Mixing it Up



Music students returning to MCLA this week after their winter break found a new recording studio that will allow them to reach new levels of creativity. According to music professor Michael Dithey, through their use of the studio, "They will experience and understand balance, emphasis and rhythmic patterns. They will have a deep insight into concepts of unity and variety. They will design projects that we cannot yet conceive."

Located in the Church Street Center, the recording studio was needed because of the direction students are headed, says Christine Condaris, MCLA music professor. "It is extremely exciting. It's state-of-the-art. It's time."

"With this studio, a whole world of possibility is in front of us," Dilthey says. "With this equipment and the addition of video editing on the central computer, the music software programs of Protools, Live, and Garageband are magic seeds of exploration."

The studio will be used to record individual musicians, as well as curricular and extra-curricular ensembles. In addition, this space immediately will facilitate courses such as "Composing with Software," "Orchestration," "Recording I & II," "Music Theory I & II," "Performance Workshop," and "Form and Analysis."

Music majors are not expected to be the only students to use this new space. "Last month, a rock band consisting of non-major students recorded with a smaller workstation of department
equipment and found the experience to be thrilling," says Dithey. "They recorded 10 songs
and are looking forward to starting up again."

The studio also will be utilized frequently by those involved with the Performing Arts Workshop (PAW). Workshop participants plan a musical theater production of Godspell in June.

"With the addition of the recording studio, we will record portions of the performance in rehearsal and use these recordings in significant ways during the show," Dilthey explains. "The recordings, along with video, will interact with the final performances. Future uses of the recording studio will also interface with the TV studio, the Church Street Center auditorium and other venues around the campus, and beyond."

Since his arrival at MCLA in fall 2008, Dilthey says he has worked "passionately" to include computer music technology in the college curriculum so students stay current in a rapidly evolving 21st century, having knowledge of the latest music software and electronic hardware.

"My students must know about Finale, MIDI, and sequencing loops. They need to have some ability at a sound board and know how to handle a microphone," he adds. "The MCLA Recording Studio is a wonderful addition to the campus."

The space consists of two rooms - a larger room which doubles as a rehearsal room for the Jazz Band, Community Band, and the college's choruses. This room is equipped with a piano, drums and percussion equipment, guitar and bass amplifiers, microphones and cables, music stands, and chairs.

The second room has visual access to the larger room via a 4-foot x 8-foot studio window. It includes two primary work stations - a DIGIDESIGN C/24 - 24 track board for Protools software and accompanying hardware, and a desk with peripheral support equipment, a 27-inch Mac computer, and an AKAI controller for Ableton "Live." The studio also includes a Yamaha Clavinova keyboard, and supports Logic, Finale and Garageband.