June 30, 2010
For the past three years, Wendy has taught a class at UC-Davis that combines science with music-making. In its current incarnation, the class is known as SAS 42: Earth Water Science Song. Its unique format consists of two one-hour lectures per week along with a two-hour "studio" session, in which students learn various aspects of songwriting and performance and apply those to the scientific material they're learning. One example of the students' output, a song about plant transpiration called "Breathe," has been uploaded to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IsMMmqbR28
While this class is undeniably innovative and well-liked by students, its execution requires personnel with dual expertise in science and music, as well as institutional support that may that be available elsewhere. To facilitate scientific songwriting in situations where participants aren't able to meet regularly in person, we have created a site that we call Virtual Studio. In brief, it allows collaborators to post and critique musical works in progress. For more information, please visit SingAboutScience.org and follow the links under the Virtual Studio heading. This project is still in its infancy, and feedback would be very helpful!