Work hand-in-hand with your mentor.
“This week in my lesson with my mentor I was once again allowed to audit a class preceding my own and went in at noon. I had the opportunity to audit another class in which the students had just received their MBox and Pro Tools, where they were beginning to edit and mix several songs. Having done this several times prior, I’m starting to be able to answer the questions that my mentor presents on my own, making my confidence rise for when my time comes to do the same. Afterwards, my lesson began and I had the opportunity to pair-up with another extern who was only a few lessons behind where I currently am. For most of the lesson, we focused on the other students’ lesson, which turned out to be a great review of the Patch Bay. Towards the end of the scheduled lesson we moved on to my lesson plan, providing me with a quick run-down of what I had a firm grasp of, and what I needed to review more. The following day I had another great opportunity to audit more classes, and arrived at bright and early that morning. As I entered the studio my mentor first some questions I had in regard to the lesson the day before. We ended up waiting for the scheduled student for about a half-hour to no avail, so Rick offered up the opportunity to grab another lesson until the next class began. While I was caught a bit off-guard, I’m fortunate and happy that he gave me the opportunity to do so. We reviewed the things I had gotten incorrect in the first lesson, and actually moved on the lesson 7, which is completed, but will be sent in next week. Since lesson 7 is microphone placement, I actually asked my mentor if during our lesson next week I could bring in a guitar and amplifier and we could actually practice microphone placement and techniques. He agreed, and next week I’ll be bringing a guitar and amplifier to the studio in order to play and hear the differences in microphone placement sound! Another lesson began at noon that I audited, in which even more students were working on mixing and editing their assigned songs. I had the opportunity to observe at least 4 people working on the songs, and it’s exciting to think that’ll I’ll be doing the same in just a few short weeks. Thank you Recording Connection! I really do appreciate all the hard work you do for me, as well as the encouragement, which is awesome.”
Work with the famous engineers in the music industry.
“This lesson was pretty short but nonetheless, very interesting as well. It was all about MIDI and how it works. I learned that MIDI cables have five prongs in the end of them, and apparently they can be used for MIDI and Roland. Some pins are used for MIDI and some of them are used for Roland when they need to be. This is very interesting how MIDI works with Pro Tools because if you hook up a keyboard to it with MIDI, Pro Tools doesn’t record it as audio, it records it as MIDI files so you can basically make the keyboard any instrument and every note you can imagine. My mentor was telling me that when he worked with Madonna, they used to daisy chain a bunch of different keyboards together to get these very diverse sounds because you can choose which keyboards are used for the input, output, or thru. I also learned that the Logic program works a lot better with MIDI than Pro Tools does but Pro Tools is better with recording audio and has better editing tools as well. I have worked with MIDI before with my friend’s rig before so I’m pretty familiar with how it works. So that was a pretty cool lesson with my mentor! After that, my mentor was doing some bass tracking and then he was going to record some vocals and he actually let me run the recording session all by myself. I think I did a pretty good job and also made a composite vocal track from all of the different takes that we recorded and found the best parts from all of them. So that was a really cool experience and I can’t wait for next week for my next lesson with the Recording Connection.”
Work with professional recording equipment.
“I could not ask for a better mentor to work with. He is the best and I have learned and gained an incredible amount of experience. It’s amazing, working on a SSL console along with the Neve Console just rules!”
Learn all there is to know about recording equipment.
