By Dr. Christoph Thompson

Summer Symposium’s newest student division for 2018!

Music production has become an umbrella term that encompasses almost all aspects of commercial music creation. The lines between the different roles in the modern studio are soft and it is this multitude of skills that the Music for All Summer Symposium Music Production Boot Camp teaches incoming students. Every facet of the production process is covered. From the writing of music, to the recording, to the mixing, and the final production tricks. Even better, every part of the process is taught by an expert who is active in the profession. From award-winning recording engineers, to AVID-certified Pro-Tools instructors, to university-level theory instructors—students will learn the essential skill set from the pros.

I am especially excited to offer songwriting and pop-theory classes. Not only will the students get a music theory primer, but they will analyze popular songs from a musical standpoint and learn basic song structure. The songwriting is taught by a university-level theory and composition instructor with a significant background in pop music. The benefit for the students is that the camp is tailored to the exact level that students are typically at before they come to a university music program. With over 10 years of experience in teaching music theory, the songwriting instructor knows exactly how to cater to the needs of pre-university students. The music fundamentals and songwriting aspect of the workshop gives the students a truly well-rounded experience. The curriculum is rigid enough to ensure quality instruction but flexible enough to engage students of different levels. With recording being the first step of the technical production process, it is where doing it right the first time counts. That is why professional instruction is important especially for the fundamentals. Basic studio signal flow, acoustics, microphone technique and general recording craft are all central topics in the recording industry. We are especially lucky to have the legendary Chuck Ainlay on board for the 2018 Music Production Boot camp.

Chuck will be running recording sessions from setting up the mics correctly to getting the recording just right. Camp students being completely involved in the process working side-by-side with Chuck. The combination of world class instruction and top-level gear will create a unique summer experience.

Being a seasoned record producer and audio engineer, Chuck Ainlay is excited at the opportunity to work with the students. “When I got in the business, things were so different as there were no schools offering a degree program in the Music Business. If you were lucky enough to get an apprenticeship it was a long road but you could learn from the gifted pros while working in a real recording studio. The idea of giving back some of the knowledge I’ve acquired from working with great artists, producers and musicians is really special for me as I know some of the kids are going to take that information and use it in a completely different way than I ever imagined. That’s what I did and that’s how things move forward. It’s always so great to see the excitement and fearless courage that young people have and I look forward to sharing my never ending passion for music and the recording arts.”

One thing that makes the Ball State Media Production Studios unique is not only the sheer size of the facility, but more so the fact that it houses three full size control rooms, two large recording spaces, and in addition to that five project studios and a mastering suite. This enables the students to receive plenty of studio time. Hands on experience is what the production boot camp is all about, and only a facility like the BSU MMP studios can handle a high number of students without compromising quality of instruction. The 10,000 square feet are packed with the latest gear ranging from Analog Neve Consoles, to high end outboard gear, and a microphone collection ranging from vintage tube mics to the latest digital microphones.

The Music Production Boot Camp is a dream come true for any student who has strong ambitions in music production. Especially the technical aspects of production and recording which will be based on industry-standards. As the director of a university technology program I am well aware of the skill set we like to see in incoming production students. This is where a unique experience such as the Music Production Boot Camp comes in: It establishes all the fundamental skills that students who are serious about production and pursuing a possible university degree should have. I am confident that what our boot camp offers will satisfy even the most advanced students.