Thursday, February 28, 2019

Recording "Happy to Be Here" for class in Spring 2019

In our Group Recording Sessions class, we had the exciting opportunity to record the excellent band comprised of some of our students, Happy to Be Here. They presented us with beautiful vocal harmonies and insightful songwriting.

During the session, students decided on microphones and proper placement in order to capture the best possible live performance and audio mix. The musicians also needed a monitor mix in order to hear themselves perform. The unique instrumentation of piano, amplified guitar, and synthesizer, along with three vocal mics, also provided a unique challenge.

The performance was also captured on video and will be edited into a live performance for presentation on YouTube. This has been a fun series for practicing production techniques in a real-world environment. Things don't always go perfectly as planned, but that's what the experience is all about: Learning and developing a better understanding of the process. A huge thanks goes out to the band for performing for us!

An overhead view from the studio during the setup process

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Looking Back on a Productive Fall 2018

The Practicum Crew (from left): Jon, Hannah, Will, Tho, Sam, Alina, Tevin, Maya, and Shannon

Another busy and fun Fall semester wrapped up as students turned in their projects and finished their exams. On our last day of Practicum class, we listened to the projects that students completed over the course of the semester (pictured above). There was a great mix of genres from chamber music to hip-hop and soundtrack music. One of our students even did interactive sound effects for a video game. It is always enlightening to discuss the challenges and success that were encountered throughout the semester.

Jon accompanying Brody singing a song from the musical "The Last Five Years"

As a part of our Recording Studio Procedures class, we recorded various student singers in a number of different styles including musical theatre, country, and traditional Americana. Not only do students get to experience the challenge of capturing the audio, but they also get to perform for one another and hear their mixed and mastered audio afterward.

Additionally, one of our awesome alumni, David Lamb, visited us and brought his drum kit to do a drumming demonstration during the last week of class. Looking back on the semester, it is hard to believe how many projects were completed and how many different musicians were recorded. Although I think that everyone is in need of a holiday break, we are also looking forward to kicking things back into gear this Spring!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Instruments Are Put to the Test in Recording Class

Over the course of our Recording Studio Procedures class, students perform using a variety of instruments and then we learn the proper microphone techniques for ideal capture. Recently, the Titan String Quartet graced us with their beautiful sounds and played both a classical selection, and a more pop-oriented song by Coldplay. It was fun to hear how the various mic positions affected the overall tone of the captured recording.

In addition to string recording, we captured brass and woodwind instruments. Student Dan Wallner played both baritone and tenor saxophone so that we could record and discuss the various challenges presented when capturing such a complex and wide-ranging instrument.

Other students helped by performing on piano, guitar, trumpet, and trombone (Cooper, shown above). They all helped us to helped us to further understand instrumental capture and room acoustics. It is such a benefit to be able to maximize the musical skills of students in order to analyze sound recording on a deeper level. It has been a fun and enlightening experience!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Students get back to work in Fall 2018

We welcomed an enthusiastic group of new Freshmen as students got back to work this Fall. It didn't take long for classes to launch into projects and new learning experiences. One such class is "Care & Repair", which tasks students with upkeep of the university recording studio. Some of our more recent projects have included soldering and repairing microphone cables and organizing important areas of the studio to have a better workflow.

Kristan and Maya hard at work on cable repairs

In another course, Recording Studio Procedures, we started with demonstrating stereo microphone techniques. What better way to show this than with a beautiful Steinway Grand Piano? Several of our students performed for the class so that we could capture the nuances between different microphone positions.

Molly plays us both a classical and "pop" style selection

To take things back to the very beginning, we had a fantastic opening meeting as the semester kicked off. Students used the opportunity to discuss organization opportunities including Students for Music and Songwriting Club. It is great that there are so many ways for students to be involved and continue to learn outside of the classroom. The year is off to a great start in the Music department at UWO!

Music Business professor, Dr. Sharon Tenhundfeld, asks club leader Doug to discuss Songwriting Club to students.