Creating Soundscapes With Music, Storytelling and Digital Audio Workstations

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Linda Johnson  
Knikole Taylor  

Soundscapes can provide imagery for stories, places or emotions. This arts integrated/STEAM approach to learning also promotes equity with student voice and choice. Participants will create a soundscape using body percussion, found sounds, sound effects and musical loops in a hands-on session with digital audio workstations like Garageband and Soundtrap.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: PC, Chromebook, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Apps:
GarageBand (should already be built into iOS devices and MacBook)

(Recommended: one time purchase upgrade for iPhone and iPad)
Preferences for session is iOS. Macbook has a GarageBand application, but is formatted a bit differently.

Soundtrap (web based application)

Devices - Smart Phone (Android or iOS)

Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Music
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participant Outcomes:
I. Participants will learn how to facilitate student connections with between core subjects and music by learning the basic principles of STEAM and Arts Integration lesson design

II. Participants will learn what a soundscape is and its function in creating imagery through sound, as well as how to create one in using body percussion, found sounds, sound effects, and music.

III. Participants will learn the basics of recording and sampling sounds and short musical ideas on a DAW (Garageband and Sountrap)
IV. Participants will learn the basics of how to build tracks on Garage Band (IOS) and Soundtrap (cloud based)

V. Participants should leave the session with at least one soundscape that is based on a story (original or precomposed), a poem, a place, or a feeling/mood and be able to implement what they learned immediately in their classroom (virtual, face to face, or hybrid)


Overview and introduction. 10 minutes
1. Introduction: Why should we use soundscapes and What is it?
A. Student Engagement, Culturally Responsive, and Accessibility
B. A Soundscape is an arts integration strategy that paints a sound image of a place or a mood in a story.
C. We create a soundscape using the voice, the body, musical instruments, found sounds in the immediate environment. We can enhance it's effect on creating imagery with the use of digital audio workstations such as Garageband or Soundtrap.

2. Outline of session.

Soundcapes. 10 minutes

1. Creating Imagery
A. Participants will select a short poem, a place, or a mood and brainstorm what sounds they can make or what type of music would paint a sound picture. An interactive Padlet will be provided for participants
to share ideas with the group
B. Presenter and participants will select one of the soundscape ideas and create one on the spot as an actual demonstration.

How to Build and Execute the Soundscape Strategy 15 minutes

1. Introduce the different ways to create a soundscape (including ideas such as film scoring for mood and sound effects and prewritten stories) and how to align content standards from ELA with technology and music.
2. Introduce how to use the soundscape strategy as a culturally responsive tool that promotes equity and student voice and choice.

DAW 25 minutes

1. Introduce and demonstrate basics of Garage Band and Sound Trap
A. Participants will make loops and experiment on devices (including exploring various sound effects and sound libraries)
B. Participants will have the opportunity to share by either dropping a link to the
presenter or on a separate interactive Padlet.
2. Introduce and demonstrate with guided practice how to record or sample the voice, body percussion, or found sounds in Garageband and Soundtrap.
A. Participants will also experiment augmenting the samples by modifying the sound within the DAW (digital audio workstation)
B. Participants will have the opportunity to share by either dropping a link to the
presenter or on a separate interactive Padlet.

Lab Time: 25 minutes

1. Participants will complete recording their own soundscapes in Garageband or Soundtrap.

Q&A Closure. 5 minutes

Process: Participants will primarily work independently. However, since SoundTrap is cloud based, participants will also have the option of collaborating with others either during or after the live session is completed. GarageBand can also be shared as a project with iOS users. The presenter will use a Google Site Website to house interactive Padlets, and other collaborative tools to encourage sharing and participant engagement during the session.

Participants will have their own devices to create their compositions on garage band or Soundtrap such as a smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, or laptop.

Supporting research

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Linda Johnson, Match Studio and Consulting

Linda Johnson is the founder and CEO of MATCH Studio and Consulting where she offers instruction for private music lessons and professional development for Music, Arts Integration, and STEAM. Ms. Johnson has over 20 years of experience as a music teacher with elementary and secondary students, and currently works an Certification Coach and Content Producer for online courses, articles, and professional development with the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM.

Knikole Taylor, EDU Consultant

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