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 drills, 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: IDL = 100% Interactive Distance Learning

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.

Students in our IDL program are required to purchase 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. Specific items are not guaranteed. Contact the school for more information.

You can find an up-to-date list here. Total: $1650

Gear included in the P.A.K.

  • Avid Pro Tools Standard 1-Year Subscriptions
  • Pace Anti-Piracy iLok USB-A 3rd Generation
  • PreSonus Studio One 5 Professional
  • PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 Desktop 2x2 Audio/Midi Interface
  • Mackie CR3-X Creative Reference Series 3" Multi Media Monitors with Bluetooth
  • Yamaha MG10XU 10 Input Mixer with Built-In FX 2 In/2 Out USB Interface
  • Nektar Technology Impact LX25+ USB MIDI Controller Keyboard
  • Shure SM57-LC Dynamic Instrument Microphone
  • AKG P120 Desktop Vocal Recording Kit
  • Auray MS-5230F Tripod  Microphone Stand with Fixed Boom
  • Zoom F1-LP 2-Input / 2-Track Portable Field Recorder with Lavalier Microphone
  • Zoom XYH-6 - X/Y Microphone Capsule for Zoom H5 and H6 Field Recorders
  • Zoom SGH-6 Shotgun Microphone Capsule for Zoom H5 and H6 Field Recorders
  • Pearstone SM series XLR Male to XLR Female Microphone Cable 3'
  • Sandisk 32GB Extreme UHS-I microSDHC Memory Card with SD Adapter
  • EZQuest USB 3.1 Gen Type-C Male to USB Type-A Female Dongle Adapter

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: 1440x900 
  • Webcam: Yes - used for attendance and exams
  • Microphone: Yes - used or class participation

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 Workstations, also known as DAW’s, 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 starting ground 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 many hands-on exercises, projects, and detailed instruction, students will develop an understanding of digital audio editing, effects processing, mixing, audio production, and critical listening skills. After students have learned the fundamentals of digital audio, they will move into advanced editing techniques for jingle production. When learning with the use of creative projects, classes will learn about elastic audio, time compression, and expansion techniques in Pro Tools. Aligning audio loops and voice overs will be covered to create jingle productions.


RASP 101IDL – Digital Audio Fundamentals

• MacOS & File Management Project

• Pro Tools Editing Project
• Radio Spot Production Project

Music producers must have a good understanding of music theory and artist interaction. In this course students will be introduced to music production and an introductory course in 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 have a good understanding of MIDI, they will quickly move into Music Theory 101 where they will learn about scales, key signatures, and structure, as well as voice leading, aural skills, compositional skills, and notation. Through many hands-on exercises, projects and detailed instruction, students will develop a good understanding of the use of MIDI in Pro Tools and its endless creative possibilities.


During the course projects, students will learn about MIDI and music production, as well as 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 Production

• Multi-Timbral Instrument Project

• Music Theory Project
• Music Production Project
• Sound Design Project

• Remixing Project

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. In this course, students will be introduced to industry standard equipment and techniques including analog consoles, patch-bays, signal flow, outboard processors, and audio recording.


The recording arts course is centered around students working together as a team. During this course, 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 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. Students will also learn the techniques of shopping productions for music artists. 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
• Class Production Project
• Songwriting Project
• Performing Rights Organization Project

Audio engineers must have a good understanding of music production and the technical equipment used during the mixing process. Mix engineers must have effective communication skills and an understanding of the terminology used in the recording studio. In this course, students will be introduced to the techniques of mixing various genres of music. Students will also learn about 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 process of mastering.

Students will master their final mix project in the DAW, Studio One, as well as learn the techniques of restoring inadequate quality audio. Students will also master all projects that were produced in the previous courses which will be sequenced on their demo reel. By the end of this course, students will have a good understanding of advanced editing and mixing techniques, as well as audio mastering and restoration. Students will complete this course by producing an audio demo reel.

RASP 104IDL – Recoding Arts 201

• Class Production Mix Project

• Audio Mastering Project
• Audio Restoration Project

• Demo Reel Project

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 how to scout a location for a shoot and interviewing techniques. Students will capture high quality audio using boom microphones, as well as lavalier and plant microphone techniques learned in the course. Students will then transfer the audio recorded on set and use the editing techniques learned in previous courses to clean the audio and sync to camera.


Once students have a good understanding of location sound and field recording, they will learn sound scaping. Sound scaping is a technique used to analyze different landscapes and habitats. Students will learn Kaleidoscope, a DAW used to analyze various soundscapes. By the end of this course, students will have a particularly good understanding of working on set for TV and film, as well as capturing audio during field recording and analyzing the soundscape of various habitats.


RASP 105IDL – Music Mixing and Mastering

• Signal Flow Project
• Field Recording Project

• Interviewing Project
• Soundscape Project

Audio post-production and sound design 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, compose a score, and surround sound mixing. During each class, a specific audio post- production technique is learned and then applied to the student’s class project, which is 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. Additionally, students will be introduced to game audio and will implement sound using a video game engine.


RASP 106 – Sound for Visual Media 101

• Short Film Project
• Audio Post Project
• Field Recording Project

The audiovisual (A/V) industry is one of the top industries for employment in the audio field. Students that graduate from the program are equipped with the knowledge to obtain an entry-level job in the A/V industry. In this course, students will learn the practices of A/V signal flow and setup through system design projects.


During the course, students will use industry standard system analysis and design programs for venues and theaters. As the course progresses, students will be introduced to various streaming services and will learn how to operate streaming programs. By the end of this course, students will have a good understanding of designing concert venues, conferences and steaming services.


RASP 107 – Sound for Visual Media 201

• Sound System Design Project

• Theater Design Project
• Streaming Project

Game audio is the art of collecting or producing sounds to implement in a game or interactive media. Students will learn advanced sound design techniques to use when creating sounds or ambience for video games. During the course, students will learn middleware programs that are used to implement the sounds in the game or interactive media.


Through these projects, students will learn more advanced file management and naming conventions for digital media and how multiple departments communicate to develop a video game. Students will also learn how game engines work and will integrate the game engine and middleware to create their own unique game. By the end of this course, students will have a good understanding of what it takes to design, create, and implement sounds for their favorite video games.


RASP 108IDL – Show Production

• (3) Sound Design Project

• Middleware Project
• Implementation Project

• Playback System Project

• Portfolio Project