ADVANCED DIPLOMA IN MUSIC PRODUCTION - Course descriptions
First Quarter (237 hours)
Computer Systems and Software (CSS200) 9 hours
In this course, we critically examine the technological offerings at the forefront of music creation. The course explores how computers have influenced music production and discusses equipment and workflows students may be exposed to in the field. In addition, the course offers practical instruction on software/hardware compatibility, network infrastructures, and data/media management.
Audio Recording Techniques for Music I (ART200M) 48 hours
We will explore recording techniques and technologies across different eras as well as different genres of music. The course focuses on ensemble and live studio recording and engages in a deep analysis of microphone selection and placement, room configuration, studio equipment, and processing chains. For the final project, students are challenged to submit a recording that demonstrates their understanding and competency in the role of the recording engineer.
Advanced Digital Audio Workstations (DAW300) 24 hours
This course covers techniques for working with Pro Tools systems in a professional production environment. Concepts and skills learned in Pro Tools 101, 110, 201, and 210M/P are reinforced with practical examples, and students learn advanced Pro Tools techniques and tools that are used in the highest-level studios.
Music Theory II (MTH200) 30 hours
This course contextualizes music theory as a tool for production and recording, focusing on its practical applications. Key topics addressed include rhythm, composition, and instrumentation, as well as an analysis of their relationship to dynamic range and frequency distribution and how this contributes to the emotional character and impact of songs.
Advanced Editing Techniques (AET200) 30 hours
We’ll examine a variety of approaches to digitally editing and enhancing a recorded performance. Along with hands-on instruction in editing in Pro Tools, this course introduces students to iZotope’s RX audio restoration software and the industry-standard Melodyne pitch and time correction software.
Mixing II (MIX200) 42 hours
This course analyzes mixing methodologies and theory at a high level while also digging deep into the specifics of plug-in and hardware processing, metering and monitoring, delivery standards, and client relationships. The course features in-studio mix breakdowns and critiques and gives students an opportunity to assess mix projects one-on-one with Studio West senior engineers.
Experimental Sound Practices (ESP100) 15 hours
Students will explore key concepts and practices in the field of experimental music. Topics include aleatoric music, granular synthesis, experimental instruments, musical interface prototyping, notable experimental artists, and innovative effects. The goal is to think outside of the box and to be prepared for anything in audio production and sound design.
Compression (COM200) 15 hours
This course illuminates an often misunderstood and misused signal processor, the compressor. Different methods of reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal are explored in-depth and side-by-side comparisons of analogue and digital processors are facilitated and analyzed by students.
Portfolio Development I (SWS201) 9 hours, +39 hrs of studio time
One of the key focuses of the Advanced Diploma in Music Production is helping students build a compelling portfolio of their work. The portfolio development class meets three times per quarter to help students plan and manage their use of time in the studios. The course also requires that students spend a minimum of 39 hours in studios working on their portfolios.
second Quarter (237 hours)
Advanced Audio Recording Techniques for Music II (ART210M) 24 hours
We further explore recording techniques and technologies discussed in ART201M. Extra focus is placed on students’ competency in conducting sessions as engineers.
Pitch and Time Correction (PTC200) 24 hours
This course builds on concepts from AET200, focusing specifically on correcting pitch and timing by all available means. The course compares Elastic Audio, Flex-Time, and Warping audio and provides further instruction in Melodyne. Students are challenged to correct a performance fraught with error to the best of their ability and are critiqued by instructors on their efforts.
Production and Arranging II (PNA200) 39 hours
Building on concepts explored in ART200M and MTH200, this course puts technical and theoretical knowledge into practice. The course challenges students to act as Producer for a portfolio-worthy recording that they can be proud of. Instructors help facilitate and guide students to complete a more ambitious production than others they have attempted.
Vocal Recording Techniques (VRT200) 24 hours
Students examine how to obtain highly polished vocal productions appropriate for different genres. Along with instruction in editing, tuning and processing vocals, the course explores production techniques such as double-tracking, stacking, and pitch-shifting vocals. Students are challenged to record and produce a vocalist top-lining an existing instrumental track.
Sampling and Computer-Based Production (CBP200) 24 hours
This class reviews the influence that digital sampling and computers have had on commercial music since their emergence in the 1980s. Side-by-side comparisons are made between industry-standard software Pro Tools, Logic, and Ableton, and students explore “in-the-box” production techniques, creating MIDI-based sequences for instrumental tracks.
Mastering and Advanced Mixing for Music (MAM200M) 54 hours
We’ll provide an overview of the mastering process with special focus placed on mix bus processing, workflows and signal processing, and loudness and delivery standards for different mediums. Listening environments and monitoring equipment are also discussed in depth.
Portfolio Development II (SWS202) 9 hours +39 hrs of studio time
The portfolio development class meets three times a quarter to help students plan and manage their use of time in the studios. Special attention is paid to aiding students in facilitating the completion of their portfolio and final Capstone Presentation which are reviewed by a committee of instructors and professionals.