Music Production and Recording Arts

 

The Convergence of Music, Technology, and Liberal Arts

The Bachelor of Science in Music Production & Recording Arts degree is designed for students who wish to study the intersection of music and technology in the context of the liberal arts. This includes disciplines such as songwriting, composing music for film and video games, audio engineering and music production, post-production audio, music business and entrepreneurship, and performing in commercial music genres. Elon’s MPRA program prepares students for a wide variety of careers in the music industry, graduate studies in music technology, or related fields.

The guiding philosophy of the Music Production & Recording Arts degree program is to bring together the rich historical, aesthetic, and theoretical foundations of music with the stylistic and technological implications of modern music production and recording techniques, preparing talented students to be competitive in the market place of the 21st Century.

 

Elon MPRA Alumni and Student Music Videos

To give you an idea of the variety and quality of the work our MPRA students and graduates create, here is a playlist of some of the songs written, produced, performed, or engineered by alumni or current students in our program.

 

Music Production Facilities

Elon’s Music Production & Recording Arts program is housed in a new facility at Arts West, next to Scott Studios and the Art Department. Our MPRA facility includes four production studios for recording, editing, mixing, mastering, and teaching.

Recording Studio A

Studio A features an API 1608 32-channel analog mixing console with dual-layer automation (analog mix and DAW control), with PMC TwoTwo6 nearfield monitors. Our primary DAW is Avid Pro Tools HDX. Studio A’s tracking room can comfortably track as many as 12-16 musicians at once. It includes an isolation booth and eight 8-channel Hear Technologies Hearback personal monitor mixers.

For more detailed information about our outboard compressors, EQs, and preamps, view the equipment list below:

Studio A Outboard Equipment List

The API console includes built-in 500-series EQ modules:

  • API 550A
  • API 560
  • Great River Harrison 32
  • Phoenix Audio DRS-EQ/500

Compressors:

  • Shadow Hills Industries Dual Vandergraph Stereo Compressor
  • Pete’s Place BAC-500 FET Compressor
  • dbx 560A
  • API 525
  • API 529 stereo bus compressor

Additional outboard compressors:

  • Universal Audio Twin 1176
  • Empirical Labs Distressors
  • Anthony DeMaria Labs ADL-1500 Stereo Tube Compressor
  • Warm Audio WA-76
  • Warm Audio WA-2A

Outboard microphone preamps

  • Vintech Audio 273
  • Chandler Limited TG2 Abbey Road Special Edition
  • Joemeek oneQ2 channel strip
  • ART PRO MPA II Tube Mic Preamplifier

For further details about our microphone collection view the mic locker inventory below:

Mic Locker Inventory

  • AEA: R84 Ribbon Mic (1)
  • AKG: C1000S (1), C214 Matched Pair (2), C414 XLS (1), C414 XL-II Matched Pair (2)
  • Audio-Technica: AT4050 (1), PRO37 (2), PRO44 Boundary Mic (1)
  • Audix: D6 (1), D2 (2), D4 (1), I5 (1), ADX51 (2)
  • Avantone: CK-1 (1), CV-12 (1)
  • Beyerdynamic: M160 Hypercardioid Double Ribbon Mic (2)
  • CAD: Trion 7000 Ribbon Mic (1)
  • Cascade: Fat Head II Matched Pair (2)
  • DBX: RTA-M DriveRack RTA Measurement Mic (1)
  • DPA: 4090 Hi Sensitivity Omni Mic (2)
  • Earthworks: 6Hz-30kHz Omni TC Mic Pair (2)
  • Electro-Voice: RE20 (2)
  • Focusrite: Scarlett CM25 Mk II (1)
  • Heil: PR-30 (1), PR-40 (1)
  • Lauten Audio: LA320 (1)
  • Manley: Reference Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Mic (1)
  • Miktek: CV4 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Mic (1), PM11 (1)
  • Mojave Audio: MA-200 Tube Condenser Mic (1)
  • Neumann: KM184 Stereo Pair (2), TLM 102 (1), U47 FET (1), U87 (2)
  • Røde: NT1-A (1), NT5 (2)
  • Royer: R-121 Dynamic Ribbon Mic (1)
  • sE Electronics: sE2200a II C (1)
  • Sennheiser: e604 (1), e609 (2), e906 (1), MD421 II (7)
  • Shure: Beta 52A (1), Beta 57A (1), Beta 58A (12), Beta 87A (1), KSM 137 (4), KSM 32 (4), SM 57 (10), SM7B (1), SM81 (2), VP88 Stereo Mic (1)
  • Slate: ML-1 Virtual Mic System (1)
  • Telefunken: CU-29 Copperhead (1)
  • Warm Audio: WA14 (AKG C414 clone) (4), WA-87 (Neumann U87 clone) (4)

