How does it sound like? Demo post No 1

Brief summary of activity


Informations for Trainers

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Topic: Music as a tool of programm design
Matching Training Topics: Acoustic/Design, Research, Audio Editing

What’s the activity about?

Is there a message connected to music?
What stories we can tell through melody, recording quality, lyrics?


All participants get a topic, for example “Holidays at the sea”, “unknown culture”, “daily work” … Participants are asked to build a list of pieces of music according to the topic. There is no limit in styles of music. The task takes about 60 min. Ideally a collection of audio samples is added with the list. It probably takes some more time for saving and editing the sounds. At the end participants should present their collection to the group.


• All participants get different topics each. So they don’t know what the others are working on. The presentation then might be combined with askign the participants what connotations are evoked through the sound. We can ask what topic would you most closely relate to the the collected music?

• Advanced participants could be tasked with producing a short mix (3 to 5 minutes) of music. Of course this takes some more time. The activity then is more connected to practising editing software.

Tips for Trainers:

It’s important not to limit the search. Participants should be encouraged to look for music of different styles and various sources (To use only youtube will limit the results definitely).

While the participants are working, the trainer should direct the focus on rhythm, melody, harmony, lyrics of music. Participants should discover what the different aspects of music evoke. The activity will take less time if the participants only collect a list on paper. Usually they combine only well known music but to search for new and lesser known music, combined with the task to describe it through associations, is much more surprising and mind opening.


This activity needs no special knowledge or skills. Visually impaired or blind people usually have there own music library which they already know well. To share different sources and libraries might support the discovery of new music. If the participants have very different cultural backgrounds the associations with the music can vary greatly. It is important not to judge “right“ or “wrong“ associations in this exercise.

Analysis and evaluation:

Who choose’s which music and why? What did the others associate with the music? Were there similarities / differences? What does music tell us for sure?


This activity works very well if the time between task giving and presentation is longer. The more time that is allocated for searching the more diverse the results. The activity might be well combined with the exercise “Listening training”.

What happened within this activity?

It takes a lot of time. But it’s really inspiring. Frame parameters Length: 60 to 90 min. (variations longer)
Number of participants: 6
Room / space: no special requirements,
Equipment: computers with internet access, headphones,
speakers (audio devices, CD player, editing software)