Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Recording Voice in the Recital Hall

As a part of our Recording Studio Procedures class, we had the exciting opportunity to record professor Jessica Timman Schwefel on voice and professor Kirstin Ihde on piano in order to demonstrate a recording in the recital hall using our mobile recording setup. The performances included a piece from an romantic-era opera by Jules Massenet, as well as a musical theatre style performance from "A Chorus Line".

The process involved using an Allen & Heath mixing console and audio interface to a laptop. We coincidentally used all AKG brand condenser microphones including a vocal mic, pair of mics on the piano, and also a stereo pair of small-diaphragm condenser mics placed back in the hall in order to capture the sound of the acoustic space. We are so grateful to have had such a fantastic demonstration!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Fun Evening at Manila for the First Alumni Event

During homecoming week on October 21, the Music Industry program hosted it's first alumni event at Manila Resto in downtown Oshkosh. The event followed up the jazz band concert and was attended by a number of students and faculty, as well as alumni and friends.

The evening also featured student-led band, "Pam the Bear", who were the perfect fun and upbeat musical entertainment for the night. The event was a great way to bring together people who are connected with not only the Music Industry program, but also the Oshkosh music community as a whole. We are planning to make this is the first of many future gatherings!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Alumni Event to be hosted at Manila in Oshkosh

For over four decades, the UWO Music Industry Program has been providing an outstanding education to students. The exceptional faculty and staff in the Music Department have helped to pave the way for countless successful careers by creating and maintaining a climate of excellence. Of course, this is also due to the vision and ingenuity of the program’s founder, Wally Messner. I’m pleased to say that the program continues to be strong and has very bright future ahead.

During this transitional time, the program has a major opportunity not only to work with our current students and recent grads, but also to rekindle and build relationships with alumni. Our graduates are the solid foundation that this program is built upon, and the help and support that I have already received from alumni has been enormously helpful.

In celebration of this wonderful history, the UW Oshkosh Music Industry Program is bringing together alumni and friends for a night of great music and reunion at Manila Resto in Downtown Oshkosh. The event starts at 9:30pm on Friday, October 21, 2016.

The evening will feature an acoustic music set by horn-driven rock band, Pam The Bear (featuring UWO students), as well as a cash bar for drinks and appetizers. We hope to have a big turnout!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Program Alum on Team that Wins a "Creative Arts Emmy Award"

Music Industry program alum, Bill Higley, was part of a team that recently won an "Outstanding Sound Mixing" award for the Amazon Studios show, "Mozart in the Jungle". Bill is an ADR mixer for the show, but emphasized that the award included re-recording mixers Andy D'Addario and Gary Gegan, fellow ADR mixer Chris Navarro, as well as production mixer, Thomas Varga.

Bill with members of the Mozart In The Jungle Mix Team: Gary Gegan, Chris Navarro and Thomas Varga

It is always exciting and special to see the phenomenal work that program graduates are doing in so many forms. He told us that it has been a pleasure to work with the team and he was honored to have been a part of the award. We thank Bill for sharing his accomplishment, and look forward to continuing to follow him and the successes of other alumni!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Gearing up for the Fall 2016 School Year

The Fall semester is ready to begin, and we're all set for another busy stretch of classes and studio sessions. There's a lot to be excited about, including:

  • An upgraded Pro Tools studio with new accessories and acoustic paneling
  • A large incoming Freshman class of Recording Tech and Music Business Majors
  • Continued strong enrollment of Music Industry Minors
  • Full enrollment in the Recording Tech and Audio for Video classes
  • New equipment for live concert multi-track recording in the Recital Hall
  • A big group of students in "Care & Repair" class to continue to make improvements and upgrades
We are looking forward to continued growth, student projects, music performances, internship opportunities, and student successes!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Students Compose and Play a Jazz Fusion Piece at Convocation

During the second half of the semester of our "Session & Mixdown" class, the students agreed that they wanted to compose and record a piece of music as a class. We quickly learned that this can be quite a challenge with so many people and different ideas involved. It didn't take long, however, for an idea to take form. Based on a theme composed by pianist Ashton Boyd, the song formed into a jazz fusion piece. Bassist Tyler Dworak titled the piece "Out There", and helped to shape the story of an astronaut lost in outer space.

