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    Sound Reflections: The influence of acoustic ecology on classroom composition

    Savage, Jonathan (2001) Sound Reflections: The influence of acoustic ecology on classroom composition. Soundscape, 2.


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    In the United Kingdom soundscape and acoustic ecology approaches to composition are under-researched and utilised by classroom practitioners. Yet these approaches bridge the gap between the demands of the formal curriculum and the personal values and experiences that pupils bring with them to the classroom. The projects outlined in this paper show that such a creative approach to curriculum planning gives students the opportunity to reflect sonically on physical places, their own and others’ environments in powerful and authentic ways, while the innovative use of technologies in the classroom gives all students a voice for these expressions, regardless of ‘traditional’ musical ability or skill. Furthermore, these projects implement technological and pedagogical strategies that enable “our young people not only to have the opportunity to become soundscape researchers, but [also] soundscape designers” (McGinley 2001, 73). It was against this backdrop that two innovative projects were completed at Debenham High School, a rural Suffolk comprehensive school of 450 pupils aged between 11 and 16. The pedagogical and compositional dimensions of these projects - Dunwich Revisited and Reflecting Others – have both been described elsewhere (Savage and Challis 2001a & b). The purpose of this short article is not to revisit these ideas but rather to investigate and comment on the positive influence of acoustic ecology within classroom composition.

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