WORLD LISTENING DAY
Every year on July 18th, World Listening Day encourages people to take time to listen to the sounds of nature. It’s also a day to learn more about field recording.
Listening plays an important role in understanding one another. Listening is also important when trying to understand the world around us. Learning about the relationship between humans and their environment through sound is called acoustic ecology.
You probably hear sounds in your natural environment every day. These sounds might include the rustling of leaves in the wind. The babbling of a brook nearby. Birds singing as the sun rises. Some sounds might be annoying and others more soothing. Acoustic ecologists take sound listening to another level. They take time to really listen to the sounds and interpret their meanings. When sounds begin to change over time, it might indicate there are changes in the environment. When animal sounds begin to disappear it might mean they are losing their habitat.
Those who record these kinds of sounds engage in a practice called field reporting. Some who do this lie on the ground listening for hours at a time. They also travel to different kinds of environments to record sounds. These environments might include forests, deserts, plains, oceans, and mountains. Some also do field recording in urban areas. Those in cities might listen to see how noise pollution is changing the environment. Field reporters know that sounds in any environment are trying to communicate something. All they need to do is stop and listen.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldListeningDay
Artists, scientists, ecologists, and others who want to better understand the world’s natural environment hold a variety of events on this day. These events include educational seminars, listening parties, and special performances. To participate:
- Go outside and take time to listen to the sounds of the world around you.
- Learn more about field recording and try to record some natural sounds in the outdoors.
- Read the book, “The Tuning of the World” by R. Murray Schafer.
- Watch videos online about field recording.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldListeningDay
WORLD LISTENING DAY HISTORY
The World Listening Project (WLP) was founded in 2008. The charitable organization is devoted to foster understanding of the world and its natural environment through listening and field recording. In 2010, the WLP created World Listening Day. They chose July 18th to commemorate R. Murray Schafer’s birthday. Schafer is a renowned Canadian composer, author, and environmentalist. He is best known for his studies on acoustic ecology. Past themes for the day have included:
2021: The Unquiet Earth
2020: The Collective Field
2019: LISTENING WITH
2018: Future Listening
2017: Listening to the Ground