I have been teaching courses about music and politics since 2011, firstly as a part-time instructor replacing a faculty member during her research leave and later at a different institution as a faculty member myself. This piece considers some of the constraints and opportunities that sound introduces into the process of learning and teaching. The object of study in these modules, music, originally consisted of sound, but in study and assessment the balance between hearing sound (let alone producing sound) and reading and writing about sound favors the written rather than the aural. The scarcity of recorded music for certain topics, the length of time needed to play sound during teaching or assessment sessions, and the difficulties of lyrics that require translation are three obstacles to greater incorporation of sound. The essay concludes by discussing the voice in the classroom, unplanned disruptive sounds, and the significance sound might have in emotional learning.

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