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Advanced Studio Production II: Syllabus
MCO3340 - CRN: 60030, Purchase College Spring ‘17
Room #MUS-0001 Thursdays 4:30-6:20
(prerequisite- Advanced Studio Production I)

Instructor: Peter Denenberg / 914.251.7933

Course Description
Advanced Studio Production II continues to cover the “hardware” side of things in advanced detail now as found in the modern recording/project studio. Elaborate, even esoteric technical and creative approaches to producing music are explored. We listen to and analyze works by students, instructor and outside artists. Focus on developing a professional attitude learning to process opinions in a positive way, there can be more than one “right way” after all.

As much as is practical classes will include group projects and hands on demonstrations. In depth analysis of production workflows and “how to produce” will be demonstrated with in-class recording projects led by the instructor.

Recommended Reading
The Recording Engineers Handbook / Bobby Owsinski
ISBN-10: 1285442016,
ISBN-13: 978-1285442013

This subject requires all students to have access to a digital audio workstation (DAW). The recommended DAW is ProTools 12. The following DAWs may also be used, though only limited support and instruction will be provided: Logic (Pro or Express), Cubase, Reaper, Digital Performer, Sonar, or FL Studio, Ableton Live. The Purchase library has ProTools installed on several computers and these can be used for classwork.

As a result of meeting this course’s requirements students will be able to; understand how to plan for a complex multi-microphone, multi input session for a variety of genres with esoteric tips and tricks too. Establish a framework for identifying production styles and their own strategies. Develop a deeper understanding of the modern project studio and how to make choices with one’s own set-up and budget. Continued experimentation is encouraged in Purchase Studios throughout both semesters of this class.

Weekly outline

January 23 – January 29
Week #1
Overview- Plans for the semester reviewed, discussion; “What is a producer” in modern day terms. What skills are required to become an indispensible component of any artist’s creative process? Discussion of the many students that have moved on from Purchase into real careers and what their path has entailed, what skillsets helped them? Choose an alumnus to reach out to for our “guest slot” this semester (Skype or in person).
Explain the “Great Producers” reports. A five-minute presentation with audio/video samples.
*Assignment “Great Producers” – list and schedule for presentations organized in class 1/2 (to avoid duplication).

January 30 – February 5
Week #2
Begin in-depth recording hardware exploration.
Microphones, their polar patterns, microphone types and applications, continue discussions of basic mixer / studio terminology. Demonstration of cable length / impedance with it’s impact on ribbon microphone timbre.
Great Producer presentation 1

February 6 – February 12
Week #3
Stereo microphone techniques / acoustic and electric instrument techniques.
Begin demonstrations of microphone techniques including Decca tree, Blumlein, ORTF, Spaced Pair, mid-side and so on.
Review of microphone vs. line level signal flow, acceptable wiring distances discussed.
Great Producer presentation 2

February 13 – February 19
Week #4
More in-depth hardware exploration.
Continuation of Stereo microphone techniques on more / various acoustic and electric instruments. Demonstrations and listening.
Great Producer presentation 3

February 20 – February 26
Week #5
Discussion of “the new recording studio business model” day rates / hourly rates / project rates / sundry business and legal issues to consider when running a small studio or project studio.
Proper archiving of projects – for both future-proofing and/or travelling elegantly to outside engineer / mixers.
Great Producer presentation 4

February 27 – March 4
Week #6
Heavy post-production focus
In depth editing (from a song & production standpoint), application of loops and/or beat detective / sound replacer. Discover adding multi-track “fi” elements to existing lo-fi loops, pitch correction. Re-amping (without damaging your stuff!). Advanced ground scheme discussions.
Great Producer presentation 5

March 5 – March 12
Week #7
Guest lecturer “guest slot” (TBA)
Great Producer presentation 6

March 13 – March 19
Week #8
Advanced mic selection and placement for drum and percussion recording
Discussion & demonstration with past guest artist Ben Scheuer’s sessions. Room sound / acoustic instrument focus, various microphone myths busted.
Great Producer presentation 7

March 20 – March 26
Week #9
How to “triage” a project or solo artist
Successfully planning out the creative and technical aspects of a recording project and staying “one step ahead” of the game.
Troubleshooting---- problems/puzzles for the class to solve with tracking set-ups and session files
Great Producer presentation 8

March 27 – April 2
Week #10
We will begin to track an entire project together (stop/start, discuss along the way) with lab work elements contributing to the final mix as well whenever possible. We triage the artist for this project together in class – develop a tracking plan and schedule.
As a part of this we will further explore behavior, ethics, roles & politics in a session, keeping the vibe positive and professional.
Great Producer presentation 9

April 3 – April 9
Week #11
Record guide tracks, build click (discuss click tracks as tools for freeing rather than hindering feel), discuss “A.I.R.” method, “pre-pro” for keeps, organization, notes & file management, “maintaining the creative focus” and managing outside interruptions. Keeping everything but remaining an “organized producer” as well.
Great Producer presentation 10

April 17 – April 23
Week #12
Overdub day
Electric guitar, bass, track vocals with in depth comping discussion, auto-playlist creation, cue mixes, click bleed, room vs. close mic and the potential for “build-up”.
Great Producer presentation 11

April 24 – April 30
Week #13
Drum day!, set-up and record drums on our song, PZM’s, room mics, close mics, drum tuning discussed,
Great Producer presentation 12

May 1 – May 7
Week #14
More production,
Editing demonstrations on how to cleverly build out a project using existing takes / elements, tuning, elastic audio / beat detective strategies.
Great Producer presentation 13

May 8 – May 14
Week #15
Final mix and master song project
reat Producer presentations 14-end

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to meet all attendance and participation requirements in music classes. Unexcused absences, tardiness, or lack of preparation for class will not be accepted; students are allowed two excused absences (with prior permission only), three unexcused absences in any course earn a student a failing grade for that course. Two late arrivals equal one absence. Leaving class early is considered equivalent to arriving late.

Course Grading

There will be graded homework assignments during the semester covering material from reading, class lectures, discussions, and listening.
Grades based on attendance 30%, class participation and quiz grades 30%, and final exam 40%.

All graded activities will be reflected in the final grade.  All projects and assignments should be completed neatly and completely.  They will be graded on content and grammar (when applicable). In order to receive an A on an individual writing assignment, students must submit complete, thoughtful answers that are grammatically correct, and that demonstrate good academic writing style.  They must be turned in on the stated due date to receive full credit — no exceptions.

Academic Honesty

In this and all of my classes, every student must be aware of and adhere to the college’s policy on academic honesty.  See the Student Handbook and other college publications for the policy

Academic Progress within the Major- Conservatory of Music Policy

A grade of “C” or better must be obtained for all core music classes within a major. Core classes are any music courses that appear on the 8 Semester Plan for graduation. A C- or below constitutes failure to progress academically and is grounds for dismissal from the major. Once the Conservatory is notified as to a student’s standing he or she will meet with the BOS area head. A letter will follow from the Director’s office informing the student that due to “poor academic progress” he or she will be counseled into another in the program of study.

Professional Standards – School of the Arts

Breaches of professional conduct are grounds for dismissal or probation depending on the severity of the infringement. Examples of poor professional conduct include, but are not limited to, poor treatment of facilities and studios, lack of preparation for rehearsals and/or lessons, disrespectful/disruptive behavior directed toward peers, faculty, administration and staff. The Conservatory of Music follows the SOA procedures for due process for any possible infractions.