Recording Arts & Show Production IDL

The Recording Arts and Show Production IDL program is designed to teach students the fundamentals of recording arts and show production, including live sound reinforcement and audio-visual production. Students will receive remote education using up-to-date technology for all types of audio production.

A wide spectrum of professional audio is covered throughout several courses covering areas in both studio, location, installation, and live settings. In each course, students will develop their skills under the mentorship of industry professionals, preparing them for an entry-level position in the audio industry.

Students are graded and held accountable for each course they experience during their instruction at F.I.R.S.T Institute. Consistent exercises, labs, tests, and quizzes keep students engaged in the information presented by the instructors.

Prerequisite: Basic Mac and internet competencies. High school level English or higher.

Delivery Methodology: Interactive Distance Learning (online)

Average Class Size: 15-20 Students

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates obtain a Diploma.

Thirty-Nine (39) Weeks – 1014 Clock Hours / 91.26 Academic Quarter Credit Hours

811 Hours / 81.11 Academic Quarter Credit Hours – Instruction 203 / 10.15 Academic Quarter Credit Hours – Lab

What is Interactive Distance Learning?

Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) is not your typical online education. Students in our IDL programs get the full classroom experience from the comfort of their homes. This is a fully-engaged diploma program that gives students the opportunity to learn hands-on with industry-standard gear and equipment provided in their Creative P.A.K. Each IDL class includes live lectures with instructors, time to work on projects, video conferencing, student-to-student interaction, individual demos, and more.

Personal Academic Kit (Included)

Students in our Recording Arts & Show Production program receive a Creative P.A.K. to use during the course of their program and beyond. The digital media industry and its relevant technology are ever-changing, so specific items in your Creative P.A.K. may be updated from time to time.

Gear included in the P.A.K.*

  • Avid Pro Tools
  • Midi Keyboard – Arturia Keylab Essential mk3 49 key
  • USB hub
  • Studio One
  • Mixer and Recording Kit – Soundcraft notepad mixer, AKG mic and studio kit
  • Dynamic mic – Shure SM57 stage kit
  • Field Recorder – Tascam Portacapture X6
  • Izotope RX 10
  • Interface – Solid State Logic SSL 2
  • Adapter for mixer – USB 2.0 A to B cable

*Specific items are not guaranteed. Contact the school for more information.

Class Materials (Required)
Class Materials (Required)

Students are required to be prepared for class. This includes having these items at all times: pen, writing paper/notebook, ID badge, and all required materials for their program. The following required items are not included in the tuition. It is the student’s responsibility to purchase the items for use in their first day of class.

Computer Requirements:

  • Operating System: macOS 10.15, macOS Big Sur (11.*), or mac OS Monterey (12.*)
  • Processor: Intel or Apple Silicon (Rosetta2 Supported)
  • RAM: 8 GB of RAM (16 GB Recommended)
  • Hard Drive Space: 256 GB with minimum 40 GB available
  • Monitor Resolution: 1440×900 
  • Webcam: Yes – used for attendance and exams
  • Microphone: Yes – used for class participation
  • Click here to view Apple’s education pricing for new computers. 

Internet Requirements:

  • Broadband or higher from your internet service provider (minimum 100 Mbps) for your computer or any other device to access Canvas materials.
Digital Audio Fundamentals

Digital Audio Workstations, also known as DAWs, are an integral part of the modern audio industry. DAWs are used in all aspects of the audio industry, from the recording studio to live show production. In this course, students will be introduced to DAWs and will learn about the many exciting possibilities the audio industry has to offer.


Learning the basics of computer technology is the foundation for classes enrolled in the program. Students will also learn the principles of sound and the history of recorded sound. From there, students will 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’s Pro Tools.


Through multiple hands-on exercises and detailed instruction, students will develop an understanding of digital audio editing, effects processing, mixing, audio production, sound design, and critical listening skills. With the application of creative projects, classes will learn about elastic audio, time compression, and expansion techniques utilizing Pro Tools software. Students will then further their knowledge by aligning audio loops and voice overs to create jingle productions. In addition, students will get the opportunity to work on a sound design clip using audio and MIDI, creating a unique sound design project for their demo reel which can be used in their professional portfolio.


RASP 101IDL – Digital Audio Fundamentals

• MacOS & File Management Project

• Pro Tools Editing Project
• Pro Tools Mixing Project
• Radio Spot Production Project

• Sound Design Project

Music Theory

Music producers must possess a strong understanding of music theory and artist interaction. In this course, students will be introduced to music production and the basics of music theory. Many music producers use MIDI to create and modify their productions. Students will learn about MIDI and the various instruments in Pro Tools.


Once students gain a solid understanding of MIDI, they will quickly move into music theory, learning about scales, key signatures, structure, voice leading, aural skills, compositional skills, and notation. Through various hands-on exercises, projects, and detailed instruction, students develop a good understanding of the use of MIDI in Pro Tools and its endless creative possibilities.


During the course projects, students expand on their knowledge exploring sound design, scoring, remixing, and sampling techniques. By the end of this course, students will have a firm understanding of music theory and music production in Pro Tools.


