Curriculum

There are 5 courses in the Audio Engineering curriculum.  Each course is designed to provide you with vocabulary, skills and technical knowledge used in recording and mixing music.

The “Intro to Audio Engineering” course is designed to give you the technical basics, the “language of  audio”.

The “Intro to Pro Tools” course prepares you for the advanced courses, giving you the ability to understand and run the recording program. Learning Pro Tools recording software (the industry standard), will help you to relate to ANY of the other computer programs on the market.

The advanced courses (Levels 3, 4 and 5) are studio “hands-on” courses that will focus on refining your listening skills, providing both the technical and artistic aspects of audio engineering.

Upon successful completion of all 5 courses, you will have the tools to understand your own home recording system better or apply for an internship at a recording studio.

After completion of the 5 courses, a Certificate of Completion is given.  The one-on-one Intensive is not required to receive the Certificate.

(Private tutoring and/or help with set-up of home computer recording equipment is available if the full class is not desired)

Intro Course: “Introduction to Audio Engineering” – 8 weeks, one session per week, 1.5-2 hour sessions. Day of week depends on student and instructor availability. Time slot depends on student and instructor availability.

Understanding computer recording software and interfaces:

  • Understanding all the software options
  • Understanding Hardware Interfaces
  • Understanding what sample rate, bit depth, latency and dither means in relation to digital recording
  • Understanding what a word clock is and what it’s used for

The Five Main Stages of a Recording Project:

  1. Pre-Production: What goes on during the pre-production phase and why it’s necessary.
  2. Bed tracks: What rhythm tracks are and why they are the foundation of every project.
  3. Overdubs: Recording all the additional tracks not recorded during the bed tracks. Usually one musician at a time. Learn about punching in, creating vocal composites and double tracking.
  4. Mixing: How mixing can make or break a project. Making an effective stereo image for your mix.
  5. Mastering: The link between production (the studio) and manufacturing CD’s or mp3’s. Why you should never skip this important step.

Theoretical and Practical Application of:

Microphones:
The fundamental styles of microphone placement. Use of microphone types and techniques for various instruments. The difference between dynamic, ribbon and condenser microphones. The difference between omni-directional, bi-directional and cardioid microphone patterns. The use of microphone pre-amps. The use of a direct box for electronic instruments. Acoustic and Electrical phase cancellation.

Equalizers:
Understanding the audio frequency spectrum and learn how to use Equalizers properly.
Learn about the different EQ curves. Peak/Dip Bell curve, Shelving curve and Roll Off Filters.
Learn what “Q’ and bandwidth is.

Compressors:
The basics of “dynamic range” processors including compressors, de-essers, limiters and noise gates…. how they work and why they are useful. Using compression on individual tracks or as a Stereo Left/Right Mix compressor.

Pro Tools Digital Recording, Mixing and Editing:
Demonstrations and an introduction to the most popular computer recording program in the music industry.

Other topics include:
The meaning of “signal path”/”signal flow” and how a “patch bay” plays an important role in this. The difference between unbalanced and balanced cable connections.
What does TRS, TS, XLR, 1/4″, RCA, 1/8″ mean?

The following list of classes can be taken without taking the Intro Course. If the Intro Course is desired, it can be taken before, during or after ANY of the following classes.

Level 2: “Intro to Pro Tools” – 5 weeks, one session per week, 1.5-2 hour sessions.

In-depth Pro Tools lessons are in preparation for the advanced courses. Learn what Pro Tools “automation” is, “plug-ins” and how they are useful for mixing. Learn the basics of editing and the basics of Effects (Reverb, Echo/Delay, Phasing/Chorusing, Flanging). Day of week depends on student and instructor availability. Time slot depends on student and instructor availability.

Level 3: “Recording Session Intensive” – 6 weeks, one session per week, 6:30-9:30PM. Day of week depends on student and instructor availability.

This class is a “hands-on” recording project with a live band in a large, professional recording studio. It focuses on the recording process utilizing high quality professional microphones, mic pre-amps and Pro Tools.

  • Week 1 gets students familiar with the studio we’ll be recording in.
  • Weeks 2, 3, and 4 are spent recording 3 “bed tracks” with a band (recording drums, bass and guitar live).
  • Weeks 5 and 6 are spent recording additional tracks (“overdubs”) for the 3 songs.

Level 4: “Mixing Session Intensive” – 6 weeks, one session per week, 6:30-9:30PM. Day of week depends on student and instructor availability.

This class focuses on the mixing process. The 3 songs that were recorded in the Recording Intensive course will be mixed by the students with instructor supervision. Mixing techniques such as automation, effects, compression and EQ are taught in more detail than in any of the other courses.

Level 5: “Recording/Mixing Practicum” – 8-10 weeks (depending on how many students are in the class), one session per week, 6:30-9:30PM. Day of week depends on student and instructor availability

Each student or a small group of students are responsible for the following:

  • Finding an appropriate local band to record
  • Doing some basic pre-production before coming into the studio
  • Setting up and recording the band’s bed track
  • Setting up and recording all the additional tracks for the band’s song
  • Mixing the song and making CD copies or mp3’s for the band and yourself

“One-on-One Intensive”
Private weekly lessons for students that need one-on-one with instructor. Cost and length is determined by the needs of each student. Inquire to karenkane@mixmama.com for  further information.

For Class Registration: Send Karen Kane an email requesting a Registration Form