Nestled in the corner of the Arts and Allied Health Building and across from the music practice rooms lies the recording studio: a space filled with high quality speakers, mixers, piano keyboards and microphones between waves of knobs and switches.
The studio’s building process began a little more than a year ago. It’s actually still under construction, though it may look by first glance inside that it’s finished.
According to Jim Butler, media engineer and builder of the studio, it’s operational but not 100 percent finished.
“We’re still a little bit in the shakedown stage of it all, making sure that everything works properly,” Butler said.
Butler is planning out the studio and use. He wants the studio to be a student driven, such as a non-profit space serving as a place of learning and instruction.
“I think where we really want to go with it, at least for now, is to use the studio as a classroom to teach people fundamentals of recording and then have tools available so they can do hands-on learning,” Butler said.
Currently, Butler teaches Music 107, the Introduction to Audio Recording class. He hopes an actual recording program can be established where students can take a sequence of classes: Music 107 for fall quarter, Music 108 for winter quarter and Music 109 for spring quarter, all of them using the studio.
Butler says the studio could be a “lab” for the recording classes, similar to how there’s a lab for a chemistry class.
The studio currently doesn’t have an open-door policy to allow students inside. It’s the studio facilitator’s job—the position currently is filled by student Cody Kissner—to make the decisions of who can come in. One of the reasons for the monitoring is due to the need for proper usage of the equipment.
“It’s (the equipment) rigged up to where you can’t make too many mistakes, but often times people get kind of intimidated, so they’re more likely to kind of forget about certain things they need to make sure that they’re not going to destroy any of the equipment,” Kissner said.
Besides this, there’s a concern for the safety of the equipment. To help the prevention of theft, two security cameras were installed inside of the studio about a week prior to spring break. The second camera was installed in the hallway outside of the studio.
“I asked if it would be possible to put cameras in here for theft prevention and campus safety said: ‘Yes, it makes total sense.’ It took about a year or so,” Butler said.
Now that there’s a step toward the protection of the equipment, Butler is trying to answer some of the questions for the larger concerns of the studio-finding the specific rights of what the studio. Butler says he has more questions than answers.
“I’d like to have the written policy in place before we get too crazy because then we might make a form you sign so everybody knows what copyright issues may be, so we’re not liable for copyright infringement,” Butler said.
Student musicians have been able to come into the studio as Butler had posted an advertisement in fall quarter looking for musicians to test out the equipment, which could be used for learning purposes for the recording classes.
Kissner also invited some of his friends with musical backgrounds into the studio to test the equipment. The processes of recording is certainly no stranger to Kissner, though he admits some of the equipment, especially the board, is complicated.
“I had my buddy who goes here, and he plays piano; I had him come in and I recorded that a little bit and just tried to incorporate as many things as possible just so I am comfortable with the studio,” Kissner said.
One of the eventual goals for the studio is to increase the studio hours to possibly six to eight hours every day. Openings on weekends is also an option, too, though nothing’s been decided for certain.
One of the other plans is the creation of a calendar, allowing for direct contact between the studio facilitator and students.
“If audio recording students have projects they need to work on, they can (will be able to) book time through the Pierce website calendar,” Kissner said. “I’m not sure where the calendar is going to actually be located.”
During the summer, Butler plans to fix minor glitches and rewiring in the studio. He also wants to have an intensive training for new facilitators for the new school year, in which he wants to begin looking for a new one now. Other projects include the creation of a web page for the studio and posters throughout campus advertising the studio.
“Once we get all the bugs worked, the schedule all lined up and get everything in place, then I’m sure that it (the studio usage) will increase a lot as well as the interest in the program,” Butler said.
Butler says he would’ve liked to have opened the studio sooner and hopes the studio projects can be complete by this fall, for the new school year.
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