RASP 102IDL – Music Theory

• MIDI Project
• Music Theory Project

• Remixing Project

Recording Arts 101

Working in the recording studio is an incredibly fun and creative environment for audio engineers and music producers. Having a good understanding of all technical equipment in the recording studio is essential for any audio engineer. This course introduces students to industry-standard equipment and techniques, including analog consoles, patch-bays, signal flow, outboard processors, and audio recording.


This course is centered around students working together as a team. During this couse, students will work on several signal flow projects where they will learn the techniques used for installing and connecting studio equipment. Students will also learn about industry-standard microphones and the fundamental microphone techniques used for recording vocals and various musical instruments.


Students will work together as a team to produce and record an original song, podcast, radio spot, and a songwriting project. By the end of this course, students will have a firm understanding of finding clients, the recording process, studio etiquette, signal flow, teamwork, and registering their productions with performing rights organizations.


RASP 103IDL – Recording Arts 101

• Jingle Production Project
• Podcast Production Project

• Recording Session Project

• Studio Design Project

Recording Arts 201 

This course utilizes all of the knowledge of signal flow, microphone techniques, patching, studio etiquette, and communication learned from the previous course for practical application. Students will assemble a class production where they work together to produce a song from scratch. They will build teamwork skills as they collaborate from writing the music and lyrics to recording live instruments and vocals.


Following this project, the students will work with musical artists and bands to record and produce songs for a solo artist and full band. Working together, students will scout artists and bands to recruit and schedule the musicians for multiple recording sessions. This course ends with various professional development projects to provide students with a vast knowledge of freelancing and operating a business in the recording industry.


RASP 104IDL – Recording Arts 201

• Class EP Production Project

Music Mixing & Mastering

Audio engineers must have a solid comprehension of music production and the technical equipment used during the mixing process. Mix engineers require good communication skills and an understanding of the terminology used in the recording studio. In this course, students will be introduced to techniques for mixing various genres of music.


Students will dive into more advanced editing techniques, vocal tuning, sample replacement, as well as critical listening skills, and mix analysis. During these mixing projects, students will align drums, add samples, tune vocals, and learn industry-standard editing shortcuts that will improve their workflow.


During the course projects, students will learn about mixing music for specific genres and will develop their ears through various critical listening exercises. Once students have completed these mixing projects, they will learn the mastering process.


The course concludes with students producing an audio demo reel. Students will master their demo reel project in the DAW, Studio One, as well as learn the techniques of restoring poor quality audio. Students will also master all projects that were produced in the previous courses which will then be sequenced on their demo reel. By the end of this course, students will have gained a strong understanding of advanced editing and mixing techniques, as well as audio mastering and restoration.


RASP 105IDL – Music Mixing and Mastering

• Drum Editing & Sample Replacement Project

• DAW Mix Project
• Songwriting Project Mix
• Class Production Project Mix

• EP Project Mix
• Demo Reel Project
• Portfolio Mastering
• Audio Restoration Project

Location Sound

Location sound and field recording is an exciting industry for students to learn and experience. In this course, students will be introduced to location sound and the techniques used for capturing high quality audio on set. During the course, students will learn about set etiquette, synchronization, microphone techniques, field recording and camera framing.


Once students have a good understanding of the techniques used to record high quality audio on set, they will learn interviewing techniques and how to scout a location for a shoot. Students will capture high quality audio using boom microphones, as well as learn lavalier and plant microphone techniques. Students will then transfer the audio recorded on set, and using the editing techniques learned in previous courses, clean the audio and sync to camera. By the end of this course, students will have a very good understanding about working on set for TV and film, as well as capturing audio using field recording techniques.


RASP 106IDL – Location Sound

• Field Recording Project

• Interviewing Project

Sound For Visual Media

Sound for Visual Media teaches students the techniques of adding sound for visual media. In this course, students will be introduced to the exciting and creative audio post industry. During the course, students will learn about the creative process of sound design and Foley. Students will also learn how to operate an industry-standard control surface, record dialogue (ADR), create sound effects and compose a score, as well as stereo, surround sound and Atmos mixing.


During each class, a specific audio post-production technique is learned and then applied to the students’ class project: posting audio to a scene from a film, video game or television spot. By the end of the course, students will have scored, recorded dialogue, Foley, sound effects and re-recorded two post projects.


RASP 107IDL – Sound for Visual Media

• Voice Over Project
• Soundscape Project
• Short Post Project
• Audio Post Project
• Group Post Project
• Sound Design and Scoring Project

Show Production

Live sound is one of the largest and most exciting aspects of the entertainment industry. There are many more career opportunities in live sound and touring than in any other area of the audio industry. It is essential for any audio professional to understand the principles of live sound.


This course prepares our students for this career path. Classes will learn the theories and practices used in sound reinforcement, theater, and touring applications. Learning how sound systems work and are setup, along with live sound console operation, are the introductory topics in this course. As the course progresses, classes set up sound systems, use stage-plots, create artist monitor mixes, and make front-of-house mixes for a live audience.


Throughout the course, students will learn the invaluable skills of system setup and installation, troubleshooting, safety, maintenance, streaming, and playback systems.


RASP 108IDL – Show Production

• Live Event Project
• Stage Plot & Input List Project

• Feedback Project
• Dante Certification