About this minute

St Abbs Sonic Postcard
Children from Coldingham and Eyemouth primary schools
Pippa Murphy
Sound and Music
Collection 1 , International Women's Day 2022 , IWD 2020
Related resource guides
Compositions, Field Recordings , Birds , Birds , Calls , Coastal , Natural World , Natural world , Pebbles , Rocks , Schools and Childhood , Seas & Oceans , Timbre , Village Life

Collection 1 #12

You heard part of a ‘Sonic Postcard’ made by children at Coldingham and Eyemouth Primary Schools in Scotland.

A ‘Sonic Postcard’ is like a picture postcard of a place, but made from sounds! The children thought about the sounds that are special to the place where they live. They learned how to make recordings of these sounds and then edited them together. The piece you heard was made by the class from the recordings they made. The sonic postcard is meant to give other people an idea of a place through the way it sounds.

The two schools are in the countryside by the sea, near a place called St Abbs Head in Scotland.

In May and June every year, thousands of birds come to make their nests and lay their eggs on the cliffs at St Abbs. These include birds called kittiwakes, guillemots, fulmars, razorbills and herring gulls. All these birds have calls which sound very different. The children went on a trip to the cliffs and beach to make some recordings. Which sounds do you think came from their trip?

When they came back to the classroom, the children tried to re-create some of the sounds they heard using their voices and objects in the classroom. Could you recognise which sounds were made in the classroom?

The high-pitched squeak you heard was meant to sound like a bird call, but was in fact made by a pen on a whiteboard! Did you guess that it was not a natural sound?

The children put their recordings together to make a ‘soundscape’. A soundscape is like a picture of a landscape, but made with layers of sounds. Can you imagine what St Abbs looks like from listening to the Sonic Postcard? Try thinking about the place where you live. What sounds do you hear there? What sounds would you describe to someone who has never been there before?

Find out how to make your own Sonic Postcard. There’s lots of information and ideas on how to make your own sonic postcard in the Sonic Postcards teachers’ pack.