Lifelong Learning

Digital Music Production

Block 3 Featured Course / Department: Music / Professor: Dr. Iddo Aharony

This course provides an introduction to concepts and methods for the creative use of technology in music, with a focus on music production using a digital audio workstation. Students work on a series of creative projects through a range of techniques, within a hands-on environment. The students’ work is informed by an introduction to the fundamental theoretical context (acoustics, digital and analog sound, MIDI), as well as analytical listening and discussion. Topics include digital audio sampling and editing, signal processing, synthesis, and basic recording techniques.

Dr. Iddo Aharony

From Dr. Aharony

When I first arrived at CC, creating this course was my inaugural pedagogical challenge. And what a challenge it was! My hope was to create a course that would provide students not only with the initial technical and aesthetic know-how for creating their own music digitally, utilizing a variety of tools, but also with the basic theory behind these tools, along with an introductory-level ability to analyze music they hear and make. And, for the course to be open to any interested students — in other words, inviting complete beginners with no relevant background along with students who already have meaningful experience producing and creating digitally. I wanted students to be encouraged to follow their own aesthetic or stylistic direction while being supported along the way. Oh, and naturally, all of this within the brevity of the block.

I wish I could say that my first attempt was fully successful at achieving all of these goals. However, over the years, thanks to very valuable feedback from the students in every iteration of this class, as well as the close collaboration of Music Technical Director Justin Maike, the course started coming into its current shape. At this point, it has become one of the main entryways into music-making at CC, with some students who have never previously made music or played an instrument developing later into wonderful creative musicians (as well as music majors).

Partial list of projects within the course

  • Sonic collages made only of sampled sound-making objects the students record at the recording studio
  • “Sound sculpting” compositions, imaginatively processing, manipulating, and layering recorded samples using various techniques
  • Individual creative projects, designed by each student and utilizing their own studio recordings along with MIDI and various editing and signal processing techniques
  • Analysis project, sonically dissecting the production of a song or other musical piece of the student’s choice and presented as a short podcast

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