Music Production & Engineering Courses

The Business of Music Production

MP-247

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MBUS, MPED, and ELPD majors
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: MPE

This course takes the student through a broad review of copyright, licensing, publishing, collection agencies, deal structures, distribution, and new technologies and their impact on the music production business, from planning to client relationships.

Sound Reinforcement for Musicians

MP-310

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All except MPED majors
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: MPE

For non-MPED majors who wish to learn the principles of sound reinforcement encountered in clubs or recital halls. Emphasis on effective interaction with engineers in concerts, in large halls, and in recording studios.

Creative Production Skills

MP-318

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-215, MP-241, and MP-247; MP-340 and MP-341 must be taken concurrently with MP-318
Department Code: MPE

This course takes the student through the fundamental steps of any music production project: defining the goals of a recording project with the artist or client; selecting composers, arrangers, players, and singers; choosing the appropriate technical resources to fit the budget and goals; working with vocalists and other soloists; and orchestrating and motivating all of the participants and resources, from rehearsal to recording and final mix. Three production projects are required on 2-track and multitrack formats.

Music Production for Records

MP-320

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-318; MP-385 must be taken concurrently with MP-320
Department Code: MPE

This course is a study of the creative and business aspects of producing records. Emphasis is placed on the creative and aesthetic techniques of production. Topics include song choice; song analysis; lyrics analysis; artist development and creative vision; scheduling, budgeting, and prioritization of tasks; communication issues; compromise and flexibility with regard to artist's vision; servicing the artist's and the record company's needs; and tracking the development of the production process from demo to master. Two multitrack projects are required.

Sound Reinforcement Systems

MP-322

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: MPED and ELPD majors
Prerequisites: MP-211 or EP-220
Department Code: MPE

This course explores techniques used for recording and reinforcing music on location. Topics include commonly encountered acoustical problems and an investigation of equipment and techniques used to overcome them. This class is a prerequisite for the hands-on Sound Reinforcement Lab (MP-325).

Sound Reinforcement Lab

MP-325

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: MPED and ELPD majors
Prerequisites: MP-322
Department Code: MPE

In this hands-on follow-up to MP-322, students practice setup and mixing of live ensembles and assist the audio staff at Berklee concerts and rehearsals in the Berklee Performance Center.

Multitrack Recording Techniques

MP-340

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-212 and MP-241; MP-318 and MP-341 must also be taken concurrently with MP-340
Department Code: MPE

This course explores common recording techniques including microphone choice and placement, console and studio signal flow, session setup and protocol, and live recording. Discussion and utilization of limiters, compressors, and other signal processing equipment used in the multitrack recording process are part of in-class activities and recording sessions. Three studio recording projects are required. Supplemental audio ear training is available and advised.

Mix Techniques 2

MP-341

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-241; MP-340 must be taken concurrently with MP-341
Department Code: MPE

This course is a study of the aesthetic considerations and functional operation of equipment used in multitrack mixdown of digital master recordings in a digital audio workstation environment. Special emphasis is placed on critical listening and aesthetic consideration of balances. Topics covered include common DAW procedures and protocol, data management, use of a virtual console, use of a control surface, signal flow, editing, and digital signal processing (plug-ins). Mixing exercises of prerecorded multitrack files are required outside of class.

Microphone Theory and Applications

MP-351

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: LMSC-208 or LMSC-209
Department Code: MPE

This course will discuss design theory of recording studio microphones. Hands-on applications will include modification of microphone designs and acoustic testing of various design concepts and techniques.

Advanced Recording Techniques

MP-385

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-340; MP-320 must also be taken concurrently with MP-385
Department Code: MPE

In this advanced recording class students analyze advanced large-format console signal flow, explore sophisticated ensemble microphone techniques and applications, compare digital and analog multitrack formats, and revisit and reinforce professional session protocol. Drum micing, session flow, documentation, and microphone choice and comparisons are demonstrated.

Music Production for Visual Media

MP-421

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MPED majors
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-320 and MP-385
Department Code: MPE

This hybrid production/engineering course deals with the technical and creative issues surrounding soundtracks for feature film, episodic television, commercials, and documentaries. Topics such as synchronization, SMPTE time code, word clock, and other technical issues combined with aesthetic considerations to complete projects dealing with music production for visual media, Foley, sound design, and ADR. A survey of careers in postproduction culminate in students working together in teams, mirroring their real-world counterparts.

Vocal Production

MP-431

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Rob Jaczko
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: MPED majors
Prerequisites: MP-318
Department Code: MPE

This class is a hands-on study of the production of vocalists in the recording studio. The emphasis is on techniques and strategies for obtaining the best possible vocal performance, in terms of both emotional impact and technical accuracy. Topics include analysis of commercially recorded vocals; discovering a vocalist's identity; psychological and technical limitations; preproduction with vocalists (with emphasis on the song/vocalist relationship); establishing producer/vocalist rapport; working sympathetically and effectively in the studio environment; conducting a vocal session; vocal compilation; and background vocals. Technical topics include microphone choice and associated signal processing and mixing for vocals. In-class sessions are conducted and produced by both the faculty and students. Students are also required to sing and thus be produced. Students produce two multitrack projects incorporating re-recording and compiling of vocal tracks using previous projects.

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