Silver Chips Online

Blair's new recording studio open to music students

After years of planning, project is now available to limited audience

By Julia Wynn, Online Connections and Food Editor
March 11, 2009
The new recording studio in room 122 is hosting recording sessions for music business and technology students after months of equipment malfunctions. Music business teacher Sara Josey and orchestra teacher Michelle Roberts collaborated with local jazz musician Marcus Johnson to establish the studio at Blair after the project was delayed for four years by technical complications and miscommunication. Roberts and Josey hope the studio will be open to all students by fourth quarter.
The recording studio equipment in room 122 is now fully up and running for music business and technology students. Alex Joseph
The recording studio equipment in room 122 is now fully up and running for music business and technology students.


The soundproof studio is about half the size of an average classroom and contains an eight track mixer, according to Roberts. The room is always locked to protect the expensive equipment; adult supervision is required for all recording sessions. "The biggest issue is security," said Josey. "The little mics can walk." Music business and music