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Thread: What do recording students need to know?

  1. #71
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    Lynn -
    Best of luck with all of this, I am excited there are proactive steps being taken to integrate these classes into our schools. IMHO, things that should be covered in a first semester, intro to recording class:

    1. A music theory prerequisite - scales, intervals, comprehension of major vs. minor, voice training. (Not trying to be sarcastic, but are there still these types of music classes in public school?)
    2. Ear training - identify different frequencies and octaves, polarity, use white noise samples and black box algorithms as test material
    3. Basic electronics - Transducers, current, voltage, AC vs. DC, impedance
    4. Digital audio basics. FS, file structure, compression algorithms, aliasing
    5, Microphone 101 - velocity / capacitor / dynamic, diaphragms, amplifiers, impedance

    Seems to me each of these need to be understood before patchbays, consoles, and recording are considered.
    Last edited by JeffSochor; 10-04-2009 at 03:49 AM. Reason: grammar correction

  2. #72
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    Default curriculum for HS audio class

    I am joiining the fray late, but, Lynn, your question was this:

    "A high school age student, what does he need to know to go into recording?

    I asked if this course was being designed as career development or as a college prep course. They would like it to be both."

    I would like to chime in as one who has taught an audio class at the community college level.

    The first questions I've asked are: "what is expected of the student at the end of the course?" and "will this class tie in with other courses in the Mass Comm./Media areas, like TV/Film production or live event production for school productions?" If so, get them on that gear. Success in their environment will inspire them to continue.

    Do not get mired down teaching software. Where I tought, they used Digital Performer, I did not focus on that, instead I focused on concepts, signal routing, levels, sonic quality....

    Discuss microphone types. Show them by design, and by polar pattern. Cover phantom powering. Discuss special use mics (film/TV, stereo, etc.) Discuss studio vs live show gear.

    Get their hands on gear.
    Take them to a facility (field trip!) with great gear/facilities. A little WOW factor will keep them inspired.

    Signal flow and connectors. Show how cables are wired and when the polarity of one is reversed, bad things happen. Show that using adapters is not the best way.... They should know how a mixer works, the differences between mic and line level. Why and how balanced audio works. these lessons should be focused on getting clean signals around your environment, and how to figure out what is wrong (like your weather map example).

    Critical listening. Bring in examples of recordings and what they should be listening for. (I liked using examples of mono '60s songs, production styles from 70s and 80s, use of reverb and effects, the differences between jazz, classical, rock, and other stlyes of music when recorded. Also, little things that you hear on recordings that were left in because the performance was so good. (good examples are classical music page turns, or the squeaky kick pedal in Led Zeppelin's "Since I've been lovin you" Later, have them bring in examples of songs that they enjoy for its sonic quality or for production elements they like. the concept - get them listening to things other than lyrics or guitar solos - remember, these are high schoolers with limited attention spans.

    Cover signal processing - eq, comps, time effects.

    When it comes time to record, have them record some quality musicians AND some true amateurs - perhaps classmates who have a band.

    Discuss digital formats - pro and consumer. Teach about clocking devices and digital. teach about lossy formats like MP3, and give examples of how the quality degrades as the bit rate drops. No need for detail like Nyquist freq, etc. at this age.

    Discuss current trends in mastering/loudness. show waveform examples.
    Discuss PA systems.
    Discuss levels, metering and their importance.
    For projects, 1. have them record a voice, and mix it over a music track. this can be a song, or a voiceover for a commercial. I prefer the latter. 2. have them mix pre-recorded tracks of a song. 3. have them all involved in the tracking of a band, then have them all indiviually mix it. Compare the results.
    When it comes to mixing, give them the framework and basic rules, then let them go, they will surprise you.

    You will be surprised how quickly the time flies in the semester. Giving them the basics, in a language they can relate to, will go a long way. You will be surprised at the good questions they will ask, and how creative some of them can be.

    Hope that helps.
    DV
    "Television without a picture is radio.
    Television without sound is furniture."
    - unknown source.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    A high school age student, what does he need to know to go into recording?
    How to wait tables?

  4. #74
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    Very helpful. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by asylum sound View Post
    I am joiining the fray late, but, Lynn, your question was this:
    The one thing I've noticed as I teach classes is how much more I know than I realize. I'm overwhelmed by how much I take for granted. Granted, there's a lot more I don't know than I do, but I've done classes where I tried to cover elements ranging from 4 to 7 (on a scale of 1-10) and found that I can easily spend an hour or two on just getting from 0 to 1. And it will be incredibly well received because you can't start off building the second floor.

    It's just like with professional sessions. There are so many things that are taken for granted. On that 1-10 scale, pro sessions start out at a 7 before the producer walks in the door.

    The key points to me are 1) understanding the audience and 2) knowing where they need to know. If I want to learn how to change a flat and someone starts with teaching me about "the nature of compressed air," it's not going to be very relevant to me.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    If I want to learn how to change a flat and someone starts with teaching me about "the nature of compressed air," it's not going to be very relevant to me.
    Very well said. It may be a sad reality, but there are many great singers that don't know a lick of music...and probably many great engineers that don't know the difference between balanced and unbalanced, just as an example.
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  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by QNote View Post
    Very well said. It may be a sad reality, but there are many great singers that don't know a lick of music...and probably many great engineers that don't know the difference between balanced and unbalanced, just as an example.
    That is well and good, but if someone is in a class to -learn- to sing, SOMEONE better be telling him something other than 'gee, you sing good.' You cannot TEACH talent, and it is a poor teacher who sends his students of any stripe out into the world without the tools that they need to display any talent or propensity they might have for the job.

    I've said this here before... I used to walk into a room full of engineers and producers and I felt really really inferior because they knew so much more than I did. (Usually I just say that 'if I'm the smartest, most experienced guy in the room, we're in trouble') Generally they came from more technical backgrounds. Generally, they had more experience. Now I find a room full of people making claims to be engineers, maybe even getting paid to be engineers, and they don't actually know why they do the things that they do or how these things are supposed to improve the sound. I applaud the intent to instill in high school age youth the idea that there is more to the work than pushing faders or adding pluggins.
    Bill Park
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  7. #77
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    Sorry.

    How about this?

    Since you're talking High School students...

    While a well rounded engineering program should include music theory and electronics, I think the students would be better served, and you would hold their interest better by keeping things on a practical level.

    Rather than music theory per se, include a survey of musical styles and cover song structure (verse, chorus, bridge...) and basic arrangement concepts.

    Rather than detailed electronics, focus on connector types and applications. Have a lab that teaches basic soldering skills.

    Less theory, more hands on.

    But I would also be straight about the reality of the job market.

    Better?

  8. #78
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    Being a bitter curmudgeon, I'd suggest in the 1st hour to teach students to stay completely away from internet audio sites until the students have demonstrated an ability to differentiate between a crayon and a microphone
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  9. #79
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    Perhaps include a unit on the economic realities of being a small business (or self-employed) in the 21st century. The recording job market, how business is generated, taxes, liabilities, depreciating assets... all that good stuff.

  10. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by OKden View Post
    Perhaps include a unit on the economic realities of being a small business (or self-employed) in the 21st century. The recording job market, how business is generated, taxes, liabilities, depreciating assets... all that good stuff.
    I'm not sure that an 18 year old who wants to make a record has ANY interest in any of those subjects. That's Business 101 not Recording 101.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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