OK – I think all music education students at the university level need to take one or two classes in audio engineering, along with light design. (Last year I hung and focused all of the the lights in my theatre for my steel drum shows and though I know it’s not my thing, I learned a great deal and now feel confident I can do this. Most importantly, I know the students deserved every single light cue to highlight their fantastic playing.)
I taught K-8 for 21 years and always had someone running the necessary sound and lights for every concert. I was fortunate in that I was at a Visual and Performing Arts K-8 school and the foundation payed for these brilliant people to work their magic and make my program look AND sound spectacular. When I moved to the high school level I lost their expertise and design abilities leaving me with nothing.
UNTIL I asked the students – and fortunately for the past 4 years I’ve had many who also had their own rock bands or ran audio and sound at their local churches. They were my teachers and while I’ve learned a great deal, I knew I had to take it on myself.
So this past summer I spent several weeks immersed in my sound board at school, xlr cables, and powered monitors and supported by a VERY smart man (Thank you Steve Stopper of the Stopper Group) who teaches audio engineering. I took copious notes and he was very patient with my many incorrect answers and basic knowledge) So I practiced running cables, and practiced with amps, etc., and today I feel like I’ve at least made the first hurdles.
Why am I discussing this with the world – well, it’s because I TRULY believe that all music education students should be required to take audio engineering (as well as light design classes) as a part of the education requirements. We work so hard to produce quality performances and the reality is that lighting and sound will either make or break everything we have worked so hard on – so while I stil consider myself a novice, I know I’m much better than I was even 6 weeks ago. So, I am hash tagging music and music ed on this and maybe somewhere, some university will see it and realize it’s vital to a program’s quality.
Music Educators – like many other teachers – have to do it all (these are in no particular order) we are the music educator, planner, grader, event organizer, assessor, fundraiser, concert promotor, office manager, program creator, editor, arts advocate, mediator, character builder, performer, composer, arranger, copier, guidance counselor, light designer, light hanger, audio engineer, concert recorder, computer instructor, errand runner, stand fixer, electrician, purchaser, handy(or not) person to fix everything, banker, financier, financial planner, researcher, ….and so many more – I will add as they come to me once this is published as I know I’ve missed many. Anyone have anything else to add?
But again – the point is – you have to know how to project sound if you are going to teach students how to make sound. One without the other is pointless.