Since beginning the Music production course at STC, I have learnt many things in a short space of time both in and outside of the course. My acquisition of this knowledge and these skills have led me to develop my ability to produce, record and edit to a standard higher than ever before. Once I have practiced and elevated these skills to a professional level and beyond, I can assume responsibility of real world tasks and trust my expertise enough to produce at an exceptional standard given enough time and focus.
Skills and knowledge acquired as part of this course:
Unit 1: Principles of Performance
The first unit was all about sound engineering and the practical aspects of it as well as a little bit of theory on how everything fits together. The skills I acquired were on the practical side of things. I learned how to set up and engineer a live performance. This included transporting equipment safely, setting up equipment efficiently and for safe use, testing said equipment to an acceptable standard, maintaining said setup to function safely and effectively during the performance, engineering on the fly (or ‘riding the mix’ as it’s called) and packing everything down and transporting it back safely.
Admittedly I’ve only done this whole procedure once but I’ve helped out at other times when live equipment was concerned and have done so successfully. Every time I see a live setup now, even if just a simple DJ setup, My mind goes through the process of what it would be like to setup and use. I feel confident that through this practical experience and research I can at least have some clue about what’s going on if I were to see any type of setup that includes a mixing console, a couple of instruments and auxiliary channels.
My knowledge acquired through this experience has actually significantly improved my workflow as far as my productions are concerned. Talking with professionals and seeing instructional videos on the internet is now much more straightforward than it used to be because I understand much more of the lingo which I picked up at the college and by speaking to and learning from enthusiasts and professionals. Because most DAWs are modeled after analog sequencers and because the mixing process is so similar I find producing as a whole much more straightforward than before because I’m beginning to understand the systems they were modeled after.
This knowledge and experience will help me in the future by preparing me mentally for the way electronic music functions in the tangible world, which will in turn help me to understand how it functions in the digital world.
Unit 2: Engaging with an Audience
This second unit was about researching a demographic and engaging with said demographic by compiling research and synthesizing that knowledge into a product suited for that demographic. This is a useful skill to master not only in the music industry but in the commercial world as a whole as it can prepare me for the real world where the commercial market focuses on meeting the demands of demographics and supplying to them.
Considering the relative brevity of this unit there was not a considerable amount of time to explore this idea in full, and our focus was of course for the music and media industries. The task was to research a demographic or market and tailor-make something that would fit in perfectly with it or be viable as a product in that environment. I had not considered the wide variety of markets and demographics one could offer music to before, and it was an interesting experience to make my project with this in mind.
Unit 3: Introduction to Professional Practice
This unit was about researching and finding out about our individual career paths which in retrospect was quite useful to do as a thought experiment to more carefully consider what it is we’re actually doing. While not going as in depth as I could have I had most definitely researched a fair bit about the nature and multi faceted nature of the recording artist as far as surface level information goes. I learned about the skills required of certain aspects of the recording artist, with a focus on producers and their skills and qualifications.
This information is most definitely useful to make me see clearly what it is that I need to do in order to be become successful and prioritize the skills and knowledge I need to get to where I want to be as quickly as possible.
Unit 4: Critical Context and Awareness
In this unit the exercise was to create a piece with production techniques we had learned around a context of our choosing with corresponding research. First we had to find a context to work with in musical history. This gave me an opportunity to delve into the real world history of important musical events that may or may not have helped shaped socio-political situations. This was an exercise in research and interpretation of research to create a piece in form with the context researched.
I chose to do a remix of Bruce Springsteen’s Chimes Of Freedom. The skills I learnt were synthesis of contextual information into a project and various little tips and tricks my tutors passed on to me while I was creating the project.
Unit 5: Production Skills and Context
In this project we were given a slew of new information from our tutors about electronic synthesizers and how they function. We were taught about the history of synthesizers and we were expected to complete this knowledge with our own research on our blogs. We were introduced to the different types of synthesis and synthesisers and how they differed. Upon acquiring this knowledge we were taught how to implement wave theory into a practical music production scenario. We had to learn about sine waves, square waves, sawtooth waves, fundamental frequencies and more. The modular synthesiser was dissected for us into parts such as the filter, oscillator, envelope shaper and more. After acquiring all of this technical knowledge were tasked to create a song consisting only of sounds created from scratch with a synthesizer.
In this unit we learned a lot of technical production skills and were taught how to approach synthesizers and use them effectively. I had underestimated how deep the world of synthesis was and at first overwhelmed by how complex it seemed and how difficult it would be to wrap my head around creating all of the sounds and using all of the synthesizers effectively. I need to investigate further into this world because it will impact my music production directly, although I can confidently say I left the unit feeling more knowledgable and ready to deal with synthesisers than before.
Unit 6: Performance Skills and Context
This was a big unit for me. In this unit we researched DJ culture and attempted to give a DJ performance in front of a live audience which we did. The research aspect was huge for me, I spent a lot of time into the research and handed in a pretty lengthy and in-depth (but all inclusive or definitive) body of work about turntablism and deejay equipment. Another aspect was actually putting together a set and performing it live for an audience, which I think I pulled off pretty successfully. I spent a lot of hours practicing in the deejay room and compiled a pretty nice set which I performed in the canteen at my college.
In this unit it felt perceptually that I learned the most, since I produced quite an amount of work related to this unit and actually managed to successfully deejay a small set in front of an audience. This will be very useful to me in the near future as deejaying is a commercial skill to have and presents itself with many opportunities if one is versed enough.
Below are some videos of me demonstrating what I’ve learned throughout the course, as well as my Soundcloud on which I have posted some newer works which incorporate new techniques and skills I have acquired: