The Restorative Nature of Sound

Martin Reisle is a musician and sound enthusiast, whose insights on listening and sounds are not only inspiring but also encourage thinking from a new perspective. Martin developed a musical connection with sound at the very young age of thirteen, sitting outside drawing graphic scores, (which are a way to illustrate sound in the form of pictures or symbols), for sounds he heard, like bees or sprinklers, and wanted to use in compositions the same way one might use a flute, or piano. Martin recalls a whitewater rafting trip around this time, listening to the rushing current and river sounds that surrounded him as a point of breakthrough or deep sonic/spiritual awakening. Since then, sitting and listening to the sounds of rivers, particularly, is one of Martin’s favorite things to do, and he wants to share this passion during the two events he is offering for the Burnaby Festival of Learning. Both of the events that Martin presents encourage people to engage with music in unique ways using the local soundscape.

For the first event, the Burnaby Soundwalk, Martin invites participants to follow a map-guided Soundwalk around a planned route at Deer Lake Park. Soundwalks — an activity first devised by R. Murray Schafer and the World Soundscape Project members in the late 60s at SFU in Burnaby, but which has become known globally — offer participants the opportunity to connect with their environment using sound as the primary source of sensation, opening up a whole new perspective on the world around them. The conscious choice to tune in to the sound of the environment allows listeners to enjoy one of the most unique ( or rarely appreciated) and yet ubiquitous forms of music.

The second event, An Introduction to Audio Recording with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), will allow participants to engage with the sonic environment through audio recording. Martin believes audio recording is a skill that is becoming increasingly useful and applicable across disciplines.This event will demonstrate how to create and edit recordings on the DAW Reaper application using a Mac, Window, or Linux computer. Composition using recordings allow participants to engage with sounds in a new way and become architects of their own sonic environment.

Everyone has adjusted to COVID-19 pandemic way of life in their own ways and for Martin, not being able to engage musically with others in an acoustic environment has led him to re-explore the ways in which he initially became interested in sound. While applications like Zoom and Skype limit deep listening in favour of blunt verbal communication; Soundwalks, in contrast, can be a safe and restorative practice that allow people to reconnect with themselves, and their environment on a deeper level. Fatigue from living a large portion of our lives online can be a struggle for many during the pandemic. Martin hopes these events will encourage people to engage their creativity, and to actively experience the meditative and restorative elements of sound, the soundscape, and their place as a part of it.

Soundwalk 2

Burnaby Festival of Learning
Burnaby Soundwalk May 9, 2021 | 12:00pm-5:00pm
An Introduction to Audio Recording with DAW May 10, 2021 | 6:00pm-9:00pm
The 2021 festival has ended – thank you to everyone who was able to virtually attend.