposed songs uploaded and every student voted for his favourite. They couldn’t vote any proposition cominh from their own country. The selected song was Beatles’ “Imagine”. As a music school, the greek school prepared an arrangement of this song for school’s music ensembles and organised a schedule of rehearshals before the first mobility and a few more for all the participants, during this mobility. The first students’ mobility in Greece ended with a concert of the school’s music ensembles, that took place in a central concert hall of Heraklion city and where culture and education responsible where invited. There, students and teachers from all the five countries played and sang together their favourite choise, in a very moving atmoshere for everyone. In the same mood, during every concert all along this project, the concerts that took place, gave to the participants and to the audience the feeling of sharing and coexistance. Music functioned as a common place, underlying our similarities and bringing us closer.

Apart that, through these shows, each counrty had the opportunity to present to their guests a small part of the local culture. Traditional music or typical music from each host country was every time performed. This way, diversity is more than obvious. Traditional music is considered as every local culrture’s way to transform nature and human sounds into music. The concept is that this way and after having recorded the soundscape of different countries, which means having paid attention to these natural or human sounds, the students have in addition the chance to be aware of how these sounds become through different harmonies, orchestrations, languages and rythms, five unique pieces of art.

This experience in total, gave to students and not only an idea of how art comes through nature. Unlike studying this transformation through books, this tool offered the idea of an interactive way of learning, taking in consideration the critical skill, personality and taste of every learner, as an instrument player, a singer, a danser or a member of the audience. We believe that dealing with art, expands creatively teenagers’ superfluous energy, makes diversity’s value more visible and through that, enforces the connection between young people, keeping violence or bullying almost completely away and cultivating respect to each other.