Recording Arts & Show Production


In this course students will learn about many of the exciting possibilities the audio engineering industry offers. They will explore the science of sound, digital audio, computer music production, and fundamentals of the Mac OS. Students will quickly move into one of the primary tools of the audio industry, the DAW. During their introductory course students will focus on learning the industry standard workstation, AVID Pro Tools. Through many hands-on exercises, projects and detailed instruction, students will develop an understanding of digital audio editing, effects processing, mixing, audio engineering production, and critical listening skills.

After students have learned the fundamentals of digital audio they will move into MIDI. During their instruction students will learn the primary aspects of music production using MIDI instruments. Students will start using MIDI in Pro Tools and then introduced to another DAW, Apple’s Logic Pro X. With this industry standard software, students are introduced to sound design, jingle production, re-mixing, and sampling. By the end of Fundamentals of Audio and MIDI, students will have a well-rounded understanding of digital audio, MIDI, and music production using Pro Tools and Logic Pro X.

Students are first introduced to the concept of career development, what it means, and its monumental purpose in helping them find a job in the audio engineering and music production industry. They will focus on the design of their own personal portfolio which will include a cover letter, resume, business card, and self marketing social media outlets like SoundCloud, Youtube, and Vimeo. This week is wrapped up by covering interviewing skills with an instructor-led mock interview session.

Students will be exposed to industry standard equipment and audio engineering techniques, including analog consoles, patch-bays, signal-flow, outboard processors, maintenance, and audio recording. The Recording Arts course provides students the opportunity to work together to create podcasts, radio spots, artist recording, artist development, microphone techniques, studio maintenance, soldering, and more advanced recording, editing, and audio engineering techniques such as drum replacement, advanced editing, studio maintenance, session production, and pitch correction.

During the course, students will work on several projects such as a podcast, a radio commercial, several recording sessions, including a solo artist and a class production project, and mixes of these sessions. This course is where students learn to work as a team in order to deliver a final product to a client. This culminates in the class audio production project where students produce a demo and develop an EPK (electronic press kit) of an artist or band that they recruit.

By the end of the Recording Arts course, students will have a firm understanding of the recording process, studio etiquette, studio maintenance, independent music production, podcast, radio spot, voice production, and teamwork.

The second week of Career Development will center in on a student’s audio engineering internship and academic experience. Students will learn how to update the portfolios created in the first week of Career Development. This week will also go over proper networking skills and business etiquette. Students finish off the week by making sure all of their requirements are met for graduation.

Sound for video games, television, film, video, and the internet is one of the most exciting and encompassing parts of the audio engineering industry. Modern audio professionals must have an understanding of how the audio post-production process works, which they will explore in depth throughout this course.

Students will learn how to operate a control surface, record dialogue (ADR), Foley arts, sound design,  synchronization, and surround mixing. During each class, a specific post audio engineering technique is taught and then applied to their class project, posting a scene from a film, video game cutscene, or television spot.

By the end of the course, the students – using music production skills – Will have scored recorded dialogue, Foley, sound effects, and re-recorded a class post production project. All sounds will have been added by the students and mixed in surround sound. Additionally, students will be introduced to game audio and complete a project integrating the sound and music using a video game engine. With an overall picture of the Sound for Visual Media industry, students can peruse many different audio engineering career options.

After Sound for Visual Media, students will be guided through a course on acoustics and audio mastering. Here, students will learn about how sound is affected by different environments and room acoustics.

After learning the fundamentals of acoustics, students will jump into digital mastering using the industry standard mastering workstation, soundBlade. They will explore how to put the final touches on a mix using EQ, Compression, Limiting, and other audio engineering techniques. Students will learn how to create a production master including sequencing, metadata, editing, and DDP file delivery.  Mastering is the final stage in any production before the master is sent for commercial release, and is a critical skill in audio production.

By the end of this course, students will have a solid understanding of basic acoustics and the techniques needed to master all of the media for their Class Production Project and Demo Reel.

Live sound is one of the largest and most exciting aspects of the audio engineering industry. There are more audio careers in live sound, audio visuals, installation, and touring than any other area of the audio engineering industry. It is essential for any audio engineering  professional to understand the principles of Live Sound and Audio Visual Production and this course prepares our students for this career path.

In this course, students will learn the theories and practices used in sound reinforcement, audio visual production, theater, and installations. We start by learning how sound systems work and are set up along with live sound console operation. As the course progresses, students set up sound systems, use stage plots, and create monitor and front of house mixes. They will have two projects in which first they design a live sound system, and then an audio visual setup to showcase their understanding of components and signal flow.

Throughout the course, students will learn the invaluable skills of troubleshooting, safety, audio electronics, and maintenance. Along with the technical aspects of show production we will explore stage and tour management, along with live sound reinforcement and audio visual production.

Under the supervision of a professional, student internships are conducted in the many fields of audio engineering, music production, recording arts, and show production. Student skills will be assessed and the internship will provide students with the opportunity to further develop business skills and gain exposure to the work environment.

Internships will allow students to take initiative and become accountable for their experience. F.I.R.S.T. encourages students to make lasting relationships and also to practice the skills learned during Career Development, class lectures and hands-on training. Practical training for each student will vary considerably, but all opportunities should teach students about their industry and set expectations for entry-level employment upon graduation.