Whip birds, classical music practise, children’s chatter and the teaching of the times tables are all captured in a new soundscape of campus life at Matthew Flinders Anglican College on the Sunshine Coast.
The two-minute audio recording titled, ‘Sounds of Flinders’, was initiated by College counsellor Marilyn Embelton, who has a vision impairment, and co-created by Year 9 student Charlie McMahon.
Marilyn was inspired to create the soundscape as a unique celebration of her daily life over the almost 20 years she has worked at Flinders, where she uses all her senses to help her see and interact with the world around her.
The soundscape shares the serenity and also the hustle and bustle of everyday life at the College, which is a 22-hectare rainforest-fringed campus of 1300 students from Prep - Year 12.
A soundscape is a powerful tool that helps people relate to their surroundings using only sound as the communication channel with the aim to relay meaning, emotion, memory and facts through language, music and field recordings.
“Hearing is essential to my everyday life and I appreciate sounds that allow me to navigate and enjoy my surroundings,” Marilyn said.
“Our Flinders environment is so rich in sounds of nature and everyday College life; I have worked here for 19 years and have always wanted to make a sound recording of it,” she said.
“People who listen to this recording will perhaps learn of another dimension to our College besides seeing and experiencing the beautiful surroundings and the academic, co-curricular and pastoral opportunities offered at Flinders.
“They may be entranced that whip birds can be heard on campus and make their homes in our forest, and that College life includes the simple beauty of children's laughter and engagement in life each day.
“They may stop to truly listen to what they hear, and appreciate its beauty and vibrancy.
“I also hope listeners become aware of how others may engage in our community, and how in this case the asset of disability has helped to promote ability.”
Marilyn enjoyed working with Charlie who was keen to volunteer his spare time to help record and create the soundscape.
“Charlie brought some great ideas to the Sounds of Flinders project and eagerly set about capturing the unique sounds of Flinders,” Marilyn said.
“It has been wonderful to give a student at our College the opportunity to explore their creativity and design in a unique and unstructured way.
“I look forward to seeing this project evolve over the years as more students become involved and contribute their creativity, innovation and insight into sharing new sounds of Flinders.”
Charlie said “When Mrs Embleton shared her idea about recording the Sounds of Flinders, I was instantly intrigued and excited to be part of the project”.
“I really enjoyed producing the digital compilation of over 50 audio files with the idea to tell a story of life at our College,” he said.
The sounds were captured with Smartphones last year during the spring holidays and in Term 4, and then edited and mixed using audio software to create the recording.
Please click on the audio file below to hear the Sounds of Flinders soundscape.
For more information about Flinders, please visit the website at www.mfac.edu.au
Image caption: College Counsellor Marilyn Embelton and Flinders Year 9 student Charlie McMahon worked to create the Sounds of Flinders soundscape.