Course 1: The Art of Music Production
- Explore the art of record production and how to make recordings that other people will love listening to. This course will teach you how to make emotionally moving recordings on almost any recording equipment, including your phone or laptop. The emphasis is on mastering tangible artistic concepts; the gear you use is up to you. You will learn to develop the most important tool in the recording studio: your ears. You will learn to enhance every aspect of your own productions, both sonically and musically, by employing deeper listening skills. Assignments will include posting your own recordings for peer review, and reviewing your classmates’ work by employing specific tools and strategies. If you use a digital audio workstation to record and mix, that’s great, but as long as you can record into your computer and post an MP3, you can complete the assignments. As you learn about the art of record production in this 4-week course, you will also learn about yourself and who you are as an artist and producer. It is not necessary that you read music or play an instrument to take this course.
Course 2: The Technology of Music Production
- Learn about the music production process—including recording, editing, and mixing—and the tools available to you to create contemporary music on your computer. With the recent introduction of high-quality-low-cost software and hardware, the tools of music production are now available to the masses. Albums are made in bedrooms as well as studios. On the surface this is liberating. Anyone can make an album for the low cost of a couple pieces of gear and a software package. But, if you dig deeper, you will find that it is not so easy. Producing music requires knowledge, dedication, and creativity. Knowledge is where this course comes in. No matter what kind of music you are making, there is a large set of tools that you will need to use. Each lesson of this course will demonstrate a different set of music production tools, loosely following along the music production process of recording, editing, and mixing. We will start with some background on the nature of sound and how we perceive it. We will then examine the components necessary to record audio into a computer, so that you understand the devices that sound must travel through in a music production process. Once recorded, sound must be organized along a timeline, a process known as editing. It allows us to give the impression of perfect performances and create many of the sounds we hear in contemporary music. The contemporary editing tool is the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), a piece of software that stores and organizes all the assets of a musical project. We will focus on the editing tools that are essential in contemporary music production and that all DAWs provide. After editing, sounds must be combined or mixed together, so we look to the mixing board—a very creative place if you know how to use it. We will explore the basic functionality of both hardware and software mixing boards, including volume, pan, mute, solo, busses, inserts, sends, and submixes. The mixing process, however, includes more tools than the mixing board provides on its own. Sound must also be processed, modified from its recorded state to fit the context of the music. We will look at compression, equalization, and delay, and examine the many audio effects that are offshoots of these devices and how they are used in a musical context. In the end, the music production process relies on your creativity. Creativity is a product of the mind and will stay there, unexpressed, until the right tools are used in the right way to share it with the world. If you have an idea in your head, it will take numerous steps, each with an important tool, to reach your audience. You bring the dedication and creativity, and this course will bring you the knowledge to make that happen.
Course 3: Pro Tools Basics
- Producing music is an incredibly creative process, and knowing the tools of the trade is essential in order to transmit the musical ideas in your head into the DAW in a creative and uninhibited way. Whether you have used a computer to create music before, or you have been curious about production for years, this 4-week course will give you an introductory look into the world of Avid Pro Tools and Pro Tools First.
Course 4: Music Production Capstone
- After successfully completing the three prior courses of the Music Production Specialization, this capstone experience is your chance to use your talent and accumulated knowledge to create and submit a finished, fully produced song. As you go through milestones, you will work on your own or with other musicians to develop a song and vision for the finished product. You will then plan and execute its production, including recording, editing, mixing, and posting the finished product. All along the way, you will receive feedback from the peer review process, allowing you to tweak and refine your finished song.