Berklee Online Music Production Degree Major Handbook

March 10, 2019 | Author: Ricardo Andres Londoño Aguirre | Category: Microphone, Waves, Audio Electronics, Audio Engineering, Recording
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

info berklee...


Find your voice as a producer through utilization of Berklee’s time-tested techniques using cutting edge production software. The following lesson material is taken from Berklee Online’s Bachelor of Professional Studies degree program in Music Production. Want to learn more about earning a degree online? Contact us at 1-866-BERKLEE (USA) / +1-617-747-2146 (INT’L) or [email protected]


Music Production:  An Introduction


Listening Like a Producer


Tools of the Trade: Microphones for Vocal Production


Tools of the Trade: Mixing & Mastering with Pro Tools


Meet Instructor Jeff Baust


How Berklee Online Works


Get in Touch


Music Production: An Introduction From ‘Music Production Analysis’ by Stephen Webber

Being a recording artist or record producer is in many ways a strange  job. What a producer creates can’t be seen. What a producer creates is not even an object. If you zoom all the way out, what a producer does for a living is this: Vibrate air molecules in such a way that when the air molecules bump up against a human life form, that life form feels something. That last part, the part about feeling something—that’s the key. Vibrating air molecules is the easy part,

Fraser T. Smith, Grammy award winning producer for Adele and Sam Smith, and Berklee Online student 

especially with all the gear record producers now have at their disposal. With a modest investment in technology, you can be the master of frequency, volume, and timbre. But what determines whether or not vibrating air molecules are worth anything is what happens neurologically to the organism whose epidermis, eardrum, and cochlea receive those air molecules.

Make Your Mark: Careers in Music Production

• Recording Engineer 

• Sound Technician

• Mix Engineer 

• Production Assistant

• Mastering Engineer 

• Acoustic Consultant

• Live Sound Engineer 

• Studio Manager / Owner 


• Digital Remaster Engineer 

• Multimedia Developer  • Studio Designer 

Listening Like a Producer From ‘Music Production Analysis’ by Stephen Webber

Music, Prejudice, and the Brain

There is data that suggests that musicians experience music differently than non-musicians. One brain imaging study showed that when professional classical musicians listened to music, the left hemisphere of the brain (the analytical hemisphere) was more stimulated, while the brains of nonmusicians listening to the same music were more stimulated in the right hemisphere (the hemisphere involved with creativity). Often, musicians listen to music for reasons other than stimulating their emotions. They may want to learn something, glean new ideas, broaden their horizons, check out the competition, or see how they stack up against other players or singers. Sometimes they subconsciously harmonically analyze what they are hearing out of habit. Regardless of whether or not one is a musician, any person who listens to music has musical prejudices. Fortunately, there are ways to transcend those prejudices. These skills are not easy to cultivate, but they will make an enormous impact on how effective one is at making a record that conveys the intended response. Specifc listening skills that beneft record producers include:

• Responding to a record’s emotional content

• Listening on many levels at once

without unwanted prejudice

• Making note of possible problems without

• Reacting to a record as though it is the rst time

letting this pull you out of the emotion of the

you are hearing it, even on the hundredth listen



Listening Like a Producer

How To Develop Your Listening Skills

Put yourself in a good listening environment free from distractions. This can be your listening room or studio, or somewhere comfortable and private with a good pair of headphones. Turn off your phone, and let the people around you know that you will need to focus for the next several minutes and shouldn’t be disturbed. Attempt to let go of as many of your musical prejudices as possible, and become an empty vessel. Allow yourself be a good audience. If the record you are about to experience is capable of conveying emotion, resolve to stay open to receiving this slice of human experience. At the same time, if you are distracted or confused by something in the record, make note of this as well. Have in front of you a blank sheet to write on, or, if you are more comfortable typing your notes, create a blank word processing document on your computer. You will be making short, quick notes while listening, reporting what you feel, and then returning to a relaxed state of listening. Immediately after the record ends, expand on your abbreviated notes while your emotional response is still fresh. Let’s take a few moments to consider some of the emotions and sensory responses one may experience when listening to a record.

Examples of Possible Emotions Being Conveyed: agitation


































































Listening Like a Producer

Examples of Organic, Kinesthetic, or Sensory Responses: chills

hand touching face

raised eyebrow(s)


head bobbing


clicking ngers



clicking tongue

holding of breath

rubbing ngers together 

concerned expression

increase or decrease in breathing rate

rubbing hands together 

eyes closing

shallow or deep breathing

eyes widening

increase or decrease in heart rate

singing along

feeling of exhilaration

knot in stomach


foot tapping




mouthing the words

squinting and tilting head to one side

furrowed brow

nausea surprised expression

goosebumps hair standing up on the back of neck or arms hand covering mouth

noticeable increase or decrease in heart rate


playing air guitar or air drums


protruding lower lip pursing lips


Tools of the Trade: Microphones for Vocal Production From ‘Vocal Production’ by Prince Charles Alexander and Mitch Benoff 

Transduction is a process that converts energy. Microphones are transducers that convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. Although there are different types of microphones available for commercial use, two have emerged as workhorses in recording environments: the condenser microphone and the dynamic microphone. Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones operate by attaching a


thin diaphragm to a wired coil that is suspended around a magnetic eld produced by a permanent


magnet. When a vocalist sings into the diaphragm, the vibrations cause interruptions in the magnetic

Sound Waves


eld that cause the generation of a minute electrical Cone

current. The electrical output of this “mini electrical

Signal Out

generator” is not powerful enough to be useful at this point, so it needs to be amplied using a microphone pre-amp. Dynamic microphones are sturdy, but have a low sensitivity. Sensitivity is usually given in terms of a reference dB SPL (Sound Pressure Level, i.e., 94 dB SPL = 1 pascal). Microphones simply convert the sound pressure variations “Pa” (pascals) to audio

Dynamic Microphone

voltage “V” (volts). Dynamic microphones have an output in the neighborhood of 1.5–3 mV/Pa, which is less sensitive than condenser microphones. Dynamic microphones don’t reproduce high frequency detail as well as condenser mics. They are most

effective when working with sound sources where a lot of high frequency detail is not necessary. Although dynamic mics are preferable in live situations because they are rugged, there are some dynamic microphones that are very common in recording studios. The Shure SM57 is known to be a great snare-drum mic, for live situations and in the recording studio.


Vocal Production


Ribbon Transducer

Another type of dynamic microphone is the ribbon microphone. Ribbon microphones


replace the moving coil with a thin sheet of aluminum placed between the poles of a magnet. Once again, the vibrations of the


singer’s voice on the diaphragm moves the aluminum ribbon, which then causes small


interruptions in the magnetic eld and, thus, the generation of a minute electrical current.

Ribbon Microphone In the past, ribbon microphones were typically not sturdy, but technological advances have given producers a generation of ribbon microphones that are almost as durable as their coil counterparts. Ribbon microphones have an output of about 1–2 mV/Pa. Ribbon microphones are good for high-frequency detail, thus making them competitive for vocal performances with the ne detail of condenser mics.

Condenser Microphone Output Audio Signal

Condenser microphones use a different method of transduction for the conversion of a singing voice into electrical energy. The diaphragm of this type Sound Waves

of microphone is one side of a two-sided capacitor. The changes in air pressure from a vocalist singing into the diaphragm change the distance between

Front Plate (Diaphragm)

the diaphragm and the back plate. The back plate is charged with a direct current from an external power supply.



Condensor Microphone

Condenser mics are more fragile than their dynamic-coil counterparts and rely on external power, either via inputs on mic preamps as phantom power, or from a small battery. Condenser microphones have an output between 5–15 mV/Pa. Because condenser mics reproduce audio with a very high delity and great detail, most often they are the microphone of choice for recording vocalists in recording studios.


