For a student considering a career in the music industry, learning how to navigate a niche industry is almost as important as gaining technical skills and experience. That’s why the School of Media Arts and Studies’ Music Production Masterclass is so transformative for participants.
The annual class takes MDIA students majoring in the Music Recording and Production Industry (MPRI) to established studios and producers to learn first-hand from top creators. In December, the class went to Public Hi-Fi Studio in Austin, Texas, run by famed producer Jim Eno. Students complete hands-on work with in-studio sessions, which includes access to equipment and the seasoned expertise of Eno and his team.
“All the staff here are so excited and ready to tell you all about every part of the process,” said MPRI Senior Major Grant Simpson. “It’s such a friendly learning and communication environment and it’s so great to be able to witness everything that’s going on in the music industry.”
Eno, whose music industry credentials also include being the drummer for rock band Spoon, hosted the masterclass for six years.
“I am once again very impressed with the caliber of participants I continue to mentor in the program,” Eno said. “Each year, students have demonstrated a solid mastery of the technical and personal skills necessary to succeed in the field of music production. I look forward to meeting the next group of quality seventh-year students. »
This cohort of students got to work with a host of well-known Austin artists and musicians curated by Eno, including NPR Podcast host and musician Song Confessional Walker Lukens, acclaimed singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez and pop trio KVN. All students get engineering credit on songs that come out of these class sessions.
Junior Nate Pommering said being in the studio made him feel “like a kid in a candy store”, but more importantly, it made the dream of a music career come true.
“The experience in Austin showed me that a career in this industry is totally possible, obviously with hard work and all that,” Pommering said. “But it made it more accessible than usual.”
Josh Antonuccio, associate professor and director of the MDIA school, ensures that the masterclass program includes all the essential elements for success in the studio. During the semester leading up to the experience, the group discusses the areas of studio recording, learns about using the digital audio workstation (DAW), and prepares with a breakdown of weekly and daily schedules.
“This course provides essential experiential education opportunities for our music production students to learn how to work on sessions, use music technology, and develop songs through the tracking and mixing process.”
To maintain safety and ensure compliance with Covid protocols, all attendees were up to date with their vaccinations, produced negative PCR tests before travel, and produced negative antigen tests before entering the studio each day.
With this basic knowledge at their disposal, students can soak up the experience once they arrive in Austin.
“It was the best experience I had in college,” said Nathan Cain. “It was like three years of learning packed into six days.”
Sophomore Mariana Stockman accepted.
“It was an experience I will never forget, and I just can’t believe I got to be a part of it,” Stockman said. “In six days, I have never learned so much as in the Public Hi-Fi studio. Every time I enter the studio or even my home studio, I bring my new knowledge with me. I will be forever grateful to have been able to be part of such an eye-opening and intense learning experience.