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Theory Jam: A New Approach to Music Theory

Description

Theory Jam is a series of online, education videos that teach music theory in a fun, engaging way. Our project is a response to the growing need for successful online education content. It incorporates strategies for creating effective educational video

Theory Jam is a series of online, education videos that teach music theory in a fun, engaging way. Our project is a response to the growing need for successful online education content. It incorporates strategies for creating effective educational video content and engages with contemporary debates in the field of music theory surrounding the purpose of a music theory education.

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2018-05

A Most Creative Project: Producing a Sample-Based Record

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For my creative project, I originally decided to produce an original instrumental EP (Extended Play), its aim to bridge the gap between classical Choral/Orchestral literature and more modern Hip-Hop/Rhythm & Blues through the implementation of sample-based sounds and melodies. As

For my creative project, I originally decided to produce an original instrumental EP (Extended Play), its aim to bridge the gap between classical Choral/Orchestral literature and more modern Hip-Hop/Rhythm & Blues through the implementation of sample-based sounds and melodies. As the semester went on, however, I realized that my original focus was really putting a strain on my creativity. A broadening in scope was exactly what I needed to spark the creativity within me. I had to create what suited me at the time, or what was a reflection of my current environment. This change began to push me beyond what I believed I was capable of; the tracks for the EP seemed to follow effortlessly. For the first production on my EP, I sampled from an a cappella file that I found on a royalty-free music database. The file had a raw cut, sans instrumentation and effects, of a teenage girl singing an original Soul/Rhythm & Blues tune of hers named "Don't Go." Atop the vocal, I added an original drum kit and sub-bass waveform, sound-designed by me, and an airy synthesizer line. My second original production, titled "Dreams," is a production that exudes everything that I stand for and am inspired by with regards to music. This work is the kind of production that got me into producing music in the first place. It demonstrates simplicity and elegance in every sense. A Rhythm & Blues record (Monnie Riperton's Edge of a Dream), a simple, yet hard-hitting drum groove with drum sounds sampled from live drums, and bass-line were the only ingredients necessary to produce "Dreams." The video logs, an addition to the original productions, were put in place to track my progress throughout the semester. The observer gets to learn alongside me, from the inception and into the execution of the project, the facets of sampling, building a drum groove, and creating an arrangement. By including access to my workflow as part of this project, I wish to provide a dynamic, evolving tool for producers in the future.

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Date Created
2015-05

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E-Strings Academy: An Interactive Online Resource Center for the 21st Century String Musician

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E-Strings Academy (www.estringsacademy.wordpress.com) is a resource website intended for the beginning violinist, violist, cellist, and bassist. The mission of the website is to extend musical learning opportunities to students outside of the physical string classroom and to engage first-year

E-Strings Academy (www.estringsacademy.wordpress.com) is a resource website intended for the beginning violinist, violist, cellist, and bassist. The mission of the website is to extend musical learning opportunities to students outside of the physical string classroom and to engage first-year string students in musical activities at home that supplement the instruction they receive in a school setting. The current website features five different areas for students to explore: lesson videos, tunes, listening activities, games, and resources. In each area, students have the opportunity to learn and reinforce musical concepts and skill sets that they will need in order to be successful in music, both in their first year of playing and beyond. I created E-Strings Academy with the intention that I use it with my own string students in my future teaching career. It is a flexible website that I will continue to revise, adapt, and enhance to best serve the needs of my students and enrich their musical learning outside of the classroom.

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Date Created
2015-05

Methodology for Inexpensively Creating, Recording, and Producing Studio-Quality Original Music

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Due to increasing lack of resources and funding for budding student musicians, it is often not possible for this demographic to create, record, and produce their original music in the same high-budget studio environment in which music has been traditionally

Due to increasing lack of resources and funding for budding student musicians, it is often not possible for this demographic to create, record, and produce their original music in the same high-budget studio environment in which music has been traditionally made. The objective of this project is to explore alternatives which are more accessible to young independent musicians and reveal the most cost-efficient routes to obtain a high-quality result. To make this comparison, the group created budget recordings of their original music in a bedroom in true DIY fashion, and then recorded the same songs in a professional music studio using the best music and recording equipment available. The DIY recordings were mixed and mastered by the group members themselves, as well as separately by a professional audio engineer. The studio recordings were also mixed and mastered by a professional audio engineer, resulting in three final products with varying costs and quality. Ultimately, the group found that without mixing and mastering experience, it is very difficult to achieve high quality results. With the same budget recorded tracks, the group found that quality of the final product vastly increased when a professional audio engineer mixed and mastered the tracks. As far as the quality of the result, the studio recorded tracks were by far the best. Not only was the quality of the sounds from the high-end music and recording equipment much higher, the band had more freedom to be creative without the responsibility of simultaneously serving as recording engineers as was the case in the low budget recordings. The group concluded that this project was highly successful and demonstrated that high quality results could be obtained on a budget. The DIY recording techniques used in this project prove that independent musicians without access to expensive equipment and resources can still produce high quality music at the cost of more effort to serve as audio engineers in addition to musicians. However, recording in a studio with the help of a producer and professional audio engineers affords creative freedom and an increase in sound quality that is simply not possible to reproduce without the equipment and expertise that money can buy.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Listen Up! Developing Accessible Educational Materials for Aspiring Audio Engineers

Description

In the past ten years, the United States’ sound recording industries have experienced significant decreases in employment opportunities for aspiring audio engineers from economic imbalances in the music industry’s digital streaming era and reductions in government funding for career and

In the past ten years, the United States’ sound recording industries have experienced significant decreases in employment opportunities for aspiring audio engineers from economic imbalances in the music industry’s digital streaming era and reductions in government funding for career and technical education (CTE). The Recording Industry Association of America reports promises of music industry sustainability based on increasing annual revenues in paid streaming services and artists’ high creative demand. The rate of new audio engineer entries in the sound recording subsection of the music industry is not viable to support streaming artists’ high demand to engineer new music recordings. Offering CTE programs in secondary education is rare for aspiring engineers with insufficient accessibility to pursue a post-secondary or vocational education because of financial and academic limitations. These aspiring engineers seek alternatives for receiving an informal education in audio engineering on the Internet using video sharing services like YouTube to search for tutorials and improve their engineering skills. The shortage of accessible educational materials on the Internet restricts engineers from advancing their own audio engineering education, reducing opportunities to enter a desperate job market in need of independent, home studio-based engineers. Content creators on YouTube take advantage of this situation and commercialize their own video tutorial series for free and selling paid subscriptions to exclusive content. This is misleading for newer engineers because these tutorials omit important understandings of fundamental engineering concepts. Instead, content creators teach inflexible engineering methodologies that are mostly beneficial to their own way of thinking. Content creators do not often assess the incompatibility of teaching their own methodologies to potential entrants in a profession that demands critical thinking skills requiring applied fundamental audio engineering concepts and techniques. This project analyzes potential solutions to resolve the deficiencies in online audio engineering education and experiments with structuring simple, deliverable, accessible educational content and materials to new entries in audio engineering. Designing clear, easy to follow material to these new entries in audio engineering is essential for developing a strong understanding for the application of fundamental concepts in future engineers’ careers. Approaches to creating and designing educational content requires translating complex engineering concepts through simplified mediums that reduce limitations in learning for future audio engineers.

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Date Created
2020-05