Sounding Out: Gr. 6 and 7 students experimenting with sound!

Michelle Benjamin

Executive Director, Gabriola Arts Council

Tuesday, February 23 2016

The Gabriola Arts Council has launched the 2016 Youth Engagement program - The Sounding Out Project. Designed by professional musician, conductor and vocal explorer Leah Hokanson, the program consists of six sessions over three months, and is being offered to the grade six and seven class in collaboration with Tom Bradbrooke and the music program at GES.

The Sounding Out Project is a guided exploration of voice, sound and listening. Using improvisation, games and exercises to connect with the voice’s potential for creativity and expression, participants will develop a deeper awareness of how we use our voices in a variety of contexts: how we listen to ourselves, to each other and the world around us, and how we can use our voices to express more fully the magnificent beings we are.

Rather than thinking of the voice as a medium to deliver language, or as musicalized sound, in these sessions Leah will engage participants in expanding their vocal expression while also challenging them to embrace their full vocal potential. Explorations will include:

• Listening to the sounds in our environment and vocalizing them.

• Exploring how language is communicated through vocal range, timbre and rhythm.

• Imagining the voice as different musical instruments: flute, saxophone, upright bass and percussion.

• Working together as a sounding ensemble.

• Playing with gibberish - creating our own language through sound.

• Vocal improvisation: voices in playful interaction with each another.

• Create a sound-and-movement skit.

• Recording: creating something amazing together.

The goal of this exciting, innovative program is not to create wonderful singers, but rather to introduce concepts of sound, vocal expression and focused listening to youth who may or may not have musical interests. Besides being fun, creative and introducing new concepts, the program may even have practical results in areas such as public speaking, debating and - yes! - music and performance.

This program is funded in part by the BC Arts Council.