How to soundwalk (Part Two) for Land Lines

Part two of my “How-to” primer for Land Lines, the Nature Conservancy of Canada blog, offers some practical considerations and inspiration in doing your own soundwalks. Online resources are included. My hope is that anyone who is even a bit interested will not only read it, but do it. That’s the only way to begin to know what a soundwalk is and why it’s helpful.

How to soundwalk (Part one) for Land Lines

Photo by Noé Cuéllar, 2010

Photo by Noé Cuéllar, 2010

In this two-part piece for Land Lines, the Nature Conservancy of Canada blog, I provide a “How to” primer with resources, personal experiences, and suggested techniques.

As an ecological practice, soundwalking can be an entertainment or a method of inquiry, a call to action or a meditation. Soundwalks can play multiple roles all at once or shift intents from moment to moment.

Part Two will post on October 28, 2015.

Oct. 3rd Pullman Soundwalk, WBEZ City Sounds

As a prelude to the MSAE’s Pullman National Monument soundwalk, at 10:30 AM Saturday, October 3, here’s the recording of my appearance on WBEZ’s “The Morning Shift.” I talk with Tony Sarabia about ambient sounds in the city and the value of listening.

Having a few minutes to discuss a so fundamentally important part of everyday experience really helps to raise critical awareness about our soundscapes and life in the city. I thank the show’s producer, Dan Tucker for taking note and using Chicago public radio to help us gain a sense of what acoustic ecology does.

Call In Your Favorite City Soundscapes, WBEZ

Wednesday, September 30, WBEZ’s The Morning Shift will have me on their talk show live, between 9 AM and 10 AM to answer questions about different soundscapes in Chicago, and then take calls from listeners about their favorite sounds in the city. To listen or call in tune in to 91.5 FM, or listen online at

Sound in the Land – Music and the Environment

My article, “Acoustic Ecology and Ethical Listening” appears in Section I – The Silence of Stone: Perspectives of Sound of Sound in the Land – Music and the Environment, a special edition of The Conrad Grebel Review. Sound in the Land front & back cover

This book is both interdisciplinary and international, including essays about ecomusicology, soundscape aesthetics, ethnomusicology, silence, science, acoustic ecology, the natural environment, and worship/ritual practices. Leading essays include those by keynote speakers R. Murray Schafer (Canadian composer) and Gus Mills (South African wildlife scientist) as well as ethnomusicologists Maisie Sum, Doreen Klassen and Judith Klassen, and many more.

To order books contact

Wake Up To The Sounds Of Daybreak Across The World, Friday, Sept. 11

NPR’s Morning Edition is airing a segment tomorrow (Friday, Sept 11) that will include some listeners’ sounds of daybreak, so tune in to your local public radio station if you have the chance. My recording and photo of the sunrise over Lake Michigan may be included.

The show’s producer said, “We’ll also have a web story with some of your stories, sounds and photos later this week, so keep an eye out. I will send an update once that’s online.

sunrise at camp sherwin

Sunrise at camp Sherwin, Chicago, 5 September, 2015. Photo by Eric Leonardson.

Thank you again for sharing with us – our team was so impressed by the time and effort that went into the submissions. It was a pleasure to listen to them.”

Not only is this call for recorded soundscapes at daybreak relevant for my Eco-Sensing and the Soundscape course at SAIC, it also reminds me of the micro radio event I created nearby on May 2, the “SoundTent at Camp Sherwin” for International Dawn Chorus Day. It was my contribution to an event organized by soundCamp | REVEIL in collaboration with The Radius, as Episode 63 in its long-running series for experimental radio and transmission art in Chicago. If the sound of my frail voice is any indication, it may be dissembling. Stay tuned!

‘Our Sonic Playground’ Journal of Urban Cultural Studies

My research article on urban soundscape awareness for the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is now available online. “‘Our Sonic Playground’: A model for active engagement in urban soundscapes” is part of special section that “…engages with the idea of activating a ‘sonic turn’ in urban cultural studies scholarship, in part through the evocation of the paradigm of critical and participatory citizenship, as well as through critical approaches to understanding how sound and music are implicated in the texture of a city….”
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Soundscape of the city is about more than decibels – Chicago Tribune

Last week, I enjoyed a nice chat with Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic, Blair Kamin. Here’s his article on the positive function of sound in the design and experience of urban spaces.

To summarize, rather than bemoaning excessive noise in the city, acoustic ecology studies how sounds function to mediate communication of individuals within their environment. This understanding requires both art and science.

Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park

Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park, Chicago Tribune photo by Chris Walker

With it we are able to consider the consequences of our actions, be they in the design and construction of our environment, transportation, entertainment, or other endeavors.