Anybody feel like they need to relax? Maybe try the All the Relaxation assignment! This assignment asks you to create your own relaxation track, like the ones on YouTube that can be played for 10+ hours by combining any and all sounds that are soothing and calming to you. I really enjoy videos/audios like that because I use them when I’m doing homework or writing papers. I even used them during meditation sometimes when I was in my mindfulness class. I was really excited about this assignment, but I can’t say that I’m super happy with the outcome. Here’s what I ended up with after working on it for a long time:

It’s a bit of a mess and that’s a little frustrating!!! I worked on it for so long and it still came out gross, but I think that components of it are interesting. Before I talk about the process, I wanted to share my inspiration I used while I was working on it. This video is probably my favorite relaxation track ever. I used it all the time when I was doing homework at school, and now I can’t listen to it while I work anymore because I know it too well and it distracts me because I try to sing along lol! The “ethereal voices” don’t come in until like 7:30ish but that’s where I drew my inspiration for the audio I made of myself humming. Take a listen to this, y’all!!!!

Okay, beautiful, right??? This next audio is composed by Eric Whitacre, who is super famous in the choral world. This particular piece was really great for me when I was meditating, but all of his music is breathtakingly beautiful. I’m listening to it as I type! Anyways, these kinds of chorally, sweepy, moving voice parts are really intriguing and gorgeous to me, so I hope that helps you guys see where I was coming from when I made my track.

Now that you guys have heard my own work and the work that moved me to create it, I can tell you how I did it. So, I went to the BBC site again to look through sound effects. I was trying to think of sounds that relax me, but I was also trying to figure out sounds that would allow me to incorporate singing into them. I chose an ocean shore sound as my base because I love the beach and I could listen to waves all day long. I was really struggling with what to do next, but somehow I ended up listening to bells. I found the ones that I used in my track and thought they were so pretty because there were overtones and it was a very steady pulse of sound. I added that one to the sound mixer and then I spent a lot of time listening for the tones and humming along with the track. After I did that for a while, I went to Voice Memos on my iPhone to actually record myself humming different pitches and parts. I recorded about seven or eight different variations of the same notes.

I took all of those recordings and imported them into Soundtrap. Then I spent way too long moving the parts around, cropping them, fading them in and out, and copying them to layer over each other. It was a very tedious process that I was not very familiar with. I eventually got somewhat happy with the vocal track to I exported that as an mp3 file and put it in Audacity. I added the ocean sound and the bells audio to the Audacity too. At this point, I had been working for what felt like forever and I was very very tired. I tried to edit the Audacity track some by adjusting volume and fading the sounds in and out before I exported it as an mp3 file and uploaded it to Soundcloud.

At the end of the day, I’m proud of the work I put into it because it was outside of my comfort zone, even if it didn’t end up sounding super relaxing. I think that if I were musically inclined, I could’ve written a more cohesive vocal track to layer with the sounds, but I was just doing the best I could haha. This was an interesting project for me to work on because I feel so connected to voices and my inspiration audios are so beautiful. I got a little glimpse into how hard it is to create such a perfect balance of voices, music, and other sounds to accomplish a true relaxation track. It’s so hard!

— RM

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