I have taught sound and new media at the university level for five years now. During that time, I’ve developed seven new courses, taught large introductory lectures and small advanced studio classes, advised students on thesis projects, and led graduate seminars. This page collects my reflections and experiences as a teacher. It includes a teaching statement, teaching experience, subject areas, a list of courses with course evaluations and course websites, and a selection of student work. You can jump quickly between sections using the links below.
Teaching Statement - Teaching Experience - Teaching Areas - Courses - Student Work
I view teaching as an integral part of my creative practice and welcome the challenge of combining technical, aesthetic, and critical perspectives in the classroom. By developing open-ended learning environments where students actively and physically engage with ideas and techniques, I encourage them to make personal connections and develop their own creative trajectories. While each group of students and every classroom situation is different, there are a few elements that are consistent across my teaching.
I encourage active listening both as a tool for exploring the expressive possibilities of sound and as a lens for engaging with our environment. In teaching Sound, Media and Urban Space and Making Art in/with Communities, both advanced production courses, students choose different locations each week and spend 30 minutes just listening. We discuss our listening experiences in relation to weekly readings, and by the end of the semester students are trading listening sites, remapping their neighborhoods through sound, and exploring the city with their ears. By learning to listen actively, students become sensitized to the interplay of sound and space in a way that no lecture could convey, and many projects grow out of these active listening exercises.
Interesting discoveries happen around points of friction and when creating projects, I balance experimentation and free play with constraints that provide a challenge -- something to play with or push against. When confronting a problem, students push past their established tendencies and explore new, often exciting solutions. Carefully constructed constraints also provide common reference points during critique, encouraging discussion around creative processes and expressive solutions rather than simple binary feedback -- good / bad and the dreaded “cool”. As a course progresses, exercises become less constrained, but the focus on process remains and students bring these new compositional perspectives to the subject matter they wish to explore.
My courses engage with new technology and while our latest digital tools provide access to seemingly infinite potential, they can also overwhelm and distract from making meaningful work. I ask students to attend to the feedback loops between technologies and ideas and consider the ways in which the tools we employ affect the work we produce. Systems for Play and Future Lives are both courses that explicitly address relationships between technology and culture, exploring technology in experimental and “unproductive” ways that take seriously Donna Haraway’s warning that “our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”
I continually consider how power structures play out in my courses and am comfortable discussing art as part of current conversations about privilege, gender, race, class, and sexual orientation. Rather than teaching from a traditional canon or calling attention to systemic biases, I teach through pieces and ideas created by marginalized voices and attend to the ways that power and privilege play out in both the art and music worlds. I have been fortunate as both an artist and a teacher and believe it is my responsibility to work for those who do not have the same advantages.
Regardless of content or format—production seminar, performance ensemble, large lecture—I work to provide tools that enable students to continue their individual explorations beyond the confines of a class. I encourage students to take risks and try unfamiliar methods and, because I believe that these qualities are important not only in learning but in teaching as well, I look forward to continued experimentation and evolution within my own teaching practice.
University of Virginia (2015 - present)
As the Jefferson Teaching Resident in Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Virginia, I develop courses that explore sound in conjunction with other fields -- the visual arts, theater, and architecture, but also engineering, critical theory, and anthropology. I teach three courses per semester and have developed five new courses ranging from an introductory lecture class on music technology, to an upper-level course on audiovisual environments, to a small discussion/critique seminar for graduate students to receive considered feedback. In addition to teaching, I proposed, designed, and built the Wilson Maker Studio, an interdisciplinary maker space supporting humanities courses and DIY electronics and fabrication projects.
Brown University (2012 - 2015)
As a graduate student, I taught a large lecture course on the history and production of electronic music (Computers & Music), developed a class on composing musical systems (Systems for Play), and directed the Intermedia Ensemble. After I finished my degree, I was hired as the first artist-in-residence at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. As part of the residency, I created two large collaborative projects and taught a course each semester -- Future Lives in the Fall and Systems for Play (again) in the Spring.
Rhode Island School of Design (2011 - 2012)
In 2011-12, I taught in the Digital + Media Department at the Rhode Island School of Design, developing Sound, Media & Urban Space in the Fall, and advising on thesis projects in the Spring.
