AES Section Meeting Reports

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - October 25, 2018

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On October 25th, 2018 the AES chapter at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences hosted a clinic with Conservatory Instructor and owner of Gremlen Studios in Chicago, Sam Beckley. The clinic revolved around basic music theory concepts as well as how audio engineers can employ these concepts in the recording environment. The primary goal of the clinic was to provide students with techniques for identifying key, tempo, and song arrangement using a combination of scale knowledge and software features within Logic Pro X.

• Sam Beckley is a CRAS graduate, studio owner, and multi-instrumentalist who joined the Conservatory teaching staff in 2018. He has a well-versed background in music theory and songwriting which he has used to his advantage as an audio engineer on numerous occasions. Beckley began the clinic by going over the basic components of major and minor scales and how students can use the keyboard to identify the key of virtually any piece of music. These concepts were reinforced by playing various songs off YouTube and quickly identifying the key by locating the root note and the third.

After covering key identification, Sam Beckley moved into tempo. For this topic, Beckley brought up a musician to play acoustic guitar while Beckley tapped out the tempo in Logic Pro X. Following the tempo identification, Beckley adjusted the final tempo while the musician played along with the newly-created metronome. Beckley expanded on tempo identification by utilizing the tempo mapping function within Logic to map out the tempo of a previously recorded song to demonstrate the software's ability to change tempo along with the musical movement of recorded performances.

The final portion of Beckley's clinic was geared towards song arrangement. This portion included two sections. In the first section, Sam Beckley used Logic Pro X's arrangement markers to section out portions of a song into its perceived structure. Beckley mapped out the Intro, Verses, Choruses, and Bridge of a song while explaining their value and distinguishing characteristics. The final section of the arrangement touched on sheet music, Beckley instructed students how they can follow along with charts in a recording session without in-depth sight-reading knowledge. During this portion, Beckley referred to several jazz standards while explaining time signature, repeats, and bar lines.

In summary, the Tempo, Key, and Song Arrangement Identification clinic hosted at CRAS served as an excellent starting point for students to develop their understanding of music theory concepts. Students left with many valuable strategies for identifying the important musical characteristics of songs and knowledge related to how these skills will make them more hireable engineers

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