The Sonic Microscope

From an emerging project with University of Glasgow as part of the Mental Health & Wellbeing Catalyst.

The notion of ‘flow state’ is well-documented. It is that state when a person becomes so immersed in an activity that negative experiences such as anxiety and stress are significantly reduced or even removed. This is the primary focus of this project in order to support and develop this experience through immersion in sound. Importantly, sounds that are controlled by the person themselves. It is an opportunity to engage (without specialist music knowledge or instrument playing skill) in meaningful creative and expressive control of sound.It is that state described as anachoreo (Greek) – to remove oneself from surroundings, to retreat but in an immersive way.

The whole process will involve the project participants in ‘deep listening’ (Pauline Oliveiros).

The project has 3 elements:

  1. Access to sound making equipment (largely electronic/modular synthesisers) for the those with Mental Health and Wellbeing differences and challenges. The equipment will be housed in a central hub (or hubs) but could be loaned to participants for the duration of their time in the project. Access to the project is likely to be by self-referral, family/community referral or referral as part of a larger initiative bringing referral options to GPs across Scotland.
  2. A resource bank of ‘how tos’, examples from musicians (including, over time, those within the project), sounds and music for project participants to improvise along with, videos of project activity and creative/expressive ideas and starting points.
  3. Live and recorded music by established musicians active in the field. Project participants will be invited to attend either in person or via a media link say, Zoom or live YouTube or Bandcamp broadcast.

Part of my input into the project musically will be to produce tracks that enable this sense of focus, of retreat and to perform them in an appropriate setting – an important part of this process. This is to enable project participants to experience flow state whilst listening

The Sonic Microscope- Slide 1
The Sonic Microscope – Slide 2
The Sonic Microscope – Slide 3