The University of Southern California is an incredible school that is one of the best in the country and strives towards being the best, constantly improving the educational process, in order to continue establishing a high recognition of academic excellence. USC takes pride in being one of the best universities available to college students in the Los Angeles area and along the Pacific Rim. According to USC’s role and mission statement, “The central mission of the University of Southern California is the development of human beings and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit. The principle means by which our mission is accomplished are teaching, research, artistic creation, professional practice and selected forms of public service.” Also, the Dean’s Prize, which allows students to submit their input and ideas for educational improvement, advises students to; “think seriously about learning, be creative and daring, and inspire us.” USC’s first priority is the education of its students and the USC Dean’s Prize allows students to make proposals to enrich the academic life and the educational experience. I would like to make a few suggestions and comments pertaining to the improvement of the educational experience, with USC's plan in mind.
As an aspiring student at USC, with a minor in the Music Industry, I would like to make some comments and suggestions that may benefit the students involved in my field of study. The first class of study and unit credit towards the Music Industry minor has been MUIN 277, Introduction to Music Technology, taught by Professor McIlvery. Professor McIlvery is an incredibly talented man in his professional field. He has worked in the music industry for over 30 years as a recording engineer, which involved working with many famous artists, including Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, and many others. Professor McIlvery is very knowledgeable in his field and he conveys that knowledge to his students in a very efficient and interesting way. The class covers a wide range of topics regarding modern recording techniques, which includes topics like: studio acoustics and design, microphones, digital audio recording, monitoring, analog tape and recorders, signal processing, and synthesis and sampling. Many of these topics are very technical, and it is difficult to understand and grasp the concepts through the use of books. The books are helpful, but what is lacking in the class is the loss of any practical applications of these techniques. A lab with practical “hands-on” experience, using recording equipment such as: recording consoles, digital audio workstations, Pro Tools, monitoring equipment, etc. would be incredible tools for students to really understand the technical applications and concepts of the recording techniques. Professor McIlvery’s talents would prove to be incredibly useful to help students with the “hands-on” experience. Most classes that involve recording techniques offer the use of actual recording programs and equipment. For example, MUIN 446ab, Computer Assisted Recording and Editing, which is a class offered at USC, allows students the use of Pro Tools for the proper learning environment. It would not be difficult to incorporate these tools into the MUIN 277 class, since it is already accessible on campus.
USC emphasizes in its strategic plan the importance of becoming a “learner-centered college by developing three capabilities: (1) create educational and structural methods that better fulfill students needs, (2) harness technology for more responsiveness and flexibility in education and, (3) offer learning opportunities beyond graduation and across the world…Traditional lecture courses will decline, giving way to a variety of more flexible and interactive approaches to learning.” Acknowledgement of these USC standards and guidelines, would give rise to the perfect opportunity to allow the students involved in the MUIN 277 class to have access to the “hands-on” experience. Providing the digital audio workstations, recording equipment, and technological opportunity in this class, would satisfy all the learner-center concepts and desires. Student’s educational needs would be better fulfilled. Technology would be incorporated for educational responsiveness and flexibility, and learning opportunities would go beyond school and reach into a global society. Students could incorporate their “hands-on” skills outside of school, to be used in their professional field, and in the recording studios. These skills could be used to create their own music that could reach many individuals on a global scale, not just locally.
Los Angeles is the center of the music industry and USC is the leading school in Los Angeles and Southern California. This requires that USC’s music department provide the best educational experience to their students so they may carry these tools into their creative fields, which would directly affect the industry in Los Angeles. USC has a high influence in Los Angeles and the music industry, which in turn, affects society globally by reaching individuals on a larger scale. USC takes pride in having one of the best music schools, and having more technological availabilities to the students would only help to keep that reputation. Music affects people on a global scale, and the more knowledge students have to bring to society, the more benefits the world would receive through student’s knowledge and contributions. Incorporating recording equipment into the music technology classroom would prove to be highly beneficial for everyone.