Introduction to Sound, Music, and the Phenomenon that is Sonic Language

Click here to download document.



By the end of the lesson, students will have an in depth understanding of the process of listening and deciphering sounds, and how to use this new knowledge during the creation of new sound.


This lesson introduces students to the importance of Sound in storytelling. This introduction serves as the unit kickoff for sound viewing storytelling from that lens.

Expected Lesson Duration:

Lesson is expected to last 1 day.

Interdisciplinary Connection(s) to Common Core

Preparing to Teach this Lesson:

Student Handouts:

Lesson Procedure:

Introduction/Gain Attention

  • Sound of the Day: The class will begin with an activity that will require students to write a brief story about the content or relation of a sound presented by the instructor.


  • After the sound of the day, the students will listen to the radiolab podcast entitled *Psyche and Soun*d

  • While listening to the podcast, the students will not be allowed to touch any electronic devices.

  • Notes and questions should be taken on the Cornell Notes Handout

  • The Handouts, and their purpose should be explained prior to the start of the podcast

  • Some questions that the students should add to their questions:

    • What is music?

    • Why does it move us?

    • How does the brain process sound, and why are some people better at it than others?


  • Development of notetaking skills

  • Explain how listening affects individuals physiologically

  • Identify and exercise good listening skills

  • Gain an understanding of how sound works scientifically

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how sound affects us physiologically

  • Contemplate how sound can be manipulated and purposefully used to generate specific desired effects on listeners

Content of Lesson

  • Acquiring Key Concepts: developing an understanding of the role sound plays in storytelling, questioning the origin of sound and music, and the effect sound and music has on storylines, individuals, and themselves. Additionally, taking notes to the Cornell standard.

  • Engaging in Experiential Learning: practicing new note taking methods via the Cornell standard of note taking, listening to sounds in a new way by paying attention to characteristics emphasized in the Psyche and Sound and Musical Language podcasts.

  • Building Proficiencies: establishing a new skill set for listening to sounds, taking more proficient notes.

  • Connecting with STEM Professionals: view a video or listen to a podcast of a professional explaining the importance of the roles sound plays in storytelling.

  • Assessing Learning: have students provide unique answers to the questions posed during note taking, such as what is music, and why does it move us?

Closure and Review

  • Sound and math have a lot in common, bring back some examples of those commonalities the next day.

  • Explain the importance of diversity or individuality in the storytellers and writers due to experiences and how it shapes our stories.

Higher Level Thinking Skills Noted

  • Answer the essential questions thoroughly and describe how those aspects show up in the media.


The art and skill of storytelling that will be practiced in this class will help the students reasoning skills, cognitive constructive capabilities, and develop character. The creation of a narrative requires the student to develop a logical order from a sequence of events. In order for the student to develop a meaningful arrangement of events the student must begin to grow their narrative reasoning skills. These skills can evolve through the consumption and dissection of narrative literature, of a mixed medium. While developing of their narrative reasoning skills the students should/ will become more empathetic to others, wise to deciphering the true purpose of the story, and become comprehensive thinkers of their own circumstances. The students are finally at the age in which they are beginning to construct their own narratives. We, as educators, want them to be exposed to a great diversity of narratives in order mature those narrative reasoning skills. The more developed their narrative reasoning skills are the more they get from a story (deeper perspective). The more advanced their skills, the more likely they are to rationalize why this character chose a particular path, place themselves in the characters shoes, and develop their own character.

Explorations and Extensions:

What was meant by the question, “Why does music move us?” Can the term, move, be replaced with a more scientific term? If so, what term?

Assessment Criteria for Success:

Content knowledge, student knowledge, and appropriate resources are aligned to instructional outcomes. student learning will be assessed throughout the lesson via question responses and correlation to the project.

Students will have successfully met the outcomes when fundamental questions about the importance of storytelling and its role in imagery can be observed through their writing and reflections of their peers work. Also questions about their current disposition are taken into consideration when they see media should begin to arise. Also a fluid and respectful use of time, along with an essay that is fluid, easy to follow, and retains its essentials as an ELA.

Modifications/Accommodations and Access for All:

A simpler version of Imagery and storytelling is already prepared if there are students that need to re-review the information. Also, if students need an alternate assignment due to their personal disposition to the material, alterations will be easily made.

Implementation Feedback:

Students can receive feedback on their implementation of the Cornell Notes.


To be completed upon the end of lesson.

Other Important Course Development Information

Best Practices:

Exemplary Previous student work: