Daniel M. Thompson

Assistant Chair
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"One of the most important lessons I learned while at Harvard is that there isn't necessarily one single truth; facts and circumstances can be interpreted in various ways. I took away the realization that two perfectly intelligent and thoughtful people can completely disagree, given the same facts."

"I think that has certainly informed my teaching style. I tend to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. We look at a situation and try to come up with the best approach, understanding that, in fact, people can have different approaches to the same problem."

"We see those differences all the time. We have some very high-profile visiting artists come through MP&E and get to watch them record or mix. They each get spectacular results, but through vastly different approaches. It reinforces the fact that each of us needs to go through our own process to get to the ultimate goal: the intended emotional impact that connects an artist with a listener."

"From the production side, it's easy to lose sight of that ultimate goal by getting 'lost in the toys.' Obviously when you're in school it's important to try out a lot of different techniques, and to get facile with the tools. But ultimately we want to make the technology disappear—to be in service of the process and the creative moment. We're trying to get out of the way, to be masters of the tools and not slaves to them."

"In this field the tools change so quickly that learning is less about the tool itself than it is about the process of learning. It's also about gaining the confidence that, even if you haven't seen something before, you know you can approach learning it in the same way you've approached everything else you've learned."

 

 

Career Highlights

 

  • A.B., Harvard College
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Independent writer, producer, and recording engineer
  • Credits include work for Geffen, Rhythm King (U.K.), Stone Bone, and Coil Records; 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures; ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, FOX, UPN, and the WB, including work on The Sopranos, ER, Malibu Shores, Melrose Place, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Touched by an Angel, Soul Food, NCIS, and numerous network and cable television movies; feature films include Swimfan and The Sweetest Thing
  • Author of the textbook Understanding Audio: Getting the Most Out of Your Project or Professional Recording Studio (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard) and the Berklee Online courses Critical Listening and Advanced Audio Ear Training for the Mix Engineer
  • Feature articles for Electronic Musician, EQ, and SB&O (Student Band and Orchestra) magazines
  • Member AES, ASCAP, NARAS, and SPARS