Learning Activities

Integral to the process of learning to think is the opportunity to do. The doing of Thinking Matters involves a range of activities, from in-class simulations to exploring Stanford's own labs and museums, to student-created projects. 

Worlds of Sound


For my final project titled "Racket Rhythm", I composed a sound object only using sounds from the sport of tennis. By learning the editing tools and technology from Garage Band, I became interested in the idea of making my piece a narrative/journey through a tennis match and the various listening modes. I began with introducing a beat with the sound of a bouncing ball. I then introduced the other sounds of tennis such as feet squeaking, chair umpires talking, players grunting, and the crowd cheering. Then, by rearranging and mixing these sounds in a pattern, I was able to shift my listening from thinking about the sources of the sound to the musical properties of the sound. The project helped me analyze the similarities and differences in listening to where the sound came from, the physical properties of the sound, and the memory associated with the sound.

Student Bio

My name is Kento Perera and I am a freshman. I went to San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara. I am on the varsity tennis team and my major is undeclared. I am interested in computer science as well as finance and business. Outside of academics and tennis, I enjoy watching movies, playing piano, traveling, learning Japanese, hiking, and playing other sports with friends.

I chose to take Worlds of Sound because it was a good balance with my other classes that were STEM oriented. It seemed interesting to me because I had never analyzed the concept of sound on a deeper level. I thought this class was applicable to everyday life and help me hear/think about things from a different perspective.









This project is created by sampling “non-lexical communicative sounds” — sounds we make that aren’t words but convey meaning. The song does not contain any software instruments — only samples of such sounds that a few of my peers agreed to have me record and manipulate. The sounds were intentionally mediated to varying degrees to express their semantic meaning or simply due to the timbre of the sample. They were also grouped by their emotional context — happy, sad, doubtful, etc. — and each section of the song uses a particular group of these sounds. Through these manipulations, this project seeks to explore how not being able to see the original source of the sounds affects the listening experience, how these communicative sounds contribute to our sonic memory, and the effect of mediation on them and whether semantic meaning can persevere through such mediation. .

Student Bio

Yutong Sun is a member of the Class of 2021 and is interested in studying Mathematical and Computational Sciences. Ever since she was little, Yutong has loved listening to and playing all kinds of music, from alternative rock to electronic house. She recently discovered the world of electronic music-making and has since been working on several personal projects playing around with different Digital Audio Workstations. She is also a proud member of Cardinal Calypso, Stanford’s premier steel pan band.