As the recording progressed over several weeks, the group then had the idea to perform the piece during the final convocation of the semester. Although we knew that it would be a short timeframe to pull together the live performance, they took on the challenge and made it happen!

The studio recording is soon to come. Here's a recording of the convocation performance:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

WRST FM Hosts an Open House

In addition to all that the Department of Music has to offer, the university also has a fantastic and robust Radio/TV/Film program in the same building. This past week, they hosted an open house at the WRST FM radio station in order to show off the facilities to the public.

Since we were finishing up our Care and Repair class, we decided to make the short walk over to meet up with Professor Randall Davidson and other RTF faculty and staff. We had a great time checking out their technology and music collection, and I know that we will continue to deepen our connection to their program through Music Industry minors and other collaborations via the recording studio and radio station.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Caring and Repairing in the Studio

The class is hard at work on soldering cables and doing repairs 

A Friday tradition throughout the history of the Music Industry program has been the "Care & Repair" class. As you might imagine, as gear is utilized and many projects are taken on throughout the semester, it's only natural that there are parts that break and pieces of gear that need to be fixed.

Desi thoroughly cleans a channel strip from the console

One of the most common repairs is when cables need to be re-soldered. Aside from that, we also find ourselves often doing fixes to the vintage Sony mixing console, and cleaning up or tweaking equipment to ensure it's maximum sonic fidelity.

Dylan and Gabi work on a channel from the Sony mix console

One additional major task this year has been working on the studio design itself. From new curtains to adding new fiberglass paneling to the walls, there were a lot of tasks aimed at optimizing the studio both acoustically and aesthetically. We have all greatly enjoyed learning about the process of studio upkeep in both the analog and digital realm, and I look forward to continuing the process of working on our creative space for working and learning.

Replacement VU meter bulbs in our vintage Urei compressors

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Special Guests Visit the Recording Studio, Bearing Gifts!

The students were really excited for Wally to visit for an afternoon!
It was a huge treat to be paid a visit last week from program founder Wally Messner and one of his former students, Carlos Lewison. Over the past year, Carlos has been working with another alum, Darron Weasler, in order to have some DBX noise reduction units fixed so that they work with the analog tape machine.

Carlos with one of the nine DBX 150x Noise Reduction units he brought
Not only were they able to get them repaired at a DBX factory, but Carlos visited and delivered the units to us at the studio! Therefore, we took the opportunity to talk to the Care & Repair class about how noise reduction works, and have Wally help to explain how to properly calibrate the analog tape machine.

Wally checks the voltage while Adam makes adjustments on the tape machine
Although digital recording is very prominent in most studios today, there is an increasingly relevant niche for analog recorders and equipment, and having and understanding of that calibration and setup process will only strengthen our student's understanding of signal flow and gain staging. It was a great learning experience for us all!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Musicopian Performs on an A Cappella Recording

For a recent "Session & Mixdown" class, we invited the a cappella group, Musicopian, to perform a song for us to record. Student Ryan Lindley helped to organize the recording and chose the song "Hymn of Acxiom" by Vienna Teng.

The project was a great way for students to practice setting up microphones for groups of musicians and understand the intricacies of microphone placement and spacing. It also required us to run cables between the studio and choir room, which presents new challenges with both setup and communication. We were all very pleased with the final results!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Student Creates Music Videos for UWO Admissions

Blog post by Michael Lokken:

Multimedia projects involving audio and video recordings are produced in the Admissions Office at Oshkosh on a regular basis. Being one of the number of Music Industry and Radio-TV-Film students expressing interest in music videos, working together as a team of social media representatives has helped sustain several years of a music video making tradition. In 2012, we used the ProTools studio to record the vocals for a cover of a Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City song:

The most recent project done in the Spring of '15 was my biggest project to date and uses a mixture of popular songs done in different styles with a variety of acoustic and virtual synth instruments. The challenge of producing a mockup with songs in different tempos meant that transitions had to be planned out in advance then transcribed for the corresponding instruments before being recorded. Students of the music program stepped in to perform violin, trombone, trumpet, drum set and bass while members of the Admissions Office performed on acoustic guitar, ukulele, vocals, clapping, saxophone, electric guitar and MIDI keyboard.

