Fall 2020 - EDUC 469 E100

Music Education as Thinking in Sound (4)

Class Number: 5125

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units.



Understanding the language of music, both historical and contemporary, and use of electronic and acoustic instruments in the general music classroom.


This course will be delivered remotely.  While there are some asynchronous elements, lectures will be synchronous.  Students are expected to be online and available during scheduled class hours.

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”
   ~ Plato (The Republic)

“I don’t care much about music. What I like is sounds.”
   ~ Dizzy Gillespie

Music and the process/activity of musicking presents us with a powerful and ancient way of being, doing and thinking. The basic premise of this course is that musical ‘ways of being, doing, and thinking’ are relevant to the work of educators generally (not only music teachers) and offer us different ways of practicing and theorizing education. Accordingly, this class explores music from various vantages and perspectives: the personal (our own personal experiences and histories with music), the symbolic (the socio-cultural and historical), the physical (the neuro-biological or sensory-cognitive), the evolutionary (what music has been in human evolutionary history); the ecological (the role/function of sounds and proto-musical signification throughout the more than human world).

Special emphasis is placed on how music and engagement in different musical practices (e.g. improvisation, sound-scaping, chanting, dance, etc.) reveal important ways of “being in-” and “understanding” the world, relevant to the work of teachers, researchers and artists alike. Thus, this course, through both project work and hands-on musical activities, provides opportunities for students to explore their own ‘reverberations’ and ‘resonances’ with different music and musical ideas, toward the ends of deepening our collective understandings of both music, and music education.

This is not a performance course. As such, it is intended for any student who has a general or specific interest in the musical arts. In no way is it required or necessary to be able to play an instrument or read musical notation.


  • Amplify your definition of music and sound considering diverse traditions, discourses, and social locations;
  • Articulate the relations between sound, music, place, and lived experiences;
  • Reflect on the impact of music and musical experiences in our daily lives;
  • Analyze musical content in relation to historical and social issues;
  • Explore educational, sociological, psychological, biological and ecological perspectives in music.


  • Listening/reading logs 20%
  • Music in the world Project:
  • - Class presentation 10%
  • - Final paper/project 30%
  • Group musical improvisation 10%
  • Musicians on musicking, group presentation 15%
  • Participation 15%



The materials for EDUC 469 consist of the following:

A Canvas site containing the course introduction, links to online reading selections and the online discussion area, and details about each assignment.


There are no formal texts to buy for this course, though we will have readings and listenings to guide our explorations (to be posted to Canvas site). Any other texts will be drawn from materials we can access online through the SFU Online Library service, or through other open sources.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).