This is a new series of activities about art paintings and sound effects.
In this activity students will explore sound effects and storytelling. They will compose a sound effect sequence from a picture stimulus and tell a story. They will have to find and select the sound effects on the internet, build up their own sequence and create their narrative and share it with the rest of the students who will have to guess which picture the sequence relates to and why.
Paintings and sound effects
Language level: Intermediate – Upper Intermediate
Learner type: Adults
Time: 60 minutes
Activity: Listening to sounds, narrating and writing stories
Language: 1) use of the simple past, 2) you might want to pre-teach some structures, such as :
It might be…
I think it is possible that…
Could it be …?
I believe it is..
Skills : The primary aim of this activity is to encourage students to use their imagination to build up a story with the use of sound and image.
Materials: Sound effects websites, art paintings/photos
Prepare a selection of pictures. In this case, it is : Matisse (Dance I), Edward Hopper (New York Movie) and David Hockney (My parents), Edward Hopper (Night Windows), Henri Rousseau (Luxemburg Gardens), Raph Steiner ( American Rural Baroque). Depending on the size of the class, of course, they could be more.
You can also suggest some sites with sound effects which the students can use, such as : https://www.freesound.org/browse/tags/sound-effects/ , http://www.flashkit.com/soundfx/ , http://www.freesfx.co.uk/ , etc.
Divide your students in pairs and give each of the pairs a painting or photo. Tell them that they have to come up with sound effects to fit the pictures. Using the painting as a point of reference, they need to build up a story around it. (Show them, for example, Edward Hopper’s ‘New York Movie’. They should come up with the sound of a movie playing, the opening of a cinema door, the sound of the velvet curtain, the walking of a person on a thick carpet, etc.) . Also, tell your students NOT to reveal their pictures to the other groups/pairs.
Allow each pair of students time to discuss a short narrative for their pictures. Tell them that they have to write down only the basic parts of their story and not all the details.
Let them explore ways of expressing it using sounds. Ask them to find the MP3 files of the sound effects on a relevant site.
After they have prepared their sound sequences, let the groups share them with the rest of the class. Now it’s also time to reveal all the paintings.
Ask the rest of the class to guess which picture each pair of students used. Encourage the other students to describe the elements that led them to this conclusion.
Now, ask them to explain the story that each sound-sequence think that it narrates.
Get the students to explore each other’s stories and decide who made the better sound adaptation
- Encourage students to research online more about the paintings or photos and the real story behind them (if there is one documented, but most of the times there is one and that’s why using paintings for this purpose is ideal, they can be a starting point for comparisons between the initial idea behind the painting and the story learners made up)
Ask the students, in the end, to write their stories in a more elaborate way.