A Sound Approach
The purposeful use of music

© 2001 by Lou Fournier and Lynell Burmark. All rights strictly reserved.


The universe is one vast orchestra. We are its instruments.

This is the powerful premise that starts this dynamic and engaging presentation: while songs and symphonies are inventions of man, music arises out of nature. Music is the human interpretation of what we hear all around us. No one put it more poetically than Ambrose Bierce, who wrote, "Music is love in search of a word."

But what does this have to do with learning and the practical urgencies of daily life? In fact, it turns out that music, particularly when we examine its psychoacoustic properties, has enormous impact on our lives, our bodies, and how we learn.

Sound can shatter glass. And it wasn't the wind that took down "Galloping Gertie," the Tacoma Narrows bridge, in that famous 1940 incident; it was sound created by the wind, hitting the bridge's resonant frequency of about 15 hertz so strongly that the bridge collapsed into the waters below. Think about that for a moment, as you now consider that when sound enters the human ear, it is immediately carried by the 10th cranial nerve to every organ in the body except the spleen. Don't think for a moment that sound -- in particular music, the most common form of sound we listen to by choice -- doesn't affect us.

But music's effect is far more than merely physiological. Its psychological impact is no less significant. Are we inadvertently using music as sonic Valium, as psychoacoustician Joshua Leeds puts it, by overemphasizing lower frequencies in music, at the cost of the higher ones that most efficiently charge the neocortex of the brain? Are we using music in the classroom that shortchanges the learning benefit to our students because we believe we're making the right cultural choice? It happens all too often.

In this practical seminar, you come to understand the psychoacoustic principles of sound and music (without getting overly technical) in a way that lets you use them to optimal advantage. You experience the "colors" of music and how they relate to specific emotional moods. You discover how certain musical tones instantly suggest certain images; you see the potential for magic as students make the connection between visuals and music in classroom multimedia presentations.

You learn how music played at different speeds affects the brain differently, and how you can make that work to your students' advantage. You experience the impact of various speeds of music and learn to conduct this same "experiment" with your students.

You learn how students can use music effectively in combination with other "intelligences" (as defined by Howard Gardner) to create powerful multimedia presentations for class projects. You find out where to get music files and other resources for these projects, or how to quickly and easily create your own (with legal safety).

Even if you can't play a note (or carry a tune in a bucket), you can tap the power, the joy, and the beauty of music to create an environment conducive to the flowering of every learner. Come discover the right music (plus resources, tools and strategies) to tune up learning. Come, listen to the music... We're playing your song!

Presentation type... keynote, breakout session or workshop
Audience................ all
Duration................. 45 to 90 minutes - 3 to 7 hours for workshop
Handouts................ no

Mr. Fournier will gladly tailor any presentation to your specific needs.