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What course would you teach?


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Everyone has knowledge and skills that aren't necessarily related to their job. If you could create a course (short or long!) and teach people something, what would you teach?

One way to think about it is this: Do your friends or family consider you an expert on anything? Do they come to you for advice about a particular subject?

Using this prompt, I'd probably teach a short course on cover letter and resume/CV writing or basic tips for understanding cat behavior and ensuring cat welfare. (I recently took the Animal Behavior and Welfare course and recommend it!)

Another way to think about it is this: What topic fascinates you most?

Using this prompt, I'd teach a short course on how human and animal well-being overlap in similar and different ways around the world. We'd study practical ways to make big and small decisions that improve well-being for both people and other animals.

What course would you teach?

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I would teach Music Education for Middle School age students, 11 - 14 years old. As a result of 40 years teaching, I have developed the most unique curriculum that would be fun to share. For example, a unit on found sound would teach students to explore sounds around us. We would record these results. A Staircase Symphony is an example. Have you ever listened to what it sounds like to run up and down steps? You can organize these into a musically rhythmic piece. Paper also makes excellent sounds. You can crunch it, rip it, flap it and even play it like a drum...organize this into a piece too. The best is a chewing piece. Try organizing the eating and chewing of celery, carrots, crackers, bubble gum, etc. You need to notate these in such a way that others can play them in the future.
I would also teach how to create podcasts , how to write story songs, and many other different topics that this age would be fascinated by.

I love cats and would definitely take Laura’s course on cat behavior!
What might you teach?
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After you teach a few of your Music Education courses for middle school students, I hope you will expand your course and offer it to adult learners! 🙂 I love the idea of found sound.

In a previous role, I worked with students to collect data with the National Parks Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. As stated on the Natural Sounds website, "Each national park has a unique soundscape. The natural and cultural sounds in parks awaken a sense of wonder that connects us to the qualities that define these special places."

A big learning for me was how important sound is for animal communication. For example, a lot of of human-made noise in a natural area can disrupt animals' ability to convey important information (like 'danger!') to each other.

Sound can also be felt – it does not need to be heard in the traditional sense. Are you familiar with John McDevitt? The BBC just did a profile on him: "'I am a DJ who just happens to be deaf'."
@Laura , people often don't give sounds enough credit! I once read something that was incredible...how if we live in an environment of clashing sounds it will negatively effect us. They did studies to prove this in an office environment. They wondered why for some reason one office had happier and more productive people than another. In the harmonious office, they discovered that the people were surrounded by harmonious sounds. For example, the heat made a certain sound, so did the copy machine, the computer hum, etc. Things you don't realize make a sound, often make a subtle one worth paying attention to. If all the sounds in an environment blend well, then people feel more balanced...but if there are clashing tones, for some reason, people become annoyed, less patient and tire more easily. The same for your home. It made me realize that what we think is just the boiler going on actually has a pitch to it!

What a beautiful photo of the night sky! We had visited Death Valley to watch the skies. People always connect a visual to places, but I always collect its sounds. Places also have varying tempos. The city is so rhythmic whereas many rural areas are so lyrical. Speaking of natural sounds, when my son was younger, he would spend hours sitting outside with a small recorder( instrument, not the machine) playing along with the night crickets, katydids and other night birds that lived there.

Animals are amazing! Their means of communication are so much greater than we know, but we need to respect their environment, you are so right! And yes, I am familiar with McDevitt. I want to say amazing, but it means we have so much to learn about sound!
Finally, I would love to have you in my class! LOL!

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