Yellow-rumped Warbler by Lisa Rainsong
The Music of Birdsong: Sorting Out the Singers in the Chorus
This is a general birdsong program that is excellent for a wide range of programs. It includes my own field recordings with almost every slide, and many recordings are accompanied by sonograms so that people can see the rhythmic and pitch patterns. The program is an hour in length, which includes time for questions at the end.
Learning bird songs can feel a little overwhelming at times, especially when it seems that everyone is singing at once! Bird song is music, and the techniques used in ear training and music appreciation classes can provide valuable tools for identification of birds and their repertoire.
Learning bird songs can feel a little overwhelming at times, especially when it seems that everyone is singing at once! Bird song is music, and the techniques used in ear training and music appreciation classes can provide valuable tools for identification of birds and their repertoire. We’ll also notice that not all birds sing from the same stages and they also sing in different ensembles. Then the real fun begins: learning the meanings of those songs and observing interactions in the avian musical drama, and sharing the musical stories with others.
Lisa Rainsong holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music and is a member of CIM’s music theory faculty. A soprano as well as a teacher and composer, she sings with the professional early music ensemble Quire Cleveland. Lisa also earned a Naturalist Certificate from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where her study focused on field experience. She now teaches classes on bird song, insect song, and amphibian song throughout Ohio. She also does field recording of bird songs and insect songs and conducts surveys of “singing insects” - crickets and katydids – at parks and preserves throughout NE Ohio.
Her recording, photos, and stories from the field can be found on her blog, "Listening in Nature," at listeninginnature.blogspot.com.
Birdsong for Beginners: learning to identify the birdsongs around us
This program focuses on learning how to listen and focuses on the most common backyard birds, their songs, and their behavior.
Many people want to learn the songs of the birds around them but believe they don’t have a good enough “ear?” What’s often needed is a musical approach to the singers and their songs. This program will demonstrate how and where to begin, including musical elements, habitat, and time of year. Sonograms – the visual representation of the actual bird song recordings – will be included with audio recordings to
show participants how reading the musical “score” of a bird’s song will aid memory
Singing Winter into Spring: bird songs as the snow thaws
I very much enjoy doing late winter/early spring birdsong programs, People are ready for signs
of spring, and it's much easier to begin learning birdsong when only the year-round residents
Have you ever noticed that the first spring bird songs begin as early as late January? By March, our resident birds are already claiming their territories and advertising for mates. These birds also provide very useful examples of the musical language that helps us remember their songs and those of the summer residents who will follow. Cleveland Institute of Music professor Dr. Lisa Rainsong will share her field recordings and photos of our singers while explaining how to listen and learn their songs.
The Chorus Returns to the Stage: birdsong and amphibian song in March
This program is perfect for March, as it combines early spring birdsong with the first frog song choruses. For many people, it's the Red-winged Blackbirds and Spring Peepers who truly announce the coming of spring.
The music of March has displaced the quiet of winter! Our resident birds have already been singing for weeks, and our hardiest spring migrants have recently joined them. Frogs are singing day and night in vernal pools and marshes. Triumphant and urgent, the early spring choruses can be the most engaging of the entire year. Cleveland Institute of Music professor Dr. Lisa Rainsong will share her field recordings and photos of our singers while explaining how to listen and learn their songs.
Singing Their Way North: songs of a transitional season
This is an interesting mid-April program that focuses on earlier migrants and birds that return before the rush of early May. Who we hear depends on the weather in an given spring, and I customize this program
for the year and location whenever I present it.
Mid-April is always an interesting time of transition for listening to birds and observing their behavior. Winter residents are beginning to leave, singing their spring songs as they prepare to depart. Migrants from farther south will be singing as they pass through our area. The first of our summer residents begin to appear, and our year-round residents are already nesting and defending their territories. There’s still a little time before the large influx of species that occurs from the last week of April through the first two or three weeks of May, so we can welcome the travelers while still having enough sonic space to hear individual birdsongs.
Home for the Summer: our summer resident songbirds
Late May through much of June is a good time to study bird behavior and learn about birds' habitats as well as their songs. The birdsong ensembles are different as we move from one habitat to the next.
Once the peak of spring migration has passed, it’s time to listen to the Neotropical migrant songbirds that spend their summers with us. Males continue to sing during nesting season, and our year-round residents will still be singing as well. Learn which birds are summer residents and how to identify their songs, habitats, and the ways in which they communicate.
Music in the Meadow: the bird songs of a magical habitat
This program demonstrates how different habitats can have unique birdsong ensembles. A meadow in late May and June is a beautiful and rewarding place to spend time, and any listener will quickly learn why each concert hall must be protected for the music to continue.
The final act of our bird song concert takes us to grassland and meadow areas with visits to edge habitats along the way. You’ll learn why a meadow doesn’t sound like a forest. A specific set of birds lives – and sings – in these special concert halls, and the music is quite different. Members of the ensemble include Eastern Meadowlarks, Bobolinks, Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows and more.