Sounds of an Animal

One day, students were invited to explore sounds visually, by drawing. They were invited to explore what they heard through drawing. Sound drawing explores the boundary space between sounds and drawing.  The dialogue between both art forms confronts experiences of time and space. Trace, gesture and sound patterns emerge in a process of multi-perceptual experience.   It is here that a drawing becomes a score, that a code triggers improvisation, that the rhythm of the body encounters the time of the clock, that the horizon of the eye merges with the track of the ear, and that the individual enters a shared experience.


The children began investigating animals one day as they were playing in the block area.   This led to us talking about the food chain.  They were debating what animals ate what.  We have studied movement in a past project and the children were asked to draw the movement of a butterfly, humming bird, eagle, etc.  This was challenging for the children to draw a symbol or shapes/scribbles to represent movement.  Many of them wanted to draw the actual animal. (If you, yourself try to think of how you could draw the movement of a butterfly with out drawing the animal, you can see how it takes a different thought process)


Sounds of an animal are usually interpreted orally but this provocation took that interpretation further, encouraging the children to think about the sound and communicate visually what they heard provided them with a new perspective on sounds and animals. This experience stimulated the children’s auditory perception, fortifying their cognitive process of recognition and interpretation. Through out the provocation the children not only heard the sounds of an animal, they listened to the sounds. Listening is an intellectual process in which one makes sense of what is being heard. This exploration demonstrated the children’s ability to recognize and interpret sound visually, emphasizing the role of imagery in our every day perception of sound.

“There is only one road to follow, that of analysis of the basic elements in order to arrive ultimately at an adequate graphic expression.”

-Wassily Kandinsky

References and additional reading:

Sound Journal

Auditory Perception






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