Projects in Sound Art

Catalog Description (Cooper Union FA 281)

This class will introduce strategies for understanding and participating in the aural world. The course is divided into specific weekly topics including acoustic ecology, circuit-bending, radio transmission, and others. Screenings, readings, and discussion are supported by hands-on workshops in capturing, manipulating, and reproducing sound in unconventional ways. Grading is based on student projects and participation in class discussions. Syllabus is available in advance at Attendance at first class session is important.

Related Courses: For hands-on sound production for film/video, including Pro Tools editing software, take FA381 “Digital Sound Design Workshop” (Jacob Burckhardt).

Readings & Discussion

  • Discussion makes up a significant part of this class. If most students aren’t reading, I will assign weekly response-papers or quizzes. (This has happened in the past!)


  • 20% Reading and Discussion
    You need to participate in the discussion every week to get a good grade. If you are silent, you can’t get better than a B in this class.
  • 20% Exercises
    These are 2 quick techniques assignments with very rigid guidelines. I may ask you to repeat one until you have mastered the skill.
  • 60% Projects
    The first project is your participation in a class performance. Two self-directed projects follow later in the semester. I give A’s for manifest investment in concept and technique, willingness to take risks, originality, and honesty. To avoid last-minute disasters the second project is due long before the end of the semester.

Mobile Phones

  • No answering calls or texting. No little glowing screens, period!


  • If you miss a class, you need to get notes from another student.
  • If you miss more than 2 classes, your grade automatically drops one letter-grade.
  • If you miss more than 3 classes, you may be asked to withdraw from the course.

Late Work

  • Late work will always be downgraded (usually one letter grade). Contact me before it’s due.

Online Syllabus & Email List

  • The class syllabus is online at You are responsible for checking it each week. (My site also includes some free software tools that might come in handy during the semester.)
  • After the 2nd class, you will be added to the class email list. Please check your email often. (The list is “broadcast” style, not “discussion” style: my messages go to the whole class but your messages go only to me. I’ll gladly forward any announcements that you provide.)