“My first session this week was a long one, and a very productive day at that. There was a band that came in to do an entire-day tracking session, starting from scratch. There were 3 guitarists, a bass player, and a vocalist. They recorded all the instruments in the sound stage with a mic on each instrument and then 3 room mics to pick up the overall sound. I helped set up all the mics and then watched as the other engineer positioned them. I now have an idea of where the mic needs to be when recording a guitar and bass. They recorded 5 songs that day and they all sounded pretty good. They recorded the acoustic guitars in the sound stage but recorded their electric guitars and bass in the control room through the use of a DI. It was an interesting day and I learned a lot. A few days later I went in for my second session with my mentor, which was quite similar to the first, however it was only a tracking session for keyboard and guitar. There were 4 tracks that were recorded at an earlier time which needed keyboard and guitar parts to bring more life to them. I enjoyed watching the session because the keyboard player was really good and I liked what he was playing on the tracks. The guitar player only played on 2 of them but what he added just made the songs better. They just did a bunch of different takes and tried different things and it turned out to be a great session because the songs sounded great. The next day I went in for my third lesson of the week, which turned out to be a very easy one. There wasn’t really anything going on but I went to the studio so my mentor and I took that time to my homework assigned to me from the Recording Connection program.”
Work in a professional recording studio.
“In this week in the Recording Connection program I learned much more about the fundamentals of editing and midi. What each pin is used for the In/Out/Thu ports as well as what they send or receive. Midi is extremely easy to edit and configure because it uses a piano score-like layout where you can add, shape, adjust velocity, as well as place notes wherever you want on the grid without having to hit the record button! I have really begun to learn a lot of the hotkeys or shortcuts in Pro Tools and it has really sped up my recording and mixing. I’ve been sitting in a lot of my mentors recording sessions as well lately, meeting very cool musicians and having great conversations with them in regards to music and/or recording. I’ve also even been keeping in touch with one that I got play piano for in my mentors’ studio, he has been giving me great advice musically.”
Work hands-on during live recording sessions.
“Today was the start of week five in the Recording Connection. Everything is moving smoothly and I am starting to get the hang of a lot of the equipment and other processes in my mentors’ studio. In today’s lesson my mentor was showing me his mixing board. I have been looking forward to learning about the board since the beginning because I always thought that it was such a big step in the recording process. Come to find out it’s not even a step haha! The board is mainly used to adjust sound the quality at which it is played, but u can also do this digitally on the your cpu or laptop. All in all it was a great lesson in order to now understand what I am looking at is important and is now slowly becoming more and more easy as each session with my mentor passes. The next day I also went into the studio, where my mentor and I got more in-depth with the Console and its inner workings. I also got to work with an artist that continues to come in and record with my mentor. He is a very talented up and coming hip-hop artist that my mentor works with quite a bit. He is a nice guy and very easy going, also never minding constructive criticism, which is always a good thing in my opinion. When you can work with someone who can take that and turn it into positive work is truly a real joy to see. My mentor let me use the console to help this artist with recording one of his songs. It took me a few takes to actually get down what I was doing, but once I was able to get the hang of it things started to move along very smoothly. It was really exciting sitting in the driver’s seat and actually working with an artist as I now begin to get my hands dirty…. now that’s rewarding.”
Learn by doing.
“At the beginning of the week I started out by going into the studio first thing Monday morning, immediately starting by helping everyone set up for a recording session in the Live “A” room, which was going to be tracked in the “B” room. This is a session among friends and my mentor will be playing bass along with the band. A local artist and friends are in to record some practice tracks. The engineer asked me to pull up a brand new session on the Console in the “B” room and I also set up all the inputs and outputs in Pro Tools. Once set up, my mentor and I started the session and I was behind the board tracking the entire session. Awesome learning how to get a session up and running on my own! The next day in the studio I spent with a local artist. She is a vocalist and will be laying down vocals overdubbed on a two track instrumental beat. She is a professional and has done this many times before. As an extern got to practice recording her tracking her takes as I started to get used to being behind the Console and practicing my keyboard commands on Pro Tools. Once the song was finished tracking I learned all about different plug-ins, as well as what they do and how they work. Auto tune, reverb, and equalizer are just a few I was messing with to see what kind a difference it would make to the sound. I ended up giving the artist a raw unmixed track to take home while I keep a copy and use it to learn how to mix. This was a very good hands-on opportunity on how to track vocals with stacking and learning Pro Tools plug ins! Two days later I went in to see my mentor again. We started out that morning in a session going on in the “A” room, as a horn player was in the studio doing some overdubbing on tracks. I sat in session for a little while, watching and learning as the head studio engineer tracked the session. My mentor even asked me to come out and help the newest extern in the Recording Connection with one of his lesson assignments. He asked me to come out to the patch board and explain and show the difference between open and normaled patch bays. After that he had me power up the “B” room, trace signal flow, and set up a session on my own following the signal flow from all the mics and direct inputs into the Console and Pro Tools. I messed around with recording and tracking in Pro tools and finally was able to run my own session!”