Tools of the Trade: Microphones for Vocal Production From ‘Vocal Production’ by Prince Charles Alexander and Mitch Benoff 

Pro Tools is as ubiquitous today as a tape recorder

things one by one. When you go to mix, draw upon

was 25 years ago. Vast multitrack recording

everything in your toolbox as you need it, relying

capability, non-destructive editing, MIDI sequence

on your technical knowledge as well as your musical

playback, automated mixing, signal processing,

intuition and creative instincts.

integrated software, synthesizers and samplers, full video support, and numerous other capabilities make it possible to use Pro Tools for anything that involves audio recording. Starting a Mix

Imagine that you’ve been given a project to mix. The

Overall Approach in a Mix

big question is, “Where do I start?” The answer, of

Let’s think about the overall approach you might

course, is that all mix engineers have their own way

employ in a mix. Imagine a typical pop music track

of approaching a mix, and they aren’t all going to

with lead vocals, two guitars, bass, drums, and keys.

do it the same way. There are many approaches to

One of the most common ways engineers approach

mixing, none of which is the “perfect” or “proper”

this kind of mix is to solo the kick drum, and EQ


and compress it. Next, solo the snare, and add EQ and compression to that. Soloing and tweaking the

Mixing is a creative act—an intuitive process where

hi-hat comes next, then the drum overhead mics.

you will be required to draw upon and utilize all of

Once the drums are set, solo the bass and tweak

your learned skills at once. It’s like playing a jazz

that up. Next, EQ the guitars, soloed and tweaked

solo on a saxophone: a musician spends time in a

one at a time, followed by the keys. Once the

practice room learning scales and modes, playing

backing tracks have been tweaked up, mostly while

Charlie Parker transcriptions, and practicing ideas

soloed, the engineer adds the lead vocals...last!

over a variety of changes. In an actual performance,

There is nothing wrong with this approach, and it

however, the musician deploys everything she has

works great for legions of engineers the world over.

learned in a synthesized and intuitive way that denes who she is as a player.

However, it’s not the only way to mix. In the above description, each track is tweaked (EQ’d,

When you’re learning how to mix, break the

compressed, etc. while soloed—that is, in isolation.

process down into its components, such as mix

For many inexperienced engineers, this approach

organization, working with EQ, using time domain

often leads to hours and hours spent making each

effects, and so forth, and focus on learning those

individual track sound great, but when the tracks


Tools of the Trade

Mixing & Mastering with Pro Tools

are all combined, the overall mix sounds terrible.

Layered Approach to Mixing

The problem is that working in solo mode helps

In this approach, you will work from the “outer”

you focus on an individual sound, but takes away

parts of the mix, in towards the “inner” parts of the

your ability to hear how the sound will relate to the

mix. Tools such as groups and memory locations

rest of the production. This is where inexperienced

help facilitate this process.

engineers stumble when they mix. These engineers forget that a mix is essentially a sonic jigsaw puzzle,


Start by putting up the lead vocals, the drums

where all of the pieces of the mix t together in an

(and/or loops), and the bass. It is important to

intricate way.

think about the most important elements in the song: the lead vocals, and the foundation of the

In a pop song, the most important element isn’t

rhythm section.

the kick drum, or the rhythm guitar track; it’s the

2. After

vocal. Everything about the mix and the production

those sounds and balances are underway,

add the rest of the production: guitars, synths,

should support that. But if you mix by starting with

and so forth, perhaps with the backing vocals.

the kick, then the snare, etc., and add the vocals last, you set yourself up for a situation where, by

3. Put

the time you add the most important element into

up the pads and strings last, once the more

important elements are in place.

the mix, there’s no more room for it. The mix has slamming drums, and clean, crisp backing tracks,

Layered Approach to Mixing

and yet, the lead vocals are buried and must compete for their own frequency and amplitude


space with myriad other sounds. This might cause Strings

you to go back and redo substantial amounts of EQ’ing and tweaking the other sounds, meaning Guitars

that the hours and hours you spent getting the drums “just right” were, at least in part, wasted.

