Assignments & Course Requirements

Final Grade Breakdown:


Assignment Due Date Weight in final grade
Listening Exercise September 26 10%
Site analysis November 28 15%
Audiography January 23 10%
Question Protocol March 3rd 15%
Audio Essay April 3 20%
In-class & Workshop
 3 in total, see course outline
for details

Participation & 

N/A 15%


Assignment & Course Requirement Descriptions:

Listening Exercise: To get you started in thinking about the place of sound and music in the world around you, you are going to complete a short analysis of the soundscape (see Schafer from the first week) that exists in different parts of Toronto. In order to complete the assignment, you must pick a particular location in Toronto. You must listen to this location for 30-40 minutes, at which point you should make note the sounds (natural, industrial, musical) that you hear.

Percentage of final grade: 10%

Site Analysis: Building on class discussions about the place of music in everyday life, this assignment asks you to analyze a particular site or space where music plays a significant role in the way that that space or site is experienced. You are expected to provide some historical context for the site that you are studying, some discussion of the relationship between architecture and sound in this space, and some analysis of how these historical and material factors shape the relationship between the presence of music and the way that these spaces are used.

Where possible, you will be expected to include photographs or short videos which support the claims that you are making in your analysis. This cannot simply be material produced by others for promotional purposes, but material that is evidence that supports your analysis.

Percentage of final grade: 15%

Audiography: An audiography is the use of audio recordings to capture everyday experience of what we hear (in the way that a photography captures light to record to record what we see.) This assignment asks you to record 10-15 sounds that all are related to a theme that is drawn from your everyday life.

Percentage of final grade: 10%

Question Protocol: In preparation for the final assignment, you will be asked to prepare a set of documents outlining the procedure you will be following to conduct the interview for your final project. This will include a list of the people you will be contacting, the letter you will use to contact them, the questions you will be asking and the consent for they will have to sign.

Percentage of final grade: 15%

Audio Essay: In lieu of a final paper, students will be asked to develop and produce a 15-20 minute ‘audio essay’ that focuses on a topic related to the material covered in the course reading or discussions. This might involve an analysis of a particular local musical culture or scene, a survey of how particular musical technology is being used by a specific group of people, a discussion of sound culture in Southern Ontario. It should not be a profile of a particular artist or genre, as the focus should be on the intersection between people’s experience and popular music.

The assignment has two components: a proposal and production schedule (5%) and the final podcast and critical reflection. As part of the process of developing this final assignment, students are required to meet with the instructor at least once. Meeting times will be arranged at the beginning of the Winter term.

Percentage of final grade: 25%


Workshop exercises: On three occasions across the year, you will be asked to work on a series of in-class exercises or to complete short quizzes. The workshop exercises will come from our work with the audio editing software, the quizzes will be based upon work done as part of the seminar.

Percentage of final grade: 15%

Participation and Attendance: As this is a seminar, students are expected to attend and participate frequently. 1% from the student’s final grade will be deducted for every unexcused absence. Participation will be graded with regard to the students ability to make meaningful additions to classroom discussion through comments or questions.“Meaningful” contribution does not simply mean a comment or observation, but students must link their ideas with the readings and the broader discussions of the class.

I will keep track of who speaks and the contribution they make to the discussion on a class-by-class basis. Each student is given a mark out of 10 at the end of the term.

In the case you miss a lecture, ask someone in the class for their notes. If you choose to come to office hours to find out what you missed, make sure you have spoken to someone in class. I will not do re-do the lecture and only answer specific questions.

Students will receive a mid-year update outlining their participation grade up to the end of the first semester.  

Percentage of final grade: 15%