Learn all there is to know about recording equipment.
“On lesson four this week with my mentor I was able to learn about patch bays, TT cables, and how to daisy chain the patch bay to other compressors. Patch panels, or patch bays, are useful for a number of reasons, one being that it helps a lot with cable management, as it allows for interconnecting in a flexible manner; and, two being that patch bays facilitate the connection of different devices, such as microphones, amplifiers, and other recording gear. Also, I learned about inserts and auxiliary sends. The benefit of using an auxiliary send is that it enables the signals from multiple channels on a mixing Console to be simultaneously routed to a single outboard device. The audio output of the outboard unit is connected to the auxiliary return input on the mixing console, or as an alternative it can be connected to one of the input channels on the mixing Console. Moreover, an insert is an access point built into the mixing console, allowing the user to add external line level devices into the signal flow between the preamp and the mix bus. Afterwards, I learned how to bus an effect in Pro Tools. For example, I learned how to run all the vocal tracks into a reverb bus instead of applying that reverb to each track. I did this by creating an AUX channel, and then set the send to the corresponding bus. Lastly, I was also able to learn that with equalization settings there is no rule or lesson in finding an EQ that works well. It takes experimentation until you find a setting that is good. Overall, the lesson with my mentor went very well. I enjoy working with a first-class mentor, who knows what he is doing, and is willing to have a good time while giving me the lessons.”
Find out all the answers from the professionals in your field.
"I got great hands-on experience this week with my mentor, where we worked on plug-ins that come with Pro Tools. First, I got a lot of hands-on experience just from the tutorials in the textbook the Recording Connection provided me with, plus hands-on experience watching my mentor actually insert plug-ins into channels, showing me how the plug-ins make a difference in the overall sound of the particular signal. We went over the questions as usual, getting into a brief discussion on why you would want to bypass a plug in during the recording/mix down process. We went over the Compressor, Limiter, and Delay plug-ins, all in very good detail. The compression tutorial in the Recording Connection textbook also helped me to develop a few questions from the experience I had working with it in Pro Tools. I had a few questions for my mentor, for example, if the Audio EQ, Peaking Filter, Shelving Filter, High Pass/Low Pass Filter were all stand alone plug ins or attributes within the Parametric EQ, Selectable Free EQ, Graphic EQ, etc. Basically, everything is a parameter within the Audio EQ. I had questions regarding why you would set up an additional aux track to send a vocal/instrument to reverb, rather than just adding reverb to that particular channel strip. We discussed the Key Input feature, which is an attribute on most plug-ins, and what its actual purpose was. We really went over several topics in such great detail, even going over what an Oscillator does, which it generates a standard tone, which is usually used for the Synthesizer plug in. My last question we went over was in regards to the Octave. I didn’t really understand exactly what an Octave was, but now that is cleared up thanks to my Recording Connection mentor. Throughout asking all these questions, my mentor was demonstrating a more hands-on look and feel in answering the questions I was asking. This was a big help for me and it definitely helped me to understand and grasp more of the concept of what these plug-ins, as well as features within plug ins did, as well as were actually used for. I had a good hands-on experience in regards to Pro Tools this week with my mentor, and the plug-ins that were involved as well. I can’t wait to continue to get my hands dirty once I receive my credits to a certain point and earn my very own Pro Tools hardware/software, and really dive into the Pro Tools experience even more."
Ensure you establish a solid foundation for your continued success is the music industry.
