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UMFK music professor demonstrates sound waves to FKES kindergarten students

January 18, 2002



University of Maine at Fort Kent assistant professor of music, Scott Brickman, hosted students from Grace Sirois' Fort Kent Elementary School kindergarten class in his state-of-the-art music room in the newly built Nadeau Hall.


The students are involved in a science project on sound waves in their classroom, and the purpose of their visit to the UMFK music lab was to demonstrate what sound looks like when converted to a picture format.

Using software that records, edits and mixes sound, Brickman recorded the voices of the students, then played the recording back. The children were aware of sound but weren't actually able to relate to it without seeing it. The computer screen displayed a picture of what the sound wave looked like as it played back the recording giving the children a visual to associate with.

"It's amazing that the kindergarten class would be working with this type of project and it's more amazing that now, with this wonderful new building and the new technology available to us, UMFK can help in these learning projects," said Brickman.

With the software available to him, Brickman proceeded to edit the sound waves of Cody Plourde's voice. He stretched the waves creating a slow motion speech pattern. He also altered the sound waves in a way that made Cody's voice sound like a robot. The children giggled and asked him twice to "play it back again."

Brickman also recorded Abraham Desjardin's voice and again, using the computer program, was able to edit the wave signals and play Desjardin's voice backwards, making him sound like he was talking in a foreign language. The children were having fun while learning how sound waves could be altered and how the picture of those sound waves changed as well. Other features of the software allowed Brickman to cut or isolate certain sounds or words, and to dub in sounds or music.

"The technology that is now available to us here at UMFK has the potential for us to graduate education majors firmly grounded in the twenty-first century," said Brickman. "This technology fits perfectly into the education and music programs as well as science, criminal justice, e-commerce and business programs."

On January 28, students from Pat Richard's second grade class at FKES will visit Brickman's music room at Nadeau Hall for a similar demonstration. Richard's class is also working on a science project on sound.

Brickman is looking forward to their visit. He is sure that they will have many more questions for him to answer.