ECC introduces new music classes to curriculum


Photo courtesy of Marc Beth

Char McAllister singing while Brennan Meyers and Marc Beth sit at the soundboard.

Allison Formeller, Managing Editor

Hidden in a block of offices in building H, is a recording studio. Here, students can use a mixing board with unlimited channels along with recording software to make the music they’ve written come to life.

This studio is also where MUS 150 Intro to Music Production, one of ECC’s new music classes takes place.

Over the course of a semester, students will learn how to, well, produce music. 

“I try to help students understand what goes into the music they enjoy,” said Marc Beth, the professor of class.

To do that, he lets the students take the lead, as it helps them get more interested in the subject. 

“[Students] may have an expertise in a specific genre, like hip-hop or folk or country music, for example… [so the students] get to choose what genres we’re going to talk about,” Beth said. “When I start the course every semester, I have no idea what genres we’re going to talk about.”

Getting students interested in different genres lays the groundwork for the rest of the course: they learn audio effect theory, how sound delay and reverb works, the equalization of sound and how to apply these techniques to their own work. 

“We have worked really hard to create an environment where the students are getting a comprehensive music experience,” Beth said.

This sentiment includes existing music courses, as well as another music class that ECC has recently introduced: MUS 205 Beat-making.

Similarly to Introduction to Music Production, students are given the opportunity to take the lead in Beat-making, as well.

“Students come in with their own idea about the music they wanna make, and I see my job as just trying to guide them to the best version of that as possible,” said Adam Schlippman, the professor for MUS 205.

In Beat-making, students learn how to use software, such as Ableton Live or SoundTrap to create beats.

In both classes, however, students are encouraged to expand their horizons in terms of genre. 

In MUS 150, this is done by having students listen to different types of songs, and then explaining how the song was made. By doing this, students can not only expand their horizons, but they can also start to figure out what instruments and audio effects go into different types of songs. 

“Ultimately, I’d like them to start to become expressive within the medium that they’re interested,” Schlippman said. 

While neither of these courses are required for a degree, students can take them as electives. By taking either course, students learn a little bit about music theory and instrumentation, which will build a foundation for later assignments and projects in the course. 

“I have a lot of students who don’t see a career [in music] but then they get started, and they get a lot of interest,” Beth said.

With this comprehensive foundation of music, by the end of the course, students will be able to produce their own beats or record full songs they’ve written on their own. 

Even if students are not pursuing a career in music, their participation will open thir eyes to the deeper aspects of how music is made.

“You are never going to hear music the same way as you did before you walked into this class,” Beth said.

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