“This past week my mentor and I went over a number of important topics involved in the music industry. I have a bad habit of trying to relate these new subjects to things I already know that aren’t always related to the new material I am learning in the Recording Connection. I was doing too much of guessing, instead of sitting back and analyzing the current subject for what it was. So, my mentor and I went over Sampling rates, Distortion, quantization, binary code, different types of formatting for audio files, phase, The Nyquist Theorem, and other things pertaining to the physics of sound from the prior lesson to make sure I had a firm foundation for the upcoming lessons. All in all, a great lesson!”
Learn by doing.
“This week’s lesson was all about midi and electronic music. I have done some MIDI mapping and programming but I haven’t done a lot so I was really looking forward to this lesson because MIDI is really a must-have skill in the music world these days. The first thing my mentor and I did was pull out an M-Audio MIDI controller, plug it, and got some MIDI files into Pro Tools. We messed with the levels and duration of each note. He then showed me some things that I didn’t know, such as changing the velocity of each stroke, as well as how to convert those digital signals into analog audio. This is very beneficial if you are sending the files off for someone else to work on who doesn’t have the same Native Instruments as you. He showed me how to program beats in a few different ways for many different kinds of projects. We really went over a lot of very specific details on work flow and keyboard shortcuts, as well as how to make every flow nice, while at the same time, keeping it below budget. We listened to a mix that my mentor gave me to work on again and I did very good, giving me a few things to work on. I left for the day with a lot of ideas to start working on in Pro Tools.”
Work with all types of microphones while working in a professional recording studio.
“I’m in week three in the Recording Connection now and I was able to learn about microphones with my mentor at his recording studio. While looking at the quiz I had taken before I got to the studio, we talked about the different polar patters, including cardioid, omnidirectional, subcardioid, supercardioid, bi-directional, hypercardioid, and shotgun. I learned that the microphones directionality or polar pattern indicates how sensitive it is to sounds that are arriving at different angles around its central axis. Moreover, my mentor pointed out the different condensers that are used to supply the microphones with phantom power, which is provided either via microphone inputs, equipment, or from a small battery. I learned that ribbon mics don’t require phantom power. Next, I was able to look at a large diaphragm condenser microphone with multiple variable pickup patterns. I got to study some different microphones, and actually look inside and see the diaphragm and all the wires and circuits that work in transducing sound. For condenser microphones, it is important to sing into the side with the logo marked on the microphone. Supposedly, AKG made a gold-plated c535 condenser vocal microphone for Frank Sinatra. Next my mentor and I moved on and I learned about different production techniques, such as Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound method, which aims at achieving a dense, layered, reverberant sound that comes across well on recordings. Phil Spector created the sound by having a number of electric and acoustic guitarists perform the same parts in unison, adding musical arrangements for large groups of musicians up to the size of orchestras, then recording the sound using an echo chamber. Therefore, I learned how to record a musician doubling many of the parts to create a fuller, richer sound. Later on that day I learned about duplicating tracks. This lesson was enjoyable; I was there for three hours straight and was able to learn a lot in that amount of time.”
Work in a professional recording studio.
“My first session this week in the Recording Connection was a long one, as well as very productive. There was a band that came in to do a whole day tracking session, starting from scratch. There were 3 guitarists, a bass player, and a vocalist. They recorded all the instruments in the sound stage with a mic on each instrument and then 3 room mics to pick up the overall sound. I helped set up all the mics and then watched as the other engineer positioned them to teach me how to do this for sessions to come. I now have an idea of where the mic needs to be when recording a guitar and bass. They recorded 5 songs that day and they all sounded pretty good. They recorded the acoustic guitars in the sound stage but recorded their electric guitars and bass in the control room through the use of a DI. It was an interesting day and I learned a lot!”
Learn how to run a recording session, from beginning to end.
