VIDEO: Science course brings out musical side in students

By Cristina Aguirre

Every Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning, science and mathematics professor David Dolak turns an ordinary chemistry classroom into a riveting wood shop where students construct their own banjos, cigar box guitars, xylophones, and even kalimbas.

The Physics of Musical Instruments course at Columbia explores the mathematical foundation of musical scales and sound. Dolak, who has been teaching the course for 10 years, said that most of his students aren’t music majors, but they get a chance to use basic tools that they don’t have knowledge of. For a final project, students construct and design functional instruments and perform an original musical composition during the last week of class. The Chronicle takes an exclusive look inside the classroom.

For more information regarding this course, contact David Dolak at