 

Recording Studio B

Studio B features a Solid State Logic (SSL) Matrix 2 32-channel analog mixing console with dual-layer automation (analog and DAW control), with PMC Result6 nearfield monitors. Our primary DAWs are Avid Pro Tools HD Native and Logic Pro X. Studio B is used as a teaching and learning space for microphone technique, signal flow and gain structure and a place for students to practice the fundamentals of music production and audio engineering before moving to Studio A for higher level recording projects.

 

Studio C – Live Room

Studio C is a large live room used for tracking larger groups for either Studio A or Studio B control rooms. The Elon Electric Ensemble and Techtronica also rehearse in Studio C. Other uses of the studio include teaching live sound and a meeting space for Limelight, Elon’s student-run record label. Many analog and digital mixing consoles are available for use in Studio C, including our flagship live console, Avid’s Venue S6L.

 

Studio D – Dolby Atmos, Post-production & Mastering

Studio D is a our new mixing, mastering, and music production studio featuring an Avid S6 48-channel digital mixing console with Dolby Atmos 7.4.1 surround sound designed by world-reknowned studio designer John Storyk. The studio includes a classic modular analog synthesizer in the style of Robert Moog’s creations of the 1960’s-70’s.

 

MPRA Computer Lab

The department also has a fully equipped music technology lab featuring full size, 88-key semi-weighted MIDI keyboard controllers, and a sound isolation booth. The lab also houses 18 27″ iMac digital audio workstations with a second 22-inch flat-panel monitor, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interfaces/mic preamps and ShuttlePro. The stations run Pro Tools, Logic Express, Sibelius, GarageBand, Studio One, Ableton Live, Auralia and other software tools relating to audio production, ear training and music theory.

 

Additional Music Facilities

The Department of Music is housed in the Center for the Arts, a 75,000-square-foot facility boasting numerous concert Steinway grand pianos; McCrary Theatre, a large, fully equipped theatre and concert hall; Yeager Recital Hall; and modular practice rooms and studios. Historic Whitley Auditorium houses a new Casavant pipe organ and a Steinway grand piano.

For photographs and more information, visit the Facilities portion of our website.

The Music Production & Recording Arts program also partners with the School of Communications, giving students access to additional recording and production facilities.

 

MPRA Curriculum

Students work closely with experienced faculty who are established composers, recording engineers, producers, performing musicians, and music scholars. The curriculum creates a solid foundation in both musicianship and technology, with courses such as music theory, aural skills, applied instrument/voice lessons, performance ensembles, the physics of sound, introduction to music technology, critical listening, studio techniques, music business, and postproduction. Students then build upon these experiences by selecting a concentration that best suits their interests and career goals:

Music Production – emphasizing songwriting, singing and performing, composing for film and television, etc.
Recording Arts – emphasizing audio engineering, technology, live sound production, mixing, etc.

Within Elon’s Music Production & Recording Arts degree program, the concentrations, course offerings, and opportunities to combine minors in other fields such as cinema production, business, computer science, and arts administration, offer flexibility for students to customize their curriculum to best suit their learning goals and career plans. For a detailed list of the courses available in our MPRA curriculum, follow the link below.

Music Production & Recording Arts Requirements & Courses

For information on the University’s General Studies requirements, visit the General Studies home page.

 

Visiting Artists and Industry Professionals

Our students have the opportunity to work with guest artists, engineers, producers, music business owners, and many other industry professionals. Below is a list of a few of the guests that have spoken or worked with our MPRA majors on campus. Many others have spoken with our students remotely through video chats.


Jimmy Webb
Songwriter for artists such as Glen Campbell, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, The Temptations, Cher, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, The Everly Brothers, Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers, Carly Simon, Josh Groban, and more.


Elaine Bradley
Drummer with Neon Trees and drummer, singer, and songwriter with Noble Bodies.


