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 this album of ‘Tweet Music’ after academic research found that listening to birdsong, one of our 50 things to do before you’re 11¾, not only makes people calmer but boosts positivity. Apparently, three quarters of you feel more connected to nature in spring, while the sounds of spring bring back happy memories of childhood for many of us.
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.
He explained, ‘I love the magic of spring, particularly at Tatton Park, which I’ve been going to for years. 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, so 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 call sounds of songbirds and other sounds of nature help people recover much quicker from stressful scenarios compared with the noise of urban living.
University of Surrey Environmental Psychology PhD student Eleanor Ratcliffe, who is working on an ongoing study with us into the psychological impact of birdsong in people’s lives added: ‘It makes sense that people should find birdsong calming. Songbirds tend to sing when it is safe, and it makes evolutionary sense that we should feel calmer in a safe natural environment.’
Matthew Oates, our wildlife and nature expert added, ‘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. 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 thought we’d find out what you think about the sounds of spring. So, in a poll of 2,000 people, we found nearly half of you living in cities often feel ‘starved’ of nature, with almost one in five rarely hearing birdsong and some city dwellers regularly being woken up by the noise of cars or planes.
Over a third of you have noticed a decline in the variety of birds you see in your area, with the 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 your top ten sounds of spring, and just to be really helpful we’ve highlighted some of the top places 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. This atmospheric 13th-century house has its very own spring sound experience for visitors too.
- 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 - From robins, rooks and blackbirds – 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.
Join in with our sound artist
We’re currently talking to Jason Singh about taking up residency later in the year as our sound artist – running ‘natural’ beatboxing workshops for children at his favourite place Tatton Park. Jason and the team of rangers will help kids to spot birds (no.44 on the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ list), but also show them how to use their own vocals to replicate the sounds they make.