In 2013 UW Oshkosh Admissions did a collaboration with Mario MA Johnson and Alexander Jay in an Admissions original entitled "I Am A Titan". The vocal mixing was taken on as a Recording Practicum project and additional vocals were performed by Ashley Valentine of the Recording Major. I organized a lot of the locations and backdrops for this one.

"Best Day of My Life" was recorded, mixed and mastered by Zach Schimenz in 2014. He also arranged a few parts of an instrumental track beneath the vocals, drums, bass, guitar and banjo. I contacted the copyright holders, Sony and Roundhill Music, and got permission for UW Oshkosh to officially release the video as a cover of the American Authors’ song which reached Number 1 on the US Billboard Adult Top 40. Brady Lee emulated the vocal style of the lead singer Zac Barnett, Megan Clarke performed on the drum set, office staff performed the bass/guitar and recruited a member of Greek Life to perform the banjo.

All videos contained are publications of the UW Oshkosh Admissions official YouTube channel and are shown at University Preview Days.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Recording "The Present Age" in Session & Mix Class

Photo by Jason Dordel
Each Spring semester, we have a group recording class that focuses on taking the skills we have learned and transitioning into full studio tracking and mix projects in a variety of genres. Our first project of the semester has tasked us with recording a song by the band "The Present Age", which consists of students Isaac and Logan Lamers.

Photo by Jason Dordel
Recording this new and original song has tasked us with recording a full drum kit, followed by bass and electric guitar, and will wrap up with adding keyboards and vocals next week. Just a few of the skills that we discuss are understanding signal flow, setting proper gain at the analog mixing console, and routing digitally into Pro Tools.

Photo by Jason Dordel
Each session presents us with the inevitable problems that require us to troubleshoot and determine the source of the issue. Once we have gotten things sorted out, the results have sounded fantastic! Isaac and Logan have impressed us with their musical skill and ability to lay down tracks in a short timeframe. We are looking forward to finishing the tracking and starting work on the mix!

Photo by Jason Dordel

Friday, February 5, 2016

Studio Upgrades in Progress

There has been a lot of work done during the past semester in working toward completing a $14,000 upgrade in the recording studio! The students helped a lot with painting and a number of other projects intended to increase functionality and take advantage of the latest technology. The upgrades in the studio include:
  • An Apple iMac with a dual screen setup
  • Updated software including Pro Tools, Logic, and the Adobe Creative Cloud
  • An Antelope 32-channel audio interface and converter
  • Upgraded fiberglass and foam acoustic wall materials
  • Various new microphones, headphones and cables
  • New studio furniture, curtains and repair tools

Projects thus far have been very successful, and we are looking forward to doing more updates and tweaks in order to turn the studio into a recording powerhouse! Video tour soon to come.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fall 2015 Practicum Students Finish their Projects

Each semester, Recording Technology students are given the option to take a Recording Practicum course, which allows them to pursue independent projects in the recording studio. After several years of courses to prepare them in the studio, the Practicum course allows for the independence to learn and troubleshoot throughout the semester.

Ultimately, each student is required to present two final mixed and mastered tracks, which we all listen to during the last week of class. Here's a brief highlight mix of the projects. You'll notice there's a very broad diversity of both musical and mix styles! Featuring tracks recorded by Ben Binner, Dylan Finley, Gabi Hass, Matthew Mikunda, David Pietila, Adam Robinson, Isaac Stolzer-Gary, Catherine Taddy, Adam McKinney, and Derek Fredericksen.