Elliot Mazer
Producer of artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Byrds, Gordon Lightfoot, Dead Kennedys, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, and The Band.


Itzhak Perlman
World-renowned Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and music teacher.


Marcella Araica
Sound engineer at Dream Asylum Studios, working with artists such as Beyonce, Britney Spears, Madonna, and more.


Michel Holbrook
Audio engineer at Trailblazer Studios, mixing long-form television series, mixing and sound designing documentary films, and engineering client sessions and managing production audio.

 


John Storyk
Architect, acoustician, and founding partner of WSDG. He has provided design and construction supervision services for the professional audio and video recording community since the 1969 design of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York City.


Carmine Appice
Drummer with Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart.


Jim Hoyle
President and owner of Audio & Light, a company headquartered in Greensboro, NC specializing in live concert event production, A/V equipment rental, and A/V integration at universities, theatre’s, houses of worship, hospitals, and civic institutions.


 

Internship Opportunities

The MPRA program provides a wide range of internship experiences through partnerships with media companies, recording studios, record labels, production companies, live sound companies, music publishers, performance venues, and other music industry organizations and businesses. The internship opportunities give students valuable work experience and allow them to build lasting professional relationships and meaningful contacts within the industry.

You can view a list of some of the places our MPRA students have interned in the past below:

MPRA Internships List

     

    Performance Opportunities

    In addition to traditional ensembles found in most college music programs, such as orchestra, band, choirs, and jazz ensembles, students at Elon can join performing groups focused on commercial music genres, such as Elon Electric Ensemble (pop, rock, indie, folk, funk, R&B), Techtronica (various EDM genres such as House, Techno, and Dubstep, Hip hop, Electropop/Synth-pop, etc.) and élan (a cappella, vocal jazz). Additionally, the department has a variety of classical chamber music groups, percussion ensemble, world percussion, guitar ensemble, and more. More information can be found on the music department’s ensemble page.

     

    Music Industry Careers

    A degree in Music Production & Recording Arts can prepare you for a variety of careers that combine the art of music with applications of technology. An even broader range of careers are available for students who minor or double major in other fields such as communications, cinema production, business, computer science, arts administration, or graduate programs such as a masters of business administration, law, interactive media, etc.

    Examples of careers include:

    Music Industry Careers - Sample List

    • Composer of Theater Music, Composer of Film and Television Music, Composer of Video Game Music, Composer of Church Music, Composer of Classical Music
    • Songwriter, Lyricist, Arranger, Orchestrator, Music Copyist
    • Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Front-of-House Engineer, Monitor Engineer, Mastering Engineer
    • Live Sound Crew, Sound Technician, Backline Technician, Drum Technician, Guitar Technician, Keyboard Technician, Studio Technician, Wiring Technician, Technical Director
    • Solo Artist, Duo, Band Member, Session Musician
    • Music Editor, Sound Designer, Music Supervisor for Film/Video
    • Record Producer, Studio Manager
    • Club DJ, Disc Jockey
    • Music Teacher

    By combining a major in Music Production & Recording Arts with a minor or double-major in another field like Communications, Business, Computer Science, Arts Administration or graduate programs in Business Administration, Law, and Interactive Media, an even wider range of career possibilities are available, such as:

    • Artist Manager, Agent, Booking Agent/Talent Agent, Box Office Manager, Concert Promoter, Independent Radio promoter, Publicist/Press Agent, Public Relations Director
    • Entertainment Attorney, Legal Assistant/Paralegal, Business Manager, Advertising Account Executive
    • Music Supervisor (Music Licensing/Clearance), Music Business Consultant, Contractor
    • Marketing, Salesperson (Record Label), Regional Sales Manager, Marketing Representative, Field Merchandiser, Retail Sales Management, Consumer Researcher
    • A&R Administrator, Artist Relations Representative, Promotional Staffer
    • Tour Coordinator, Road Manager, Tour Publicist
    • Manufacturing, Manufacturer Representative, Software/Hardware Trainer, Music Instrument Manufacturing
    • New Media Manager, New Media Assistant, Web Producer, Website Designer, Social Media Specialist, Music Video Director
    • Facilities Manager, Festival Organizer, Stage Manager, Venue Director, Venue Assistant, Operations Manager
    • Music Critic, Editor, Editorial Assistant
    • Music Librarian, Financial Staff, Customer Support Representative
    • IT Programmer, Database Developer, Software Developer

     

    Experienced Faculty & Staff

    The Department of Music faculty combine a passion for teaching with a vast range of composing, performing, teaching, production, and audio engineering experience. Below are some of the faculty and staff members that work most closely with majors in the Music Production & Recording Arts program.


