NYU's advanced audio production course is offered to both master's and undergraduate students. They work in 10 recording and computer music studios, listening rooms, and research labs where more than 40 music technology courses are taught.
The night I attended the class, the students were preparing to record a large jazz band, with horns, piano, keyboards, electric guitar, bass, and drums. One of the students, Charles DeChants, currently works in a studio in Brooklyn; he hopes to eventually make records for a living. "That's the dream, and that's why I came out here, so I have to keep pushing," he said.
A different student produces each session; the night I was there Leo Da Silva was running the board, and considering how much was going on, he was pretty calm. Getting the mix balance was a little tricky with the horns and the rest of the band. Da Silva selected the mics for each instrument, and created a headphone mix for the musicians. Other students were busy setting up the mics, running cables, and troubleshooting various problems. The atmosphere in the control room and studio was great, with everybody pitching in. After the session, the students create a final mix, which the other students critique, and then the students will get a chance to do a remix. Amandine Pras, the instructor for the class, let the students find their own way, but she was always ready to lend a hand.
During a break I also chatted with Doug Roj, who was realistic about the difficulties he will face trying to get work in the recording industry. He's also interested in mixing live shows, and he thinks he will get work in clubs and other venues. Roj is pretty intent about staying in the business, as he put it, "Any way I can put a foot in the door and be around this thing, I'm into it."
The music really kicked butt, and the students were totally committed to capturing the sound of a live band. I just hope I get a chance to hear the final mix.
If you're studying engineering or music production, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.