Online Teaching Resources in Sound

This is a developing page that is focused on sound resources rather than general online teaching. Please contact us via the feedback page if you have material to add.

This google doc is an evolving list of online teaching resources in many areas of AV. It has a lot of available trainings. Link Sound Design Live has also come up with a list of “Best Free and Paid Online Training Webinars, Courses, and Certifications for Live Sound Engineers“.

Useful training applications:

  • Aux B used for visualizing and training on signal flow. Link.
  • SoundGym is for ear training and can be set-up to do online class tracking. Link. Jason Romney at UNCSA is an accomplished user and would be happy to answer questions.
  • Harman’s How to Listen is an application developed for critical listening training. Link.
  • From Seth Crow, “Here is another thing that I find wonderful if you need students to learn about the basics of sound (amplitude, frequency, timbre, envelope, wave types etc. ) that is free (for now) cross-platform, and all you need is the Chrome browser to run it: https://learningsynths.ableton.com
  • The Jazz Bands at my school are doing online studio recording for the rest of the semester around SoundTrap. Our Jazz professor is super excited about this as a solution. So to share his enthusiasm here is a tool that might be useful for keeping collaboration as part of the curriculum: https://www.soundtrap.com/.

Online Texts/video resources:

  • The Association of Sound Designers in the UK has released several of their members only training videos to the public here.
  • Video Lectures by Jason Romney on YouTube.
  • Digital Sound & Music online textbook with activities.
  • John Huntington has made the video’s that go with his text book available online (and his text is on Amazon): Control Geek

Specific video resources shared with our community:

Various ideas that have been shared:

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Compose with Field Recordings, Kill Your Babies, Adapt to Text

This is a two-part assignment that begins with field recording and ends with adapting musical material to recorded text. It asks students to engage in active listening, record environmental sound, and shape found material into original compositions using a DAW. Next, (with help from their peers) they find or create text that appropriately responds to the composition, apply acquired microphone techniques to record it, and then merge the recorded text with reconfigured versions of their original compositions. In the end they must successfully adapt (or remix) their original composition (which was initially a self-contained musical assignment) to fit and support the text. This gives students an opportunity to compose something wholly their own out of found sound, then teaches them to avoid being too precious about their initial ideas and shows them the many possibilities that found sound can offer when approached creatively. It also gets them thinking like a theatrical sound designer who is almost always tasked with supporting spoken text, and like all designers, needs to exhibit flexibility, creativity, and a responsiveness to elements outside of their control (a narrative, actors, a director’s vision, the ideas of other designers, etc). The project can be adapted in many ways to fit the needs of different instructors.
This assignment is good for building critical listening skills, thinking creatively about environmental sound as musical material, adapting sound/music to fit spoken text, and learning basic DAW skills. I find Ableton Live to be an ideal DAW for this assignment but any sound editing software (including the free program Audacity) could be used.

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Creating Sounds from Scratch – Syllabus

Creating your own sounds rather than relying on tired sound effect libraries can give your designs a unique aural vocabulary.  This course will provide a thorough introduction to the creation and manipulation of synthesized and sampled sounds.  We will use a series of software packages to build, analyze, and modify digital audio to create sounds that can feel realistic and/or fantastic. 

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Curb Cafe

Major lab project for Sound Reinforcement students through which they gain hands on experience in all aspects of audio production for a small cabaret performance. This includes advancing the show, working as A1 and as A2. The lab is evaluated by a staff production manager and ultimately by the class professor. Read More

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Creating Rich Story Supporting Ambiances

Students will be given prompts describing a background environment and at least 3 foreground sounds. They will then be tasked with creating the environment and foreground sounds using three different techniques: 1) All field-recording based; 2) All synthesized; 3) All “Foley” (in-studio effects recording)-based. Students will explore different techniques for establishing a scene and telling narrative stories through sound by being tasked with generating three distinct versions that all represent their prompt.

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Mastering Tools: Sculpture

Students create a 1:00 to 1:30 minute sound composition using only the synthesizer Sculpture. This forces them to develop at least some expertise with a synthesizer and the assignment is designed to require them to delve fairly deeply into its operation. The assignment is also designed to require them to create movement using non-tonal, or at least non-note methods.

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Creating Ghosts

Students create soundscapes for three different ghosts. These soundscapes should be haunting in specific ways that relate to the cultural and personal history of the Ghost. Each of the three Ghosts must be distinctive and each haunting soundscape needs to draw us through a moment, they should not be static atmospheres but should tell a story.

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