San Juan Mountains, Colo.



GES3410 Sonic Landscapes


This course is cross- listed with HUM3990 and VAPA 3900

Course materials are distributed through Blackboard

What Students Are Saying about The Course

"I must hear what it sounds like beneath the breaking waves. I dropped the hydrophone mid-creek and was immediately overwhelmed with diverse aquatic sounds: gurgles, gushing, swishing, screeching, intense and chaotic, penetrating my head. Beneath the surface the true frenzy of waves crashing down over the surface is revealed through the hydrophone as I struggle to stay standing."

"Almost all of my classes prior to this one had very specific instructions and guidelines to determine what the student would take away from the class (most often regurgitating facts or analyzing data). Sonic Landscapes felt uniquely self-motivated, interpretive, and imaginative."

"It is crazy how much work we accomplished in two weeks."

"I was so surprised that we were able to essentially create music based off of the sounds of our environment. Our final sound piece made me very proud, it showed our progress as a group and my growth with this software and understanding of our world."

"At performance night, I was surprised and impressed at the variety of pieces with so many different styles; it was obvious everyone had worked very hard. I was sincerely sad that the class had ended so quickly. I hadn’t expected to feel as much as I did or learn in the way that I did. It was truly an amazing experience that I will carry with me forever."

"There was actually a moment when tears of joy sprung to my eyes when I had a listen to a section I had been working on; it finally sounded amazing, partly because of [my partner's] beautiful poem."

"Day six – North Clear Creek Falls. The landscape around the falls was gently rolling high valley terrain, nothing unusual, until we drove to the falls site. It was like something cut a canyon into the otherwise monotonous setting. Something did. North Clear Creek flowed softly through the meadow, then carved voraciously between the basalt rock pillars mere feet away. It created a magnificent waterfall!"

"I loved when Glen played his trumpet with the thunderous sounds of the falls! As I walked around listening to the buzz of the falls turn into the buzz of the bees in the meadow area close by I felt stirred to write a prose-like entry into my journal. Much of my experiences at the falls took root in my poems over the next few days."

"Thank you for equipping students with a new super power."

"It took on a fantasy feel because I felt so in-tune with my surroundings that each component seemed to be saying something to me. There were willows, for instance, that were composed of newly grown shoots as well as older, sun-bleached stiffened branches. The older ones were so hard that I couldn’t pass between them to reach the inner meadow that I wanted to reach. I sensed/imagined that the bushes were protecting something more precious than what I was allowed to see and hear on the outside. It was just my way of coming closer to the natural world around me."

"Over the past two weeks I have experienced life from a completely different perspective. A view which has changed me personally and has allowed me to grow as an individual. Through my observations of not only our natural world, but also our interactions with it, I have gained an abundance of knowledge. 
The course content, lectures and field work have also pushed me past my comfort level in regards to my mode of learning and the way in which I view life in its entirety. I am pleased to say that taking this course was one of the best decisions I have made. As Albert Einstein once stated, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” This quote holds so much truth in regards to my personal situation, and this course helped to justify its value."

"Every time I put on my headphones, I was shocked at how much detail I could hear around me. Although I hear birds chirping every day, the clarity of the sound was surprising. It left me with a sense of a connectedness with our natural world. I could hear insects clear as day and, the birds, frogs and running water sounded even more pleasant. Ultimately, listening to nature was an escape – it gave me a break from my hectic life and allowed me to take in what was surrounding me to the fullest potential."

"This course allowed me to explore outside of my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to sharpen a completely different skill set. 
I wanted to express my gratitude for a wonderful, eye opening experience. I really felt that I learned to listen differently to the landscape, to hear more sounds than ever before." 

"Sonic Landscapes was an experience to remember to be sure. The abstract experience pushes the boundaries of conventional learning techniques to the extreme, and as much as I usually consider myself an abstract thinker, this class was an anomaly and a challenge for me. In a world that places great weight on personal achievement and measurable attainment, it certainly stands apart."

Contact Brandon

  • 719.255.5146
  • 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918