Listen Up!


Age group: A Level, Further Education and Higher Education

Available: Monday – Friday

Length: 2 hours. Please allow more time after your workshop to explore the galleries and public spaces

Group size: minimum 10

Due to refurbishment work in the Treasures gallery, this workshop will be unavailable from 17 February until 7 March 2014.

Subjects and Key Skills

Music and Art

Listen Up!

What is sound? How can we describe it? When does sound become speech or music?

Listen Up! is a participatory workshop that focuses on our auditory environment and explores new ways of understanding music and sound. During the session, participants will hear a range of fascinating recordings from the British Library Sound Archive, which reflect the diversity of our sonic world. Learn more about the ways in which sound and music are classified.

During the workshop, participants will:

  • develop listening and interpretation skills
  • explore material from the British Library Sound Archive
  • discuss the shared characteristics of sound and music
  • engage with live sound to develop musical ideas and compose a graphical score

Please note that this session does not involve a visit to the British Library Sound Archive.

Sounds Familiar?

In addition to your workshop, you can book an hour-long talk with Jonathan Robinson, our leading expert in English accents and dialects. Jonathan will introduce ways of analysing spoken English, focusing on the dual aspects of language change and language variation. Jonathan will also introduce groups to Sounds Familiar?, a site which captures and celebrates the diversity of spoken English in the second half of the twentieth century.

Post-visit activities

During the workshop, participants will be given the opportunity to create a graphic score. This score could be recorded at school/college/university and then given to the Sound Archive to become part of the collection.

Investigate Sounds Familiar? – a site which captures and celebrates the diversity of spoken English in the second half of the twentieth century.

Explore British Library Sound Archive collections, which includes music, drama, oral history, sound effects and wildlife sounds.

Ready to book?

Watch a short video about your visit to the British Library   How to book