The sounds of spring - music to tweet to
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Leading UK vocal sculptor and beatboxer Jason Singh has vocally recreated the nation’s best-known songbirds to celebrate the sounds of spring and encourage us all to get outdoors and experience nature first hand.
We commissioned the album Tweet Music after academic research found that listening to birdsong, one of our 50 things to do before you’re 11¾, not only makes us calmer but boosts positivity. Apparently, three quarters of us feel more connected to nature in spring, while the sounds of spring bring back happy memories of childhood for many.
Inspiration from the outdoors
Jason visited several places for inspiration before creating the album, which features birds and wildlife including blackbirds, robins, woodpeckers, crows, skylarks, owls, warblers, buzzards, frogs and crickets.
‘I love the magic of spring, particularly at Tatton Park, which I’ve been going to for years,’ explains Jason ‘ When the silence of winter comes to an end, you can feel a real sense of change as the parkland erupts with noise, bursts of colour and new life. This is what makes spring so special for me and it’s this that I really wanted to capture in this project.’
‘It was important to me that the bird calls and environments I recreated were as life like and authentic as possible,’ adds Jason. ‘It was great to work with the National Trust’s nature experts to better understand the flora and fauna of spring.’
A tonic for our stressful lives
Listeners are set to find our new soundtrack a soothing experience. A recent psychological study found that natural sounds have restorative qualities. Apparently the calls of songbirds and other sounds of nature help people recover much quicker from stressful scenarios compared with the noise of urban living.
‘It makes sense that people should find birdsong calming,’ says University of Surrey Environmental Psychology PhD student Eleanor Ratcliffe, who is working on an on-going study with us into the psychological impact of birdsong in people’s lives. ‘Songbirds tend to sing when it’s safe, and it makes evolutionary sense that we should feel calmer in a safe natural environment.’
‘With 45.7 million of us now living in cities, we wanted to produce a unique piece of music that would bring the wonderful sounds of spring to everyone – no matter where they are,’ adds Matthew Oates, our wildlife and nature expert, ‘By developing this in a quirky, creative way, we hope our album of tweet music inspires families and kids to have fun in the outdoors this spring and enjoy all the benefits that the sounds of nature can bring.’
What you told us
We wanted to find out what you thought about the sounds of spring. In a poll of 2,000 people, we found nearly half of city dwellers often feel ‘starved’ of nature, with almost one in five rarely hearing birdsong and some people living in cities regularly being woken up by the noise of cars or planes.
Over a third of people asked had noticed a decline in the variety of birds seen in their area, with continued building on Britain’s green spaces a major worry for the majority of people questioned.
The nation’s top ten spring sounds
Here are the top ten sounds of spring as voted by the nation and the top places we look after to experience them. So bring along the family and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with us.
- Birds singing - Chiffchaffs can be heard chirping within the varied woodland habitat of Sheringham Park in Norfolk.
- An early morning ‘dawn chorus’ of birds - Listen to a spectacular dawn chorus of birds in springtime at Mottisfont Abbey.
- Tinkling stream -. The peaks and valleys of Sugar Loaf & Usk Valley in Wales are a prime place to hear tinkling streams and spot swooping birds of prey.
- A babbling brook - Come to Hardcastle Crags to listen to the soothing sounds of babbling brooks and the tweets of baby birds. Be sure to tackle some of the site’s nature trails in April
- April showers - Head to Tatton Park for misty spring mornings and listening out for the pitter patter of April showers.
- Lambs bleating - Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire is a beautiful spot to listen to the sounds of baby lambs bleating.
- Bees buzzing - The colourful spring blooms and greenery at Biddulph Grange Garden make this spot the place to hear honeybees at work.
- Wind rustling in the trees - Robins, rooks, blackbirds and more, take a sensory walk through the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald at Batemans.
- Lawnmowers cutting grass for the first time this year - Home to the great tit and song thrush and acres of beautifully managed lawn, Polesden Lacey is in the rolling Surrey Hills just outside the M25.
- Baby chicks chirping - Wonderful walks can be had in the Quantock Hills, Somerset, with incredible views of valley woodlands and hilltops. Listen out for the beautiful skylark here.