Listening has been an interest of mine for some time. As an undergraduate studying music composition, listening was the core of my creative practice. It has remained central to my practice as an educator, though I rarely teach music.
I chose to study listening and its multiple manings and implications in educational settings for my integrative masters project at Bank Street College of Education. I completed the study (and my degree) in Spring 2016 and am happy to share an excerpt of the resulting paper here.
What understandings can educators gain by purposefully considering how they incorporate listening into their practices? That educational environments are auditory environments may seem common sense. Much of what constitutes the activity of a typical classroom, museum, or other educational setting in the United States today includes talking, singing, clapping, dancing, or other soundmaking. How do educators engage and interact in a sounded environment? A premise of this study is that, just as educators take a distinct pedagogical stance, they also have learned various ways to listen. In this study, I examine the ways in which educators frame listening as part of their work, and I reflect on the implications of contrasting modes of listening.
Finally, I want to mention one book that has been particularly formative as I theorize listening’s role in teaching. I couldn’t have written this study without Keywords in Sound (Novak and Sakakeeny, 2015). It is written in a concise, approachable, academic style and is an excellent entrypoint into the many disciplines that form the emerging field of sound studies.