Music students gain access to new technologies

Gabe Smith, Campus Carrier staff writer

Music students at Berry have always had a large selection of music-making resources and tools at their disposal, and that selection has only grown in recent months as the school has completed renovations of various music facilities, including the Ford Auditorium. In addition to physical spaces and facilities, Berry gives students access to professional-level music software, programs like Logic and Pro Tools, that would otherwise be unaffordable. According to Steven Wooddell, instructor in music technology, the resources available on campus make it possible for students to record their own instrument samples, combine those samples with other, professionally recorded ones and produce their own music. Samples, or short recordings of instruments, can allow producers to create full-fledged compositions that sound like real orchestras, without ever touching a physical instrument. However, these programs are often highly technical and difficult to use, as well as expensive. 

“My goal is to get people who are uncomfortable using a computer at all to the point where they can make their own recordings and comfortably edit them,” Wooddell said. “It kind of democratizes the whole process of music making, because you’re no longer tied to having to hire a big orchestra and a big studio, you can use the tools that you’ve got to create on your own and still deal in professional-sounding instruments.” 

As Berry continues to develop and renovate its music facilities, opportunities for students are expected to grow. Recent developments include renovations to the Ford Auditorium and new microphones and other audio equipment. 

Students are taking advantage of the music department’s resources and creatively applying them to their own projects. According to Ben Sinatra, a music and business double-major, exactly what expertise one learns and projects one undertakes as a music student or music producer depends heavily on their particular instrument. Sinatra, for instance, plays the trumpet and uses Logic to record and edit samples of his instrument. 

“I mostly do recording work, like actual instruments, not software instruments,” Sinatra said. “I do use software instruments sometimes to write demos, but I don’t really use software instruments for the final project.” 

However, he does use the school’s software license. 

“For Pro Tools, I use the school’s, because I don’t have Pro Tools. Pro Tools is expensive,” Sinatra said. 

The ability to gain real-world experience with music equipment and apply that experience to their own creative projects has been valuable for students. In Sinatra’s case, Berry’s resources have helped him to produce his own song and release it online, and have enabled him to record recitals for other projects. He says that while he hasn’t yet had a chance to learn all of the available equipment, especially following recent renovations, he and other music students are looking forward to it. 

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