This past Monday our class did a very special activity where we walked around different parts of campus listening to a variety of sounds (and lack of them) while identifying the impact we personally had on the area. Sounds crazy right? I did not really buy into it much when I first looked at the worksheet, but after voyaging across campus and truly listening to more than I ever had before, I was sold. I guess I had always tuned out the sounds I create myself kind of like how it’s always been said that our eyes simply ignore our own nose even though it’s always there. My footsteps, shuffling of clothing, and even breathing echoed across the soundscapes and impacted the way wildlife and even people interacted with me.
Some sounds were quiet and others were very loud. One place we visited was a construction site on the northwestern side of campus. People often poke fun about how campus is under construction with jokes like “Virginia Tech: Under construction since 1872”. However a campus under construction is a good thing, a healthy sign of progress and growth. Even though most of the places I visited on my sound walk had the faint sounds of construction in the background, I just closed my eyes and thought of it as the sounds of spaces for opportunities being created for future Hokies.
With all of this being said, the most special place on the walk was down behind the Duckpond. While the sounds of the hustle and bustle of campus faintly echo above us, the Duckpond itself really took center stage. Once I really sat still and noticed all of the wildlife around me, I was blown away by how much depth there was to it. I could hear each of the squirrels running through the branches above me. I noticed the splashing of the ducks coming and going out of the water. I noticed how the wind moved the leaves and grass across the ground. It made me feel really small and it was a feeling that really humbled me in a great way. It was a little corner where I could actually listen to myself and then not listen to me at all. The things I learned from this I can certainly apply to the way I listen to music and identifying more than just what is on the surface. This activity opened my eyes, well technically my ears, to how much more there is to sounds and music as a whole.