“To study music we must learn the rules.
To create music we must forget them.”– Juliette Nadia Boulanger
The Arrangement: Where It All Begins
Good balance starts with a good arrangement. It’s important to understand arrangement because so much of mixing is subtractive by nature. This means that the arrangement, and therefore the balance, is changed by the simple act of muting an instrument whose part either doesn’t fit well with another or doesn’t fit in a particular section of a song. If th
e instruments fit well together arrangement-wise so they help build the song dynamically and don’t fight one another frequency-wise, then the mixer’s life becomes immensely easier.
Tension and Release
All art is built around tension and release, which is just another expression for contrast. It’s big against small, fat against slim, wide against narrow, and black against white. In photography it’s shadows against light, in painting it’s light against dark, in music it’s loud against quiet, and in mixing it’s full against sparse. That’s what makes things interesting; you never know how big something is until you see something small to compare it to, and vice versa.
All good arrangements are filled with dynamic changes, which means loud versus quiet and full versus sparse. One of the jobs of a mixer is to create this tension and release when it’s not there, and when it is, to emphasize it. This is done by muting and unmuting tracks and changing the level of certain vocals or instruments at points within the song.
Learning Two Languages
While students are learning in your course, they will be learning two distinct but related languages.
- One is the language of sound and music analysis, which will begin with analysis of individual sounds, recordings, song structures, film soundtracks and build into understanding institutional, sociological, historical, and theoretical topics related to audio recordings.
- THIS RECORDING IS IMPORTANT (TO ME) BECAUSE . . .
- One is audio recording and mixing language itself and particularly those skills needed by the audio recorder, audio engineer, mixer, mastering mixer, and sound designer/sound editor.
- LOOK AT WHAT IS IMPORTANT (TO ME) . . .
Overview of Class Components
- Most productions will be in teams with students taking on various production roles
|Unit 0: Career Essentials||30||Unit 6: Mixing and Mastering||30|
|Unit 1: History of Audio Recording and Popular Music||10||Unit 7: Live Sound||30|
|Unit 2: Sound & Music Structures||40||Unit 8: Pre-Production||40|
|Unit 3: Recording Boot Camp: Microphones, Signal Path, & Tracks||50||Unit 9: Production||40|
|Unit 4: Equalization, Dynamics, and Processing||20||Unit 10: Post-Production||40|
|Unit 5: Electronic Music||30||TOTAL||360|
- Length of class: 2 years
- Occupational Ed Elective Credit: 9, 10, 11, and 12
- School of Rock – Recording Arts and Sound Reinforcement Technology OSPI CIP Code 100203 A course that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to the production of sound recordings as finished products or as components of film/video, broadcast, live, and mixed media productions. Includes instruction in sound equipment operation and maintenance; music, dialogue, and sound reinforcement effects recording; sound track editing; dubbing and mixing; sound; tape, disk, and CD production; digital recording and transmission; amplification, effects, Foley; and working with producers, editors, directors, artists, and production managers.
- PDF file soon
The School of Rock framework is designed with information from numerous industry and professional sources including:
- Eargle, John (2005). The Microphone Handbook. Focal Press; Second Edition.
- Goodall, Howard (2006-11-18). How Music Works Series. Channel 4, BBC.
- Hass, Jeffrey, Gibson, John and Warren, Alicyn (2016-06-29). http://www.indiana.edu/~emusic/ Center for Electronic and Computer Music. Indiana University.
- Bruce Ronkin (2010). Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA) Standards, http://www.meiea.org/Journal/Vol.10/Tough-2010-MEIEA-Journal-Vol-10-No-1-p149.pdf.
Northeastern University with support from Belmont University (Google Doc Link)
- Owsinski, Bobby (2013-05-01). The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, Second Edition. Course Technology PTR.
- Owsinski, Bobby (2013-09-30). The Recording Engineer’s Handbook. Course Technology PTR.
- Plummer, Mary (2014-07-09). Apple Pro Training Series: GarageBand. Pearson Education.
- Powell, John (2010-11-03). How Music Works: The Science & Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond. Little, Brown & Company.
- Randlette, Peter, (2016-06-29). Instructor of Digital Media, Sound Design, Media Technology. Evergreen State College.
- Weiss, Matthen, (2014-09-10). The Pro Audio Files http://theproaudiofiles.com/teaching-music-production/
The Power of Project Based Learning
- This course is based on project-based learning or PBL, an educational model demonstrated to help students develop 21st skills.
Screencasts – Assistance in Self-Directed Learning
- Screencast videos are recorded of many lessons to support learning and are available on the web site for viewing anytime at school or at home
- Instructional Formatting (How to read Mr. Le Duc’s directions)
- Projects and Daily Work
- Final and Portfolio Tools
- These tools are used throughout the year
- Final Requirements
|Level||Letter||Skyward High %||Skyward Low %||Descriptor|
|4||A||100.00%||92.50%||Advanced. Consistently exceeds proficient level of standard(s).|
|3.5||A-||92.49%||86.67%||Proficient but partial success at advanced level.|
|3||B||80.83%||75.00%||Proficient. Consistently (usually) meets standard(s).|
|2.5||B-||74.99%||66.67%||Basic but partial success at proficient level.|
|2||C||58.33%||50.00%||Basic. Inconsistently (occasionally) meets standard(s).|
Grade Scoring Table
Self Authored Projects
- Technical and creative media skills are developed through project work, working toward mastery
- Projects are composed of a plan and a product
- Each project is about two weeks in length
- Students produce projects throughout the term
- Students present the product the last day of the project cycle
Skills Development Projects
- Skills development is embedded into each project with emphasis on 21st Century world of work core skills
- Students will receive a daily grade for being on task with the daily work. Credit will be reduced for any conduct not contributing to an academic atmosphere. Credit will not be granted if the student is absent, but the points can be made up upon return. Please refer to the online class schedule for missing work and consult with the teacher for make-up work.
- Students will publish blog entry detailing their work for projects
- Included in the entry will be a paragraph highlighting what was done and learned
- A screenshot showing an example of the work and progress will be included
- Sample Student Evaluation
- Students will maintain a journal
- The journal details what was done and learned
- Sample journal entry
- Some student blogs
- Students will contribute to the learning community in some meaningful way
- Student-lead leadership project will be developed between 1st and 2nd semester
- This project is aligned with CTE standards