Bates College (2010 - 2011)
In 2010, I was invited to be a teaching associate at Bates College, leading a collaborative exquisite corpse project that connected students at Bates with Art students in Sendai, Japan. As part of the project, we spent 3 weeks working at the Sendai Mediatheque, where we performed concerts, lead workshops, and developed pieces with students.
Teaching Assistant (2006 - 2011)
2011 Narrative and Immersion | Department of Music, Brown University (Todd Winkler, Instructor) 2010 Real-Time Systems (Max/MSP) | Department of Music, Brown University (Joseph Rovan, Instructor) 2010 The Studio as a Compositional Tool | Dept. of Music, Brown University (Jim Moses, Instructor) 2009 Computers and Music | Department of Music, Brown University (Todd Winkler, Instructor) 2006 Music Theory and Counterpoint | New York University
- acoustic and electronic composition
- orchestration (specializing in experimental notation techniques)
- 20th century music theory
- Dada, Fluxus, Minimalism
- popular & experimental electronic genres (edm, ambient, electro-acoustic, noise, drone, etc).
Instrument and Interface Design
- design and construction of acoustic and electronic instruments
- embedded hardware (Bela.io and Pure Data)
- simple ic synthesizers (hex-schmitt)
- usb, midi, and serial interfaces (using arduino/teensy interfacing with Max/MSP)
Digital Media Theory & Practice
- interaction and interface theory
- speculative art practices (design fiction, science fiction, see future lives)
- systems theory / systems art
- digital/experimental game theory and practice
- electronic music historiography - privilege and appropriation in electronic music
Video, Animation and Audiovisual Composition
- experimental sound and image composition
- video production (camera, lighting, editing)
- sound for film
- animation (motion graphics, cel, stop-motion)
Sound Art & Acoustic Ecology
- physical computing (arduino, musical robotics)
- sound installation
- sound and urban space
- field recording
Programming for Sound & Image
- Max/MSP/Jitter & PD
- Arduino, Bela.io, Teensy
- web technologies (php, html, css, some js)
Below is a list of courses I have designed and taught, including short descriptions and years / institutions, with links to course websites and evaluations where available.
Designing New Musical Instruments
an advanced production course exploring sound & interaction using new embedded digital technologies
UVA 2017 | website
Systems for Play
Computers & Music / Technosonics
graduate seminar on composing within today’s rapidly changing technoculture
UVA 2015 | syllabus (pdf)
Making Art in/with Communities
a practice-driven course exploring the relationships between collective art-making and civic engagement.
UVA 2016 & 2017 | website
Electronic Arts & Crafts
DIY Ensemble / Mobile Interactive Computing Ensemble
an ensemble that makes live electronic music and intermedia using handmade instruments and technologies. UVA made a short video about this course.
UVA 2015 & 2016 | website | evaluations 2015 | evaluations 2016
Brown 2014 upper level production seminar on fiction, myth, and technology
Sound, Media & Urban Space
intermedia performance / custom interactive systems / handmade instruments
LILO: An Exquisite Corpse
Bates College 2010 | website
emergent composition in gameplay | thesis project by Brandon Sangston 2016, advisor
A family of "baby synthesizers" created by Veronica Lam and performed by MICE.
Interactive String Quartet by Lila Rodgers password: lila Systems for Play | Spring 2014
. Petrichor by Zach Alterman Final Project | Real-time Systems, 2010
Dance Karaoke Dress-up Revolution and Spacedish by Amy Chiao Systems for Play | final project 2014
Raining Cats and Dogs by Felipe Sarmiento and Nuoshi Chen custom musical umbrella Sound, Media, & Urban Space | Fall 2011
And When They Came And When They Came by Momo Ishiguro Recording Project, Computers and Music | Fall 2010
Pogue Pogue by Ben Silverman Final Project, Computers and Music | Fall 2013
Final Final Project by Tristan Rodman Computers and Music | Fall 2013
Potato Synth by Bridget Farrill Systems for Play | Spring 2014
Mountain Songs by Brady Gunnell 4-channel audio/video installation Sound, Media, & Urban Space | Fall 2011
Interactive Computer Vision System by Indy Shome Real-time Systems