A funny thing happened on the way to this blog post: I was googling for some background info to support my Saturday interviews with Bob Egan and David Gray of Conestoga College’s Modern Audio Arts program, and found *the* post on this topic by my good friend and awesome writer Tony Reinhart. Not even a week old.
What to do? First: you should go read Tony’s post. Second: click through for my usual gritty and guerrilla look at MAA’s Saturday open house at the Kitchener Studio Project.
* if you’re making mobile apps, games, music, or video, you should definitely check this program out. Bob and David are a heavy fusion of industry and academic cred combined with a forward-looking vision of how to teach audio capture/creation/delivery. They’re also super-chilled out.
* go to the next open house (Tue Dec 3 6pm-9pm – 44 Gaukel – aka the old post office)
* sign up! They’re rolling when they get 15 students for January. The first three courses will run Mon-Wed 6pm-9pm. Every in-class hour will likely require an out-of-class hour. Here’s a relevant shortcut to the Conestoga catalogue. Each course appears to be $315 and I believe there’s no obligation to take all three. The catalogue says Doon campus, but I’m sure it’s actually going to be at KSP on Gaukel, which doesn’t yet show up in Conestoga’s list of campuses.
Ok, so (a medium-unreasonable number of) pics…
MAA’s doors front right on Gaukel across from the bus station. Only a block away from all that goodness at The Tannery, at EA Games on King, and at the new 305 King St W “graduator” that Perimeter Development Corp announced last week.
Let me give a nod to the super-friendly greeter at the door (please tell me your name again). As someone who goes to many of this type of I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-in-for events, I can tell you it is triple-excellent when there’s a person at the door who says, hey come on in, you’re here for the Modern Audio Arts open house, right? Glad you came. Simple. Human. Appreciated.
Here’s Bob Egan. You’ve already read Tony’s blog post (right?), so let me just add that Bob is a really centred guy who is passionate about the MAA program. He’s got a gravity about him, so it’s like talking with Yoda. The Yoda of teaching next-generation audio kung fu (to mix metaphors), with a Lorne Greene voice.
In creating the MAA program, Bob reached out to a number of what we’ll call old-school sound engineers. Giant rigs. Giant studios. Trained in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s. Secret knowledge. They weren’t exactly enthusiastic about the MAA idea. It can be threatening to think that on a long enough timeline, you may be superannuated by a kid with a laptop running GarageBand. Bob’s vision is to equip students with domain expertise within the media they already inhabit using toolsets that are lower-cost and at hand. And quickly, too. This isn’t a typical 4-year program. It’s about capture/create/deliver/market skills in 1.5 year package. Since I keep typing MMA instead of MAA, I guess we can call this the street fighting of the audio industry. Record anywhere and everywhere. Remotely loop in a choir from Finland. Record sound from the bus station across the road and build that into a sound palette that rolls into your tracks.
Like all good social inventors, Bob has talked with city council, The Jazz Room, Maxwell’s Music House, the KOI Music Fest gang, Laurier Music, Communitech, established and startup tech companies, and the list goes on. Lots of support for MAA.
Bob noted that our community is losing 50-70 students per year to audio programs at Fanshawe College (London) and MetalWorks (Mississauga). Diverting a fraction of those students to MAA will launch the program and demonstrate the concept.
I asked Bob what success for the program will look like: “Everybody is having fun with it.” Hey, that’s my metric, too.
Not surprising to see Conestoga College at the root of this effort. They have a great track record of thinking things up and getting them done.
Here’s David Gray (right) talking to a prospective student. David has partnered with Bob in creating the curriculum for this program. Working on his own PhD, with a background as a musician and producer, David’s the right guy to teach the skills and guide students on how to source paying work.
This is my first look inside 44 Gaukel, and…
I can really see the potential here at KSP.
Fresh gear, lots of space, killer location.
It’s an awesome grab bag of…
Also in the mix on Saturday were some students…
capturing the MAA story.
Pretty cool to imagine what work is going to come out of this group.
David described recording with whatever is at hand: iPhone, iPad, laptop. He described a concept that I’ll call massively parallel recording: imagine dozens of people, ringing a sound source and all recording it, then mixing all those inputs down. Interesting.
Stone’s throw to City Hall.
showed me some of the iPad-based tools that students will use. This is wicked.
Ok, if you’re still with me, and you’re curious, get down to the Modern Audio Arts open house coming up this Tuesday Dec 3 6pm-9pm and talk to Bob and David.