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Follow the Sound!

by Greg Crowther


With a nod to circa-1980 hits like "Grease" (Frankie Valli) and "Fame" (Irene Cara), this song traces the follow of auditory information from the ear to the cortex of the brain.


Follow the sound! Follow the sound!
Follow the sound from ear to brain!
Follow the sound! Follow the sound!
Baby, remember these names!

Sound waves beat on the tympanic membrane.
Ossicles beat on the oval window.
Perilymph, endolymph, basilar membrane.
Hair cells stimulate nerve eight, you know....


Cochlear nucleus.
Superior olivary nucleus.
Inferior colliculus.
Medial geniculate nucleus
Of the thalamus
To the temporal cortex.


Other Files

sheet music (with melody play-back)

Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using the audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity should begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.

Study Questions

(1) How do the subdivisions of the ear -- outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear -- relate to the structures mentioned here?

(2) Hearing loss can be classified as "conductive" or "sensorineural." If a person has sensorneural hearing loss, which of the structures mentioned here could be to blame?

(3) The song lists each subcortical brain structure in the singular form (cochlear nucleus, superior olivary nucleus, etc.). How many of each of these structures do we have?

(4) Where in the brain is sensory information from both ears first combined and compared?

(5) The inferior collicular is part of the auditory pathway. What does the SUPERIOR colliculus do?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)