Instructor: Heath Hansum

Course Purpose:

  1. To create or improve students' awareness of and respect for, theatrical sound equipment, procedures, techniques and primarily to discover the many ways that sound has become an integral design tool in the theatre and entertainment industry.
  2. To acquaint the students with particular equipment and facilities available in Coleman and Tustin theatres.

Course Objective

This course is intended to instill the confidence and basic knowledge necessary to function in many different audio environments including but not limited to the facilities in Coleman and Tustin Theatres. The course is intended to create a pool of capable students interested in designing and operating sound for various productions with minimal supervision.

Expected Results of the Course

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Understand basic sound theory;
  2. Create design concepts for a production through research of musical history, period styles and aural decor;
  3. Understand, recognize, build, and repair various cable types (microphone, speaker, balanced, unbalanced), including common connectors and their applications;
  4. Identify and properly use various sound sources; i.e. microphones, turntables, tape decks, CD players, digitally sampled material, live sources;
  5. Identify and properly use various signal processing devices, i.e. , mixers, equalizers, filters, compressors/limiters, effects devices;
  6. Properly record, edit and play back music and effects on 1/4" audio tape;
  7. Identify and properly use various amplifiers, intercom and paging systems;
  8. Understand sound design research; i.e. period music, if applicable (composers and instrumentation), creation of original sound effects, use of libraries, sound plots;
  9. Understand sound's function within a production team; i.e. script reading and notation, design meetings, production meetings, rehearsals, scratch tapes, technical rehearsals, cue sheets, show running

Methods of Instruction

Classroom discussion / lecture followed by hands-on demonstration / usage of current subject matter.


  1. Sound and Music for the Theatre by Deena Kaye and James LeBrecht
  2. YAMAHA Sound Reinforcement Handbook by Gary Davis & Ralph Jones

Assignments / Grading

  1. Several brief quizzes on recent topics discussed in class.
  2. Several projects demonstrating design approaches and concepts and an understanding of the procedures, methods and equipment presented in class.
  3. The grading breaks down as follows:
    • Quiz 1 10%
    • Project 1 7.5%
    • Quiz 2 10%
    • Project 2 7.5%
    • Quiz 3 10%
    • Project 3 10%
    • Quiz 4 10%
    • Project 4 10%
    • Final Project 15%
  4. Three (3) unexcused absences will result in a lower grade by one letter.

Course Meetings

  1. Twenty-eight (28) class meetings + one (1) final exam period.
  2. Approximately one (1) topic covered in class per period followed by practical discussion of equipment, techniques and discussions of design aesthetics and concepts.
  3. Field trips and professional visitors will augment classroom discussion whenever available and appropriate.
  4. Everyone is required to attend the mainstage Theatre and Dance performances during the semester.