Sound Design for Schools

Live Webinars for schools now available with David Sonnenschein, author “Sound Design”

Previous to publication of David Sonnenschein’s textbook “Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema,” there existed a significant gap in most audiovisual academic programs. Although they addressed the technology of sound recording, editing and mixing, there was little to offer in the area of aesthetics and how sound impacts the story and audience on a psychoacoustic level.  Student screenwriters, directors and producers had few resources for learning how sound could help empower their films. Sound editing students lacked guidance in building necessary creative strategies to become accomplished sound designers and deliver top quality soundtracks.

Now “Sound Design” is successfully incorporated into the curricula of schools all over the world, offering the theory, philosophy and application of creative sound design.  In addition, the book has 5-star reader ratings on and is #1 on Google for “sound design” books.  It focuses on developing the much-needed know-how and communication skills required in the entire media environment.

THE SOUND DESIGNER – Builds motivation, peak performance and understanding of the psychology of sound and sonic storytelling, with specific exercises to refine listening, composition and creativity skills.

COLLEAGUES – Clarifies the roles of writer, production designer, picture editor and music composer, and how the sound designer can effectively collaborate with these co-creators.

EMPLOYER – Empowers the sound designer to hit the mark every time with the boss (director, producer or client), encouraging efficient communication, promotions and re-hiring.

AUDIENCE – Delivers ultimate satisfaction by reaching the public with the intended message, sonically fortifying the visuals, actors and story with realism and emotional depth.


An even greater learning result can be achieved with a presentation that incorporates audiovisual examples to illustrate the principles, and listening and creative audio assignments that develop students’ abilities to work effectively with sound.

The most powerful teaching tool occurs with the engagement of students in their own creative process, accompanied by direct feedback from a knowledgeable and inspiring mentor.  After teaching in dozens of American, European and Asian classrooms for over a decade, David Sonnenschein now offers this service to all sound design students anywhere on the globe through his real-time, online webinars.

Watch the 4 min. Sound Design for Pros video to experience David in action:


Several forms of Sound Design instruction are available, both online and on site, including:

– Single guest lecture

– Guest lecture series with student participation

– Full course integrated in current school curriculum

– Live interactive coaching on students’ works-in-progress

– Pre-recorded course presentations (e.g. SoundDesignForPros six-week webinar recordings)

David will develop the ideal Sound Design presentation for your students and curriculum.  Please email him directly at

Lectures / Courses given by David Sonnenschein


Academy of Art University, San Francisco

Video Symphony, Burbank CA

California State University Northridge, Los Angeles

Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT)

UCLA, Architecture Dept., Los Angeles

San Francisco State University, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

Globe Institute of Recording and Psychoacoustics, San Francisco

Cogswell Polytechnical College, Silicon Valley CA

ISELA (Institute of Spiritual Cinema – LA)

MGLA (Motion Graphics LA)

Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking, Sedona AZ

Banff Mountain Film Festival, Canada

Audio Engineering Society, Canada

Independent Feature Project West, Los Angeles

Winter Brain Conference, Palm Springs CA

Filmmakers Alliance, Los Angeles

StoryCon, Palm Springs CA

American Film Institute, Los Angeles

Occidental College, Los Angeles

Cyberarts International, San Francisco


Academia Internacional de Cinema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Universidade Estacio de Sa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV, Cuba


Huddersfield University, UK

British Film Institute, UK

South East Essex College, UK

University of Edinburgh, UK

Leeds International Music Technology Education Conference: Sound-Image-Space, UK

Sounding Out, Staffordshire University, UK

NRK Broadcasting Studio, Oslo, Norway

22nd Nordic Sound Symposium, Bolkesjo, Norway

KHM, Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, Germany

WDR Broadcasting Studio, Cologne, Germany

ESMAE – Escola Superior de Música e das Artes do Espectáculo, Porto, Portugal


Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music

Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Here’s what educators and students say about David’s classes:

“Beyond mere technical jargon, in accessible and eloquent language David opens creative gateways for dramatic storytelling through the potent and inventive use of sound. His book is of enormous merit that should prove useful not only to sound editors, but to all film artists and, indeed, anyone who cherishes a good movie.”

— Richard Walter, Chairman, UCLA Screenwriting Dept. Author, Screenwriting: The Art, Craft and a Business of Film and Television Writing

“David’s workshops rock! His mastery of the material is clear from the first lesson. What really sets David’s workshops apart, though, is his gift for teaching, and personal interest in student’s work. He invited me to share a commercial film I was making with the class, and as a result I gained insights that helped me win quick approval of the project from my client. In that way, the class paid for itself right away.”

