The Lydians in the Science Classroom

A Brandeis outdoor class

A Brandeis outdoor class

The Lyds are excited to collaborate with the students of Brandeis Professor Dan. L Perlman’s Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges (ENVS 2a) class.  The goals of this class that resonate with the quartet include 

  • deepening our knowledge of climate change

  • learning about the impacts that the growing human population and our increasing use of resources have on nature

  • the depth and breadth of human dependence on nature

  • the importance of finding beauty and taking joy in the natural world

  • learning to identify and appreciate other organisms that share our spaces

 As part of the class experience, students will participate in the Place in the Woods Project (PITW).  Each student finds their own place in the woods and visits it for an hour, every 7-10 days, observing what changes, and sharing those observations.  Observations are visual and aural – looking and listening – for what/who lives in that place, and for the changes that take place over time.  

 The quartet primarily works with sound.  We believe sound contains knowledge, and can convey ideas.  As we collaborate with students in this class as part of the PITW Project, we would love to ask these questions with the students: What can we hear that we cannot see?  Can we begin to identify the voices we hear? What are the layers of sound that make up the soundscape of a place?  Do we notice the sounds the trees make, the wind, rain, insects, birds, other animals? What changes take place from week to week, and why?  What new sounds enter the aural space, and to what extent do human-created sounds interact with sounds of the natural world? 

Participating students will record the sounds in their place as part of the observation process.   These sounds will be laced together to create a single soundscape, to be played in the concert hall before the Lydian’s special environmental program Seeking All That’s Unsung on April 25, at Brandeis University.  This pre-concert experience brings the outside-in; as we listen to the natural world in the presentational context of a concert hall, we ask our audience to listen deeply, and to experience the natural world as foreground.  

In the course of the semester, we have invited composition students to use these recordings as resources for new compositions dedicated to more positive relationships between humans and the earth, our only home.

We look forward to this collaboration with the students and the world around us!