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Celebrate World Listening Day

And R. Murray Schafer's birthday

Wondering how to celebrate World Listening Day, which occurs today, July 18, as it has every July 18th since 2010? Try this listening exercise:

Step 1: Prepare to sit still for 10 minutes, preferably outside.

Step 2: For the 10 minutes, listen intently. Also record the sound (with, for example, a phone).

Step 3: When the time is up, make a detailed list of every sound you can recall.

Step 4: Having made the list, then listen back to the recording. Note divergences from your list. Write down your observations about those differences.

World Listening Day has its roots in environmentalism and the field of audio ecology. The date July 18 was chosen because it is the birthday of the famed composer and sound theorist R. Murray Schafer, who turns 86 this year. However, don’t ignore, avoid, or devalue machinery, urban ambience, and other human-made sound. And if you do the listening exercise, please consider sharing your notes and observations. Thanks.

More on World Listening Day at worldlisteningproject.org.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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