Sound walks︎︎︎
Hildegard Westerkamp is an accomplished sound artist and co-founder of the World Sound Project who leads sound walks for small groups. In a soundwalk, we are guided through an area without talking, only focusing on listening to the soundscape of the environment. After the walk, each participant does some free writing about the experience followed by a discussion. This can lead to projects based on the walk, including mining ideas from the text recorded after the walk and producing sound compositions by creating field recordings of the walk.

Here is a variation from Museum of Arts and Design’s Sonic Arcade:

1 Take a walk on a predetermined route through your school and/or neighborhood. Try to find a path with a variety of soundscapes, quiet and loud, inside and outside, etc. Have students agree not to speak and to focus on the sounds they hear.

2 Discuss the experience. What sounds did you hear? Which sounds caught your attention first, and which did you notice later? How would you describe the soundscapes you walked through? What would you change about them? Why? Do you think this soundwalk would be different at different times of the day, or even a different time of the year?

Variation: Walking Soundtracks

1 Each student determines a walking route within the school or neighborhood. These can consist of written directions and/or maps.

2 Students then develop a playlist or soundtrack to respond to the surroundings and enhance the walk by altering the traveler’s experience along the route.


For groups of students planning walks for assignments- here are a few potentials:

The walk
1. Decide a duration
2. Decide a balance of nature and urban
3. Places or at times pause during the walk
4. Walk a second time -record the same path
5. Put in ear plugs for 5 minutes of the walk
6. Make a series of sounds on surfaces
7. At night/ At sunrise

︎︎︎inspired by Hildegard Westerkamp