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Thursday, May 6, 2010

importance of sound!

We all take sound very much for granted. It is omnipresent. For the most part the only time we really take note of it is when we complain about something being too loud or too soft, otherwise it's just there. But it is amazing what it does for us. It allows us to communicate easily. And it gives us a sense of place. Obviously being able to converse with other humans, and even animals to a degree, is a wonderful gift. But it's all the other stuff we hear all day and into the night that is so vital to the way we feel about where we are. Kids are, for most part, born with very sensitive hearing. You may find as a parent that watching TV at a level that's comfortable to you is painfully loud for your youngest whippersnapper. Air shows, motor racing and firework displays are not generally places very young kids like to go for that very reason. But once past that stage they quickly progress to listening to music much too loud, as all of us 'oldies' used to do, only now it can be more damaging to the ears as we're all wearing headphones of some description and the music is very high fidelity.
I've worked in the film industry for many years. Sound effects and music have always been my specialty. Now I'm creating a new type of entertainment for kids that also involves sound and music - digital picture books - and because childrens' picture books come with no sound at all, I'm given a completely blank slate to work with. The best possible situation I could hope for! What I find myself doing is reading the book out loud and imagining what background and foreground sounds might have been there. I remember from my youth just how very important the sounds around me were. I may travel somewhere now and catch a snippet of noise that takes me right back to a specific place in my mind from many years previously. My childhood memories of sounds are particularly vibrant. Lollipop sticks in bicycle wheels, Dad mowing the lawn, the train set, waves on the beach, and even the birds we'd hear in our garden. Funny things like a croquet mallet hitting the ball; ice cubes coming out of their rubber container; a match being struck; Sounds that become an identity for a specific spot or time. Sounds we may even identify with a particular person.
So for the online digital picture books for kids I'm creating, it is my aim to build a soundtrack that children will remember not just as a part of the book but as a part of the world that story was told in as well and as a part of their own little world while watching the book (they are visual audio books). For instance, I will include distant tractors, dogs barking, church bells, water being poured, footsteps on gravel, and even a stylus being lowered onto an LP! Okay so I may be older than you, but I bet my memory is more "sound" than yours!
Sound maps our life's path, from birth to deaf. For those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to hear, the world would be an unbearable place without it. Put your fingers in your ears for a few minutes for a quick example of how very tedious it would be. It certainly makes us all appreciate the gift of sound.
Oh, and when you next read to your child, don't forget to throw in a few sound effects - you'd be astounded at the wonderful reactions you get!
Sound is beautiful - give it a listen sometime

taken from here

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