“In this session my mentor and I went over a continuation of the console and its components. First we started the lesson by going over the homework that had been assigned to me and answering some questions that I had. After going through the homework my mentor and I then went straight to setting up the drum kit for a recording session for a client, set to come in later that day. Unlike the last time we set up a recording session, we simply used stands for all the cymbals and drums. We used a rack-mount system for the 5 piece drum set. Let me tell you, getting all the gear from the closet was a journey but after setting it up to a standard setting we were very happy with the end result. My mentor also showed me how to change a drum head and once again how to tune a drum. He also really made it a point to reiterate the importance of a well-tuned drum over a heavily taped drum. I was in charge of getting all 13 mics for the micing process. Once everything was set up the session engineer came in and he arranged them to his liking and preference as well, while at the same time, showing me tips and tricks on mics placement to make my life easier in the mixing and recording process. For example, the use of foam on the top snare drum mic, so it won’t become saturated with hi-hat noise. I was allowed to stay and sit in on the recording session with the client as well. The drummer and guitarist were the ones that came in for the session. They had the time slot from 1pm to 5pm session. We did actually end up running into a tom drum trouble where I was able to try to fix the problem, which was that the tom kept sliding down and hitting the bass drum. I first tried taping it to the rack but then my mentor came in to help me and we were all able to figure it out with another clamp and the use of foam as a precaution. A few hours later I ended up being the only extern left in the recording room. Not a big deal since this is what I want to do for a living and this is the type of music I like and want to record myself. The head engineer and the band were super cool and generous to let me stay and help when needed. I stayed until the end of the session, offering to lend a hand in the cleanup of the session. The engineers were happy I stayed and his assistant also thanked me for helping him with the maze of cables and the proper storage of all the mics. I not only experienced the set up process, as well as the professional recording process, but also the client interaction and the breakdown process. It was a great class and session and I look forward to doing it again soon in the Recording Connection.”
Receive a deeper understanding of how to work with Pro Tools.
“Time based reverb, echo and delay for signal processing was not a difficult subject to compute with my mentor this week during our training session. As I am currently a dance club DJ, I like to use a lot of effects that are built in to my software, as well as my digital mixer. Having the experience and understanding of what these effects sound like, as well as how they can enhance a mix, is something I’m already knowledgeable of. It’s great to have an even deeper understanding of what is happening to the signal during this process, as well as how time, pitch and tone all play their part. Class was cut short this week because of harsh weather conditions and power outages. However, I was able to get Pro Tools up and running on my computer and I was able to spend my day away from the studio still learning the software on my own. Even though the weather interrupted my class schedule I feel I still obtained my fair share of knowledge, by being able to use Pro Tools on my own time and in my own setting!”
Learn how to produce a professional recording.
“What was that noise? I feel like I am in a concert hall for some reason. Don’t worry, you aren’t going insane, the engineer simply used the power of reverb to trick your mind into hearing and believing the song was being performed in a concert hall. Reverb uses three psychoacoustic cues that give listeners an idea of the size of the space a piece of music is being performed in. The three cues are direct, early reflections, and reverberation. The direct cue is what a listener hears immediately as the sound travels from the source to the listener’s ear. Early reflections are the first instances of a sound bouncing and reflecting off the walls of the space and back to the listener in order to give in idea of the size of the room. Finally, reverberation is the collection of zillions of reflections of the sound traveling about the room. Reverb is a powerful tool that gives a whole new dimension to a sound wave. This week was a lot of fun when I got to watch the master, my Recording Connection mentor, at work. It was fun, first off, because the song he was working on mixing was actually really great to listen to and was something that I can easily hear being played on the radio. The fun really jumped off when my mentor and I began recording stomps and hand claps for a part of the song. We recorded about six different tracks of stomping and clapping as well as us shouting as if we were at a party or concert. When it all came together, it actually sounded as if the singer was performing live at a party or show and our voices blended together to sound as it does at a live event when you hear the roar of the crowd and only certain words being audible. This showed me how the engineer can use their creative listening skills to breathe a whole new life into a song.”
