'Sound Stories'

Creative Learning through Sound and Recording

Sound Stories are an innovative and creative way of engaging the imaginations of young people, using portable sound and recording technology, as well aspects of drama.


Sound Stories provide a super-accessible but stimulating way of approaching any topic, self-expression, or just having fun with sound technology and recording.


Young people today are surrounded by screen technology, and our world is visually led. Yet it is amazing how readily young people react to the creative stimulus of pure sound. Sessions start with an exciting introduction to sound effects - participants press buttons to trigger different sounds like echoey footsteps, police cars, lions roaring, glass smashing, ancient castle doors slamming shut. When asked to describe who/what they think is behind each sound, young people invariably offer a startling range of wild ideas and immediately begin to create lines of dialogue to go with the sounds. These are recorded into the computer along with the sounds, creating a dramatic mini-scene in sound, which can then be played back. This is often a hilarious exercise, and the humour and excitement serves as a great ice-breaker.


From this introduction, Sound Stories can go in any direction. Sound Stories engage hearts and minds, and can provide an unusual and exciting way of bringing subjects to life, such as (recent examples):


  • WORLD WAR II - School pupils wrote short scenes, complete with characters and sound effects, to depict different aspects of WWII as it affected Britain, such as life in an Anderson shelter, rationing and blackouts, and what goes on in an Operations Room.

  • CASTLES - Pupils hit on the idea of a Sound Story depicting Primary school kids having a tour of Cardiff Castle. As the characters were introduced to each room or feature of the castle, there was a ‘flashback’ to a medieval scene featuring characters (and sounds) from the time.


  • THE 8 WONDERS OF THE NATURAL WORLD - Pupils created short Sound Stories featuring themselves traveling back in time to visit each of the 8 wonders back in its day, complete with characters and sounds from the time.


Another successful approach is based on 'Flash Fiction', and can work particularly well for young people from challenging backgrounds. In this, participants are given free reign to create a super-short story - it may only be one scene - and make it as dramatic and dark as they like, complete with the relevant sound effects. Sometimes darker emotional themes emerge, representing an opportunity for cathartic self-expression.


Examples from previous workshops can be heard below...