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    UMass Amherst Summer Pre-College: Sound and Silence: Listening Practices for Today’s Noisy World

    UMass Amherst Summer Pre-College: Sound and Silence: Listening Practices for Today’s Noisy World


    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Program Delivery: Day, Residential
    • Provided By: College
    • Session Start: June
    • Session Length: Two Weeks
    • Entering Grade: 10th, 11th, 12th
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: Academic
    • Sub-Categories: Multi-Arts, Music, Arts, Humanities
    • Selective: No
    • Ages: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
    • Minimum Cost: $1,500 - $2,999
    • Career Clusters: Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Communications
    • Credit Awarded: Yes
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    Learn about Summer 2023 Pre-College opportunities at UMass Amherst. Our residential and online pre-college programs are designed to give you a preview of the UMass student experience, including college-level academics and being part of a learning community of high school students from all across the U.S. and the world. Our programs feature faculty-led courses, state-of-the-art facilities, and the #1 campus dining in the U.S., as ranked by the Princeton Review.


    This two-week interdisciplinary program will explore and engage the sounds of the world around us, bridging music, performance studies, literature and art. Your ears hear sound all day long, and yet your brain organizes and interprets them in varied ways. On one day, you might try to block the noise of traffic. On another, you might pay money to go to a loud concert. And on another, you might feel the weight of silence. How and why do you feel and understand different sounds in different ways? And what could bringing awareness to these different ways of listening help us to learn about ourselves and the world? In this class, you will investigate a wide range of sounds and develop new listening practices that will help you hear your world anew.

    Together, we will explore questions that include:  

    What are the distinctions between sound, noise, music, and silence?  Where does sound go after you hear it? How are sound and text related to one another? How are they different? What are the different ways to capture sound? Why does paying attention to silence matter in our world today? How are sound, noise, music, and silence used as metaphor? 

    Our daily activities will involve class discussions, exploratory sessions, and group projects that will help us listen to and create sound and silence in new ways. On most days, we will start class by exploring an exemplar ‘sound text’ that will launch us into conversation about the different ways we listen. From there, we will work through a guiding question together by researching a topic online or creating sound recordings using our phones.  Finally, we will spend time crafting our own sound pieces using radical compositional/textual techniques.  Along the way we will take field trips on and off campus, learn to use technology to transform sound, and strain to listen for the sounds in the world around us that people ignore or simply cannot hear.

    The class will culminate with the creation of a collaboratively-made sound installation that will highlight some of the listening practices we develop together.  

    This class is designed for students with an interest in music, language, philosophy, or art.  Curiosity and creativity will be crucial values for our class. We don’t know what we don’t know until we begin to question everything, down to the way we think about and experience the world. Come with a willingness to explore, to be weird, to try new things, to ask questions, and to be ready to generate new ways of thinking about everyday things.


    This course is offered at the UMass Amherst campus as a residential program. Local students may apply to attend as a commuter.

    Cost and Session Information

    Dates: June 25 - July 8, 2022
    Two-Week Residential Intensives: $3,454

    *Program fees listed above include tuition and room & board.
    *All programs require submission of $35 application fee.