Recording outside the box

“ProTools has become the new tape deck."

Welsh and Dyson compose a curriculum in the recording arts.
  • Welsh and Dyson compose a curriculum in the recording arts.

“Dr. Jeffrey Welsh is the president of Mueller College,” Dan Roberts says, “and a lifelong musician. He founded a prog-rock band called the Ninth Choir.” Roberts is the college’s marketing director. He checks in with the Reader to talk about the Associate of Occupational Science in Recording Arts degree that Mueller now offers. “Dr. Welsh always wanted to combine his passion for music with education. He met with Peter Dyson, who owns Studio West, and the rest is history.” The class launched in June with 12 students. “You don’t want too big of a class,” Roberts says.

“We’d already been doing educational programs at Studio West,” Dyson says. “But I knew if we were going to take it to the next level, that we’d need the support of a college.” The next level? “We’ve gone beyond showing someone how to use a microphone. Putting the discipline around how to use the hardware and the software in recording,” he says, “is different.” He says that’s where Mueller College comes in.

Previous to the Studio West educational partnership, the college was mainly known for programs in alcohol and drug counseling, personal fitness, holistic health, and massage therapy. They have split locations. One is in Mission Valley, the other on Park Boulevard in City Heights. The Park Boulevard location includes a small music venue called Across the Street.

“My agenda has always been to expand what was offered at Mueller College, and I’d always wanted to do something like this.” Jeff Welsh describes a recording-arts curriculum that lasts 18 months at a cost of $32,500. “It includes not only a degree, but all the major industry certifications.”

Preparing a curriculum for a future in a recording industry in flux must present challenges. I wonder if, along with ProTools and other recording software certification, the instruction will include DIY recording technique. The answer is yes.

“ProTools has become the new tape deck,” Dyson says. “And in the recording industry today, it’s very rare that every element of a project is recorded in one place. Artists are tending to work out of a garage or a bedroom, and then sometimes bring their tracks into a studio for completion.”

But is there enough industry work to justify the cost of tuition? “Only the top people will get to do big recording-studio jobs,” Dyson says. “But there’s a wealth of other jobs that require the same skills, such as sound design for video games, casinos, churches, and so on. The box is bigger than just the recording industry.”

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