September 22, 2020

BY MARK LORENTZ

Who needs a recording studio when you can just use a MacBook or an iPad. This is the “revolution” in music Conestoga has started to promote this year.

The college has launched three new courses this month at the Kitchener Studio Project, the new, small satellite campus on Gaukel Street. The courses will lead up to the launch of a new program, called modern audio arts, in September.

There are already some pretty big names involved in the project. Bob Egan of Blue Rodeo fame played a pivotal role in designing the courses. He also persuaded his longtime friend and music producer David Gray to leave the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles to come teach at Conestoga in the fall.

Dave Houde, an audio engineer, music producer and owner of the Sound Distillery located in Kitchener, welcomes the idea of Conestoga getting behind, and funding such an innovative and rapidly expanding field.

“There’s so much potential out there, being an audio engineer leaves you with a million different career paths ahead of you. It’s great the school can see the potential and is investing into the local community to help expand the scene here,” Houde said.

Like most of the programs offered at Conestoga in the School of Media and Design, Apple products and software will be the primary tool for the majority of the classes. Two courses in particular, Introduction to 21st Century Recording and Technology  and Introduction to Electroacoustic Audio Creation, will require the use of MacBooks or iPads to complete the projects assigned.

The launch of these courses still remains somewhat of a secret as there is no official website up and running and, as of deadline, their main source of media promotion is a small Facebook page.

Houde said the Sound Distillery would welcome students seeking an internship once the course is fined-tuned and a clear direction is made by Conestoga in regards to producing music and the credentials they are looking to offer.

“I think in the end all the gimmicks will wear off, and just pure music and talent will ultimately be left standing,” Houde said.

Zach Gerber is the musical technician for the Canadian indie-rock group Walk off the Earth, which is making a name for itself south of the border now, with appearances on various network talk shows. Gerber grew up in Waterloo Region and wishes a program like the one Conestoga has launched was around when he was done high school.

“I got extremely lucky, I was into the music scene early and knew a few people to get me this job.  It’s brilliant that people can actually go to school and learn all these things that I literally learned as I went along,” Gerber said.

He joked, “Sure we (musical technicians) might not get the groupies or the fame, but we still travel for free, and if you love the music, technically you love us too.”

For more information on the modern audio arts program visit its Facebook page, Conestogamodernaudioarts.

 

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