Short Term Practicum: Music Production, Recording and Mixing

Wyman batesphoto

Jonathan Wyman ’97


Lead Instructor: Jonathan Wyman ’97

Course Overview: This course provides a solid foundation of practical techniques for the new to intermediate recordist including signal flow analysis, optimization, structuring a session, budgeting time and finances, acoustics, mixing, and editing. The course is grounded in traditional rudiments and fundamentals, but focused on production that is nimble and forward thinking enough for the digital age. In addition to the technology, the course examines the musical, interpersonal, and organizational skills needed to make a record successfully – skills that extend beyond the realm of music production. Additionally, the course examines applications of audio technology beyond the realm of music production, including audio post-production for video and podcasting. The course focuses on imparting skills that can be applied to any digital audio workstation (DAW). Offered in 2015 and 2016.

Concentration and Major/minor information

  • Major/minor credit for Music
  • GEC credit for Sound (C005)
  • GEC credit for Producing Culture: Arts and Audience (C061)
  • GEC credit for The Collaborative Project (C012)

Learning Goals:

  • Analyze and optimize signal flow for the desired aesthetic result, and where, in every stage in the chain – from the source instrument to the playback speakers – to manipulate variable to achieve the desired result.
  • Determine and utilize the proper tools for the job: microphones, preamplifiers, equalizers, compressors, converters, DAWS. Students will investigate what makes something the best tool for the job, but also emphasizing the ability to make the best of what is at hand.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with artists and others involved in a production in order to achieve the best possible end result efficiently.
  • Effectively budget a recording session, both in terms of time and financial resources.
  • Examine and exploit limitations in the world of recording, both in terms of equipment and schedule. While DAWs offer infinite tracks and endless takes, and the affordability of gear makes for fewer time constraints, these things are not necessarily conducive to making great art, and were often not the conditions under which records considered to be creative and technical benchmarks were made.
  • Learn ways to apply these techniques not just to music production, but to other fields as well. Many professionals have had to cast wider nets in recent history in order to adapt to the changing nature of the recorded music business. Applying these techniques – technical, organizational, and interpersonal – to the fields of live sound production, port-production for video, and even podcasting can increase the students’ potential for a viable career.
  • Understand how performance and musical decisions can affect a recording as much – if not more – than the technical aspect. How to facilitate this from the role of the recordist.

Lead Instructor Biographical Information

Jonathan Wyman has been producing, recording and mixing independent and major label releases since 1997. A psychology major at Bates (’97), his thesis study examined cerebral lateralization and the perception of stereophonic recordings. After graduation, he landed a staff position at a recording studio in Portland, Maine. Shortly after, a few local releases garnered national attention, with record labels picking up the bands and sometimes releasing the self-funded albums. In 1999, the record he worked on for Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, Got To Find A Way was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues category.

Riding this success, Wyman relocated to Brooklyn, New York in 1999. He teamed up with songwriter / producer David Katz and was immersed in the world of big pop production. They worked primarily in a glorified project studio, entirely in Pro Tools, which was fairly uncommon for the time.

Despite the budget and personnel of the record for which they initially joined forces, due to label politics, it never really saw the light of day. This led Wyman to
reconsider his focus on big label undertakings and once again concentrate on independent records. In 2001, he returned to Portland, at first to the same studio where he started his career, and then eventually to a facility he helped to design and build.

Since then, Wyman has continued to produce independent records regionally and nationally from his home base in Portland, Maine. More recently, Wyman has expanded into music composition work for film, television, and advertising. He has also ventured into audio post-production for video, with clients including Apple, Adobe, and Nikon.

Read a Bangor Metro interview with Jonathan.

Guest Speakers Biographical Information

Adam Ayan is a mastering engineer at Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine. He has won a Grammy, three Latin Grammys and a TEC Award. Adam’s diverse list of mastering credits includes projects for such artists as Madonna, the Foo Fighters, Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Pearl Jam, Sarah McLachlan, Keith Urban, Juan Luis Guerra, Rush, Kelly Clarkson, the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Rascal Flatts, Barbra Streisand, Godsmack, and The Animals, to name a few.

Doug Wood is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Grace Design, a high-end boutique pro-audio company based in Colorado. Grace manufactures audiophile quality monitor controllers, microphone preamps and dynamics processors. Prior to Grace, Doug worked for Digidesign, heading up the team responsible for the creation of the Pro Control and the Control 24. Doug is also an accomplished jazz bassist, and maintains an active home studio.