Massachusetts Soundscape Project
We can learn a lot about our ecosystem by listening. Who is there? When? How many different species? What are they doing? And in particular, birds can play a huge role in composing the soundscape of our environment.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society has taken local birding and climate data to visualize how our local bird populations might change by 2050. By the end of this project, students will know about how their local bird populations are projected to change in the future, and they will have produced a piece of audio that either 1) teaches about this, 2) responds and conveys emotions about what they have learned, and/or 3) imagines an alternative future, and what it might take to make that happen.
Step 1: Research
Visit the link to the Mass Audobon site to find out about the birds who live in Massachusetts and how their population is predicted to change by the year 2050.
Step 2: Resourcing
Visit the link to Xeno-Canto, and type in the name of the bird you want to hear. Make sure hyphens (-) are added where they need to be. Then, rather than clicking “Search,” give the website a moment to find what you typed in, and for that exact bird to appear in the drop-down menu from the search bar. Once it appears, click on the bird from the drop-down menu.
For this project, we want to select as many recordings from Massachusetts as possible. Some birds have been recorded a lot, so this will be easy. For rarer birds, expand your search outside of Massachusetts as you need to, but try to stay as close to the state as you can.
To download your birdsongs, click the circles on the map, then click the download button.
Once all of your audio is downloaded, open a new Soundtrap project to save your recordings. Click “enter studio,” then “import file.” Select all your downloads. Save your project! Give it a title! Something like “(Name)'s Soundscape project - source audio.”
Step 3: Production
Create a piece of audio (e.g., song, podcast) that either:
Tells the story of how the bird population will change in Massachusetts.
Conveys your feelings about what you learned in your research.
Imagines a different outcome, and what might be required to make that happen.
Or any combination of the above.
Step 4: Publicity
Once you are satisfied with your work:
Give your audio a final title.
Determine how you want your name to appear (you can create an artist name if you would like).
Write a paragraph describing your work: what it is, what you hoped to do, and how you did it.
Create an image to serve as either album artwork, or to accompany the audio if it were to be publicized.
Turn it in and dance!
National Core Arts Standards
MU:Cr2.1.5a: Demonstrate selected and developed musical ideas for improvisations, arrangements, or compositions to express intent, and explain the connection to purpose and context.
MU:Cr3.1.5a: Evaluate, refine, and document revisions to personal music, applying teacher-provided and collaboratively-developed criteria and feedback, and explain the rationale for changes.
MU:Cr3.2.5a: Present the final version of personally created music to others that demonstrates craftsmanship, and explain the connection to expressive intent.
MU:Pr4.1.6a: Apply teacher-provided criteria for selecting music to perform for a specific purpose and/or context, and explain why each was chosen.
MU:Cn10.0.5a: Demonstrate how interests, knowledge, and skills relate to personal choices and intent when creating, performing, and responding.
MU:Cn11.0.5a: Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life.
MU:Cr3.1.T.IIIa: Develop and implement varied strategies and apply appropriate criteria to improve and refine the technical and expressive aspects of draft compositions and improvisations.
MU:Cr3.2.T.Ia: Share compositions or improvisations that demonstrate a proficient level of musical and technological craftsmanship as well as the use of digital tools and resources in developing and organizing musical ideas.
CASEL Core Competencies
Self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, social awareness