— Dan McComb, filmmaker, Seattle, WA

“Great book to teach with! I use this book in my Sound Design class at the U. of Saint Francis. It is a great foundation upon which you can build confidence in your inexperienced students just by having them read the book! Also it helps make sense out of the confusion of directors dealing with sound and audio crew. This book has made my teaching job a lot easier and the students of my class a lot more savvy in sound design. Thanks David Sonnenschein for writing it!

— Prof. Kenny Bergle, University of Saint Francis, IN, USA

An in-depth study of sound. I work daily in audio drama, where sound is the only way to convey a story. I think it’s a perfect book for anyone involved in the arts, be it film, stage, audio or multi-disciplines. From the physical affects of sound not only on the ear, but on the body and the psyche, to how sound can help (or even destroy) the story you’re trying to tell, Sonnenschein covers it all. He delves into what can compel and repel; what can cause comfort and debilitating dread.”

— Sable Jak, author Writing the Fantasy Film

“David Sonnenschein’s book is legendary, and the interactive webinar which presents and analyzes examples of the theory, truly brings the material to life. His approach gives sound designers a framework for making informed design decisions, to the benefit of their audiences, clients, and the stories they help to tell.”

— Nathan Moody,

“Oracle of Sound! This is a fantastic book. David Sonnenschein is an oracle of sound. I really like the way that he covers both the commercial applications of designing sound and music for Film & Media and also the creative and even spiritual dimensions of working with sound & music. Speaking as someone who works within this sector, if one day I have anything like the understanding of sound that Sonnenschein has, I will be a happy man! If you are new to sound design, get this book – it is easy to read, accessible and extremely informative. If, on the other hand, you are an experienced musician or sound designer, get this book – you will learn things that you may not have even considered before and find the inspiration to try new things.  If you work or are interested in working in this field – I can’t recommend it enough. Carry it with you on the train, have it handy in the studio, go to bed with it under your pillow! Just get it.”

— Darren Leigh Purkiss, London, UK

“Perfect on every level. With my attempt at becoming a Sound Designer I’ve found that there are not many books that pin-point all the aspects as this one does. Mr. Sonnenschein has written my Bible! Beginning to end this book is packed with specific examples from many different types of film and comments from the top people in the business. It also gives you projects that can be done on your own. It covers everything that can be heard on a soundtrack. An absolute MUST for anyone interested in sound design and should be required reading for anyone involved in film.”

— Scott D. Parker, San Gabriel, CA USA

“For all film/video professionals, not just audio technicians. This is one of the most eye (I mean EAR) opening and fascinating books I have looked at for a long time. I am an animation producer, and admittedly have always taken a hit-and-miss, often formulaic approach to sound as something secondary in importance to the visuals. This book changed my thinking. It provides a clear foundation in the narrative power of sound and music, is written with great insight and passion, and includes thought-provoking and playful exercises that you can’t resist trying!”

— Larry Feign, cartoonist and author, Hong Kong

“In Summer 2005 David Sonnenschein led an enthusiastic and inspiring sound design seminar at WDR in Cologne, inviting an interdisciplinary group of people from all areas of radio and television broadcasts and productions. The principles of creation, editing, montage and mix of sounds were very useful for different media situations, in cultural radio, sound art, feature and radio drama, jingles and trailers, as well as for members of the graphic design department, television editors and directors of narrative and scientific themes.
From the beginning David did research about the special needs and expectations of the individual participant, and systematically worked down all the relevant themes for their specialized perspectives. He informed well, analyzed many examples and explored new possibilities for their everyday work. We benefited from the well-arranged content of his wonderful book, which is in a class by itself amongst sound design texts. David’s many experiences as musician, director, sound designer and sound philosopher, combined with his intercultural knowledge and being a gifted teacher, brought us in short time span into a deep understanding and very applicable workflow for sound in media – not limited to film or radio, but encompassing today’s cross media publishing and producing.
I came back to our school of media with many valuable insights, strategies and quality knowledge. We use his book and ideas since then in many courses, from beginning sound work to professional teamwork and innovative productions, forward to our Sound Studies in our Master Program, with themes of audiovisual composition and acoustic communication. His thorough work flow description helped many students along the planning and working phase of in-depth sound design, his ideas are vital energies for all kind of situations in design and his well-written texts help as a reliable companion and handbook for teaching and practice.
We enjoy too David’s new appearance online, where he transforms his experience into webinars and interactive situations all over the world. We hope to join him there more often in the future, especially as our school and teachers welcome and research on e-learning configurations very much.
Thank you, David, for your long time inspiration and support, from the distance, but very present in our learning conversations and new abilities.”

— Prof. Hans Ulrich Werner, sound designer and soundscape author with Wester German Broadcast WDR in Cologne, teaching sound design and acoustic communication at University of Applied Sciences, Media Department, in Offenburg.

One Comment on “Sound Design for Schools”

  1. […] at several different possibilities of applying this game series. I’m currently teaching an online course with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and I created a couple of very simple Flash […]

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