Learn at your own pace while enrolled in the Recording Connection.
"During my session this week my mentor and I started by going over Lesson #2 assigned to me. We went into detail on why these topics were important, including the roles they play in the audio world. We talked a lot about sampling rate, quantization, Nyquist Theorem, and dithering. In my previous lesson we had started to touch on these topics but had not moved onto talk about why or what they did. For example, learning that the Nyquist Theorem is the selected sample rate must be at least twice a high as the frequency. This also prevents aliasing. I really enjoyed our sessions this week and I can now really focus on my own questions and understand and learn at my own pace."
Develop your marketable skills here at the Recording Connection!
“My first lesson went smoothly with my mentor. When I first arrived my mentor and one of his associates were mixing a gospel song. My mentor was the engineer and his associate was the producer which portrayed the fact that in the business of making music there are often different positions you must be able to hold. As my mentor put it, you must be able to “wear different hats, know what hat you are wearing, and know how to wear each hat”. Throughout my first lesson I came to realize that my mentor is a bit unorthodox and we frequently went off on tangents. These tangents we went off on, however, were relevant in every way and made me realize that my mentor is an outstanding teacher and I can for see an immense learning experience as well as a wonderful friendship developing between us. He definitely knows how to wear his producer hat, engineer hat, and mentor hat in the most fashionable and respectable manner. While observing the mixing process, my mentor said that although it seems like a foreign language, it’s not rocket science and that with the required amount of work I’d know how to do it all. I was shown the strip silence tool which deleted the space on the tracks with no musical substance, just empty space. He showed me and air kill EQ as well as a four band parametric EQ. When they finished they “put it down” and placed their concluding product on a CD to listen to for a few days to make sure everything sounded as they planned for. Once the gospel track was finished we moved on to the structured curriculum and went through the quiz assigned to me while my mentor added to every question from the quiz. Learning little facts like that brightens my day and reinforces my decision to embark on this journey in the Recording Connection program. All I have to do is take it day by day, learn as much as I can, work as hard as I can, and in the end I have confidence that I’ll be a pro and an invaluable member of the music industry.”
Receive the support and guidance need to accomplish your career in the music industry.
“We went over the section involving plug-ins, compressors, equalizers, and artificial modulators such as reverb and delay. The discussion progressed through the quiz I had been assigned out of the Recording Connection student manual. Many of the questions that I had will be explained later on in the future for my hands-on lesson. There are many avenues of specialties in audio to aspire to with the information I’m reading in the text, such as acoustical theory and equipment design; this interests me as well. My mentor will be training me on his expertise in the industry. Also, for the lesson with my mentor we got to talk about certain Pro Tools plug-ins that I found utterly amazing and makes me very excited to work with. I played some songs I recorded in the past with Garageband, as requested by my mentor, to get his opinion. I appreciate the leaning process of the textbook; to get the knowledge I need before getting my hands dirty. My mentor has been nothing but supportive and enthusiastic during my training. He is knowledgeable, flexible and patient with my development. I am truly blessed to have him as my mentor in the Recording Connection.”
Learn how to use professional recording equipment.
“This week my mentor went over lesson #5 with me. Lesson 5 goes all over signal flow, as well as other things in regards to the recording process. By other things I mean such as mixing, blending, overdubbing, different rhythm tracks, and buses. My mentor showed me his control console, providing me the examples of different answers that I had questions about. After we went over the lesson, he moved on to show me and another student the basics of analog recording, as we have been mostly doing it digitally up until this point in the Recording Connection program. My mentor proceeded to pull out the tape that it records on and showed me how to set it up in order for it to be recorded on. He then pulled up a track that he had previously recorded and started playing it. He showed me the remote that is used to stop, pause, play, fast forward, rewind, and record. He also then hooked up one of his electric guitars to the recorder and started to play it over the original recording and showed us how to record it over the original song. It was a good learning experience as I never have seen him use the analog console before.”