Incorporating Global and Latin American Sounds into the Classroom

In February 2022, The University of New Mexico’s Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) hosted a free professional development to explore how to incorporate and teach sounds in the K-12 classroom. We are especially grateful to Dr. Ana Alonso Minutti, who presented a workshop entitled “Living and Learning through Sound: Developing a Sonic Epistemology” as part of this broader workshop entitled “Incorporating Global and Latin American Sounds into the Classroom”

Drawing from her recent fieldwork in Costa Rica, Dr. Ana Alonso Minutti addressed ways in which artists and scientists associated with the Universidad de Costa Rica, in conjunction with local activists, have developed the workbook ¡Escuchá conmigo! (2021), an invitation for kids and young adults to engage in an exercise of listening through the body to connect with nature. Having grown up in Mexico, she addressed a similar project developed in her home country, Suena Mexico (2016), an illustrated book that tells a story using the yells and calls of street public services (el gas, la basura, tamales, etc.). Taking these two book projects as case examples, she proposed ways in which teachers and students can think through sound and engage in creative exercises to promote human and nonhuman connections.

An active hiker, Ana introduced the practice of soundwalking as yet another way of developing a sonic epistemology. By sharing her recent experience walking over 80 kms of El Camino de Santiago (Spain), she proposed doing soundwalks to create harmony between body, mind, and soul by listening through walking. Lastly, drawing from her time living in Albuquerque for the past eight years, Ana addressed the ways in which the unique New Mexican soundscape has been a catalyst for her research, teaching, and composing. 

Ana Alonso Minutti is a music scholar, pedagogue, writer, and occasional composer based in Albuquerque, NM. She is passionate about listening, learning, loving, and living. At the time of this workshop, she’s spending her sabbatical in Spanish-speaking lands, as she had missed thinking and speaking solely in her native language

Following Ana's presentation, participants further explored how to incorporate sound into their classroom teaching. What does the world sound like? What does Latin America sound like? How is sound a form of resistance and sovereignty? The resources provided are applicable across grade levels, languages, and subject areas. An educator book guide on Hungry Listening (2020) was also provided and discussed.