One of my favorite collaborations was with the American composer Libby Larsen, The Science Museum of Minnesota, The Minnesota Orchestra, and students from four different public schools. We worked with students to identify how they heard sound and came up with three categories for our piece: quiet, beauty, and din.
We gave students tape recorders and asked them to record sounds in each of these categories. Quiet and din were easy, but beauty was trickier. What is the sound of beauty? Libby and I listened to all of these tapes and I recall the beauty ones the strongest: a baby sister talking, the wind whispering gently in trees, pages of a book turning.
With these ideas, I wrote text and Libby wrote music and then we revised and revised until the piece was premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra with students participating with their sounds.
Here's a link for sounds and pictures:
Working with Libby was exciting and engaging and I became much more aware of sound. I wrote the sound picture book, Vroomaloom Zoom, because of this and include more sounds in all of my work now. Thanks to Libby and thanks to collaboration.