Keys Backing Vocals

There are other ways to approach a pop song. For example, think of this kind of production as having


“layers” of sonic elements: Drums

• lead vocals Bass

• backing vocals • “ear candy” (strings, pads, sound effects) • supporting chordal and textural elements 1:30

(guitars, keys, etc.)

• rhythm foundation (bass, kit, loops) 10.


Tools of the Trade

Mixing & Mastering with Pro Tools

Focus Approach to Mixing

In this approach, simply set the faders for a “rough” mix, sit back, and listen critically. When something doesn’t sound right, adjust it, and then listen some more. When you identify the next sound that isn’t quite right, adjust that sound and continue the process. This approach can be compared to a videographer slowly bringing an entire sonic picture into focus on a camera. When everything feels like it’s in focus, the mix is done! In working this way, don’t think about any sound elements in isolation; instead hear and adjust every sound in context. React to the overall blend of all of the tracks, and how it enhances or distracts from the impact of the music. The point is to think consciously about how you approach a mix, and then evaluate your results. The next time you mix, force yourself to try a different approach, and then evaluate your success. This way, you will rene your mixing skills by developing your own best approach to mixing. And of course, you’ll probably nd that different mixing situations will call for a different approach, and you’ll be adept at any of them.


 Jeff Baust • Associate Professor, Electronic Production and Design

• Online Course Author and Instructor: Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools, Advanced Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools, and Producing Music with Logic

A composer, audio engineer, educator and multiinstrumentalist, Jeff Baust has created scores for ESPN, New England Sports Network (including music for the Bruins and Red Sox), Avid, Sony, Polaroid, Sharp, Reebok, Lotus, and others. He works primarily in his own facility, Coral Sea Music. As an audio engineer, Jeff has worked on projects for such artists as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, NBC-TV, Andre Previn, Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman, and Dawn Upshaw, as well as labels such as EMI, Philips, Nonesuch, and many others. Specializing in digital audio production, Jeff works with technologies such as Sonic Solutions, high-resolution audio (96k/24bit), HDCD encoding, and mastering as well as forensic audio and restoration tools. Jeff holds a M. A. in Composition from University of California, Davis, and a D. M. A. at Boston University, where his concentration was electronic and electroacoustic composition. He has been published in Berklee Today and Electronic Musician magazine.

“Berklee students go on to do everything from composing and producing cutting-edge music to scoring and sound design for video games, television, lm, and the web, to working as DJs and remixers, to being music artists in and of themselves. Some become producers and programmers for other artists as well as producing their own music.” 


How Berklee Online Works

Renowned Faculty Berklee Online instructors have managed, produced, and engineered hundreds of artists and records and have received numerous industry awards and accolades. Each week you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a live chat with your instructor and receive one-onone instruction and feedback on assignments.

Award-Winning Courses Instantly access assignments, connect with your instructor, or reach out to your classmates in our award-winning online classroom. Study from anywhere in the world at a time that ts into your schedule.

Specialized Degree Program No other accredited institution offers the acclaimed degree curriculum provided by Berklee Online. Earn your degree at a cost that’s 60% less than campus tuition and graduate with a professional portfolio that will prepare you for a career in the music industry.

Like-Minded Classmates Offering courses for beginners and accomplished musicians alike, our student body comes from over 140 countries and includes high school students getting a jump-start on college, working professionals, executives at industry-leading technology and business rms, and members of internationally known acts like Nine Inch Nails and the Dave Matthews Band.

Experienced Support Every online student is assigned a Berklee-trained Academic Advisor. Each Advisor is passionate and knowledgeable about music and here to support you throughout your online learning experience.

Try a sample lesson for free: 13.

Questions about Earning Your Degree Online? Contact Us.

1-866-BERKLEE (USA) | +1-617-747-2146 (INT’L) [email protected]


View more...


Copyright ©2017 KUPDF Inc.