    Picture of Todd Coleman playing a double bass.Dr. Todd Coleman is the founding coordinator of Music Production & Recording Arts at Elon University. He is a composer and bassist. His music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and university ensembles throughout the United States, with commissions for orchestra, wind ensemble, chorus, chamber music and electronic music. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in music composition and double bass at Brigham Young University. He then went on to attend the prestigious Eastman School of Music, earning his M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in composition and double bass, studying composition with Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Rouse, Augusta Read Thomas, and David Liptak, and double bass with James VanDemark. Much of Coleman’s creative work blurs the boundaries between artistic disciplines, exploiting the intersection of technology and the arts, incorporating multi-channel digital audio and/or video playback, or live signal processing along with acoustic instrumental and vocal performance. He recently completed a five-year term on the Board of Advisors for the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition.


    Picture of Clay Stevenson with studentsProfessor Clay Stevenson is a songwriter, composer, audio engineer, and producer specializing in pop, pop/rock, and electronic music.  His music has gained notoriety in feature films including Escapee (Voltage Pictures) and Standing Ovation (Kenilworth Film Productions).  Additionally, while in Los Angeles, Stevenson worked for a number of years in commercial music, extensively with Vision Film and Television Productions composing and designing sound for commercials and corporate videos.  Under the producer name daade, he has collaborated with such artists as DACAV5, El Prezidino, TRev, M:O.R., NPA, and T3.  As daade, Stevenson also presented music in the iStandard Producer’s Showcase at the ASCAP Expo.  Currently, he is writing and composing for Cobel Music and two music production libraries, K.A.P. Music and NOMA Music.  Stevenson has recently designed an innovative course in the study and production of musical mashups.  The course encourages creative art expression through the use of music software to edit and manipulate existing music.


    Picture of Fred JohnsonProfessor Fred Johnson has enjoyed an audio career covering many areas. He has worked in live sound reinforcement and recording for concerts and theater, broadcast for radio and television, audio consulting, video editing, animation production and church sound design. His specialties are the genres of classical and jazz, with his research interests being microphone technique. He earned a BS in Music and a MS in Recording Arts from the University of Colorado-Denver and served on their faculty from 2008-16, teaching classes in Audio Production, Critical Listening and Surround Sound.  He has worked with the Colorado Symphony, the Takacs String Quartet, Dave and Don Grusin, the Colorado Music Festival, Christopher O’Riley, the Boulder Bach Festival, the International Trombone Society and many others. His work has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today and several television networks. He has also produced audio/video projects with groups in France, Lithuania and Senegal.


    Dr. Carey Harwood has performed and recorded on guitar, banjo, mandolin and lute with rock bands, singers, symphony orchestras, film ensembles, choirs, pit orchestras, opera companies, bluegrass bands and as a soloist throughout the United States and Central America. Before coming to Elon, Carey served on the faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina, the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, and the University of Colorado. He also owned and operated a community music school, Carolina String Studio, that served over 300 students and employed 10 instructors. His diverse musical background helps him inspire students to be on the lookout for innovative ways to make a living making music.


    Picture of Stephen Futrell performingDr. Stephen Futrell (choral, trumpet, arranging) has appeared throughout the United States and Europe as a vocalist, trumpeter, writer, arranger, producer and on-screen talent. His experience includes being a featured vocalist at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as serving as a music producer for DreamWorks Animation SKG. He also recently discovered, edited and had published three choral works by Anna Amalia von Sachsen. Dr. Futrell is the Director of Choral Activities at Elon and conducts the department’s a cappella vocal jazz/pop ensemble élan.


    Picture of Rick Earl in a mixing studioRick Earl (live sound, technical director for cultural programs) worked as a live sound engineer for many national touring acts during the 1980’s and 90’s mixing monitors and front of house. Rick joined the Elon University staff in 2006 as Technical Director of Cultural & Special Programs. He works closely as a mentor with Music Production & Recording Arts majors interested in audio engineering and live sound production, sharing his years of experience one-on-one and in small group settings, including supervising live sound student work-study staff.