Contributed By: Luciana Orr
In a darkened room with console lights twinkling, producer Luciana Orr adds the final touches to her relaxation audio story for children.
So what does the wing flap of a flying horse sound like?
Luciana laughs, “Well a bit like a huge swan’s wings. “
I slowed down the sound sample to create an illusion of bigger, deeper sounding flaps.
There are lots of tricks you can do with sound, that’s why I find it so engaging.
In 2017 I created Learning Stories.com as a platform to showcase my audio stories for kids. These develop self-awareness and support children in realizing their inner power.
It was a life changing experience at thirty six to studying audio engineering. I was really surprised to find I was the only woman on the course.
Full time study left me pretty stretched for time. Creatively it was a breath of fresh air.
I had a flourishing career as a professional illustrator at the time, was running and producing arts workshops for clients like Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and teaching children’s art classes several afternoons a week.
This was also the year that I produced a body of work that would go into my first publication, Elevation – Christchurch Heritage Architecture Illustrated.
I’d just come back from twelve months of overseas travel and was invigorated by what I’d seen and learnt. I’d thought a lot about creating soundscapes as I was inspired greatly by the ‘1 Giant Leap’ multi-media project which I encountered in London.
1 Giant Leap is a CD, DVD compilation of world music in a documentary film, a celebration of unity and the diversity of humanity.
So I took my own leap of faith…
Creating soundscapes and foley is like magic.
Ideas form, emotions are evoked and listeners are carried on journeys of wonder and discovery.
You can imagine how much fun this could be when you start making stories for children.
When a friend told me her seven year old son was having trouble sleeping, I had an idea.
I’d spent years attended all sorts of developmental workshops, read about NLP and had adopted the mantra, what you focus on becomes powerful.
I practiced yoga and listened to guided meditations. I could see energy moving, following thoughts and actions. In my twenties I’d trained as a Reiki practitioner and delved into the world of healing through sound.
I’d worked creatively with children for many years and knew that when we are enjoying ourselves we pick up and remember things easily.
I decided to write an audio story about relaxation, about the breath and its connection to the body. I could help this little guy and loads of other children to use their breath to relax. It felt right.
Bedtime Relaxation a 20 minute guided audio story for children 4-12.
Listen to a sample HERE.
Stories are our heritage, our learning, what we pass down and what we create with.
I thought back to seven year old me, early on a Sunday morning, tiny transistor radio in hand, relaxing in bed listening to the children’s story hour.
One favourite went through all the instruments in an orchestra. I listen to it many times and I’m sure I can still pick a Piccolo or find a French horn because of it.
What if there had been stories which showed me how to calm down when things didn’t go my way or strengthened my self-confidence or helped find my strengths.
I aim to develop ideas like these into new learning stories.
Kids today are so caught up and overstimulated by apps, TV and digital devices that it’s even more important to create digital content that reminds them to stay connected to themselves, right here now.
Sirrka Fisk, UK yoga teacher and author of the popular children’s yoga book ‘Ommie’ tried it out herself!
“I listened to your relaxation story yesterday and was glued to the massage table I was lying on, too relaxed to get back up afterwards. And then after a while, when I did, I felt really rejuvenated. I truly love it! I’m looking forward to the next ones.”
Before I wrote Bedtime Relaxation I listened to a number of kid’s guided audio stories. I soon realised many of those stories, though done with good intention, didn’t fulfil their purpose.
Children are so open, malleable and trusting. They need kindness, clarity and encouragement.
It’s imperative to remember that when we are relaxed we enter a suggestive state.
When we dream for example, some pretty odd things can seem extremely normal.
I knew I had to write with care and attention. I use only positive language and tonal prompts that encourage and support the key ideas, remember to use your breath to relax, feeling safe and freedom.
Deeply relaxing soundscapes sit behind a gentle story which starts the child thinking about being in their body. I playfully introduce simple breath work which relaxes and engages the listener.
We journey through warm sunshine and grassy meadows to meet a magical creature and fly free, safe and relaxed.
It would be great to hear from anyone who is interested in sharing this story with their audience.
I’ve had conversations with Virgin International about including the story on in-flight entertainment.
I’m sure kids and parents on long haul flights would love it.
The next step is to find the right person at Air New Zealand to discuss this idea with. I’ve heard they’re quite a progressive company. It would be great to share this story with a bigger audience and contribute to creating a positive effect on young lives everywhere.
It can be played as a chill-out activity, as part of a bedtime routine, at home or whilst travelling and is perfect for raising mindful kids. Mindfulness encourages self-confidence, better decision making, kindness, calmness and personal empowerment.
Learning Stories are a wonderful way to assist children to learn to listen to their inner wisdom and access their own powers of focus, healing and creativity.
And if you are wondering what happened to the little boy, well it was some time before he found out what happened at the end of the story. He kept falling asleep!