Melyssa Swett- Portfolio


Intent of Project

For music majors to understand the importance of physics in their careers. Students will be able to apply principles of physics to the production of music.

Needs Analysis

  • Problem: An important aspect of a liberal arts curriculum is a variety of diverse classes in numerous fields. Thus degrees often required a math, language arts, history, and science requirement despite the degree pursued. However, many individuals find these base courses to be difficult and irrelevant to their career goals. This course hopes to solve this problem by allowing music majors to study acoustic physics as their science requirement. Students will use their current musical knowledge and the physics principals learned in this course to understand how instruments work.

  • What Is To Be Learned: Learners will come to understand basic principals of acoustic physics. They will be able to apply these principals to the music field to understand how music is produced. They will come to understand why instrument designs produce desired range of pitches and how frequency defines the pitches we hear.

  • The Learners: The learners will consist of college music majors pursuing their science requirement for their degree program. The students will have a strong music background and will have successfully passed their freshman music classes, including music theory and aural skills. The students will be proficient in at least one instrument (this may include voice) and will have completed two semesters of lessons at the college level.

  • Instructional Context: Instructions for this course will take place online. Lectures, examples, discussions, and assessments will all be found through the course's online platform. Various course activities will require students to complete outside experiments using the instrument of their choice and science equipment (which is available through the college). While many experiments will be displayed in video footage, students are encourage to complete the experiments themselves to reinforce their learning.

  • Exploring The Problem and Solution: Learners will explore the problem using a hands-on approach. Activities will guide students to find the solution to course problems. Learners will improve their learning through experiments, modeling, watching video footage, and reading course text.

  • Goals: For students to develop an understanding of the physics involved in music. By understanding the science behind music production, students will better themselves as musicians.

Performance Objectives

  • Students will be able to generate the amplitude, frequency, period, wavelength, and velocity of a sound wave.

  • Students will be able to compare the relationship between frequency of a wavelength and the pitch of the sound produced.

  • Students will be able to state how superposition creates complex tones in various instruments.

  • Students will be able to identify how loudness is perceived by the human ear.

  • Students will be able to identify how an instrument design affects the sound produced.

  • Students will be able to classify different problems and solutions of environmental factors in areas where sound is produced.

Task Analysis

  • Course Purpose

The purpose of this course is to create a class for music majors to gain understanding of the physics behind the music they produce. Students will be able to use their understanding of music to better themselves as musicians.

  • Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the properties of sound waves, including how and why sound waves are produced.
  • Predict the behavior of sound waves in various situations.
  • Use scientific terms to explain the production of sound by a musical instrument.
  • Evaluate the acoustic characteristics of a room.

  • Prerequisite Skills

In order to reach outcomes, students must be able to:

  • Compute basic math functions up to pre-calculus level, including square roots, exponentials, and logarithms.
  • Complete basic computer tasks (turning on the computer, using the course platform, typing, etc.)
  • Have access to an instrument they can play (the human voice is also proficient) for classroom activities.

Curriculum Map

Curriculum Map- Physics of Music.jpeg

The Physics of Music

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