All the courses in the sound recording program build on the principles of the Tonmeister approach and the latest scientific and technological developments in the industry. Students master the principles through their application in a variety of settings and with different musical genres to develop a professional portfolio, submitted in December and April each year. It includes:
- 45-65 minutes of recorded material, either stereo or multichannel surround sound
- Written report: 20-30 pages
Keys to success
Plan and organize your production projects and post-production needs smartly.
First-year SR students have one pre-scheduled 6-hour block each week at the same time in Studio A. Second-year students have 2 6-hour blocks. Additional bookings may be made in any of the other sound recording spaces, but are limited to one 6-hour block per week, per studio. There are two exceptions:
- The blocks in the Technical Ear Training Lab are limited to 4-hours, for non-TET use.
- It is also possible to book additional time on the “day of” if the space is still open in the TET lab.
Bookings are made through the internal calendar on the SR website, each student is assigned their own personal login: http://sites.music.mcgill.ca/sr/
- For recordings of performances in concert halls, bookings are made through production.music [at] mcgill.ca (C&P). If the performance is of a live student degree recital project, the performance student typically makes the booking with the recital application. Other class and area projects also provide opportunities to record in the halls.
- When the recording is assigned as part of a workstudy or assistantship, no additional booking is typically required.
Class projects draw on microphones, stands and cables largely available from the area. For off-site projects and students in the qualifying year, audio-visual recording and playback equipment can be borrowed from the Marvin Duchow Library.
While no special equipment is required to complete the program, students benefit from a high quality laptop and the latest version of AVID ProTools software, and Merging Pyramix software, and a very good set of reference quality headphones. Video editing suites are also available in the Music Libary. Courses utilize Final Cut Pro software, also available through the library with class registration.
Take as much time as you can to try new things and experiment.
“Once you get out into the workforce, you won't have the luxury of time. Having already discovered the full potential of all the available tools is invaluable!”-Denis Martin, PhD
Treat all recordings equally.
No matter what the gig may be, always do your absolute best - it will always be worth it in the long run." William Howie, PhD.
Build a library of great reference recordings and study them relentlessly.
“I've learned more from listening intensely and analytically to my favourite records than from any class or lecture.” William Howie, PhD.
Value the impression your written words can have on others.
When writing about your projects, be it for a project to be completed, or the results of a project done, you are selling your artistry and the skill and craftsmanship of your work to others. Write in detail and with care about the goals and objectives of the work, the specific processes and technical details through which it was achieved, the challenges that were overcome, and the nature of the creativity or musical outcomes that the technical made possible. Check the spelling, the syntax, and all the mathematical details of tools and technology – as they say, truly sweat the small stuff!
Take the challenge of opportunities beyond your comfort zone, but recognize the importance of listening to your clients.
“Many of the best learning experiences I've had came from taking on gigs that were well above my current skill level, and having to work very, very hard to make it work and give the artists/client what they were after." William Howie, PhD.
Always remember, the key to succeeding in this industry is a great work ethic –
“ …you need to be a great person to work with.” Denis Martin, PhD.
"The challenge in developing the discipline of recording is that we straddle both art and science...[creating] something that is difficult to define… one's best ally is an informed and educated imagination as the most profound impossibilities are always grounded in the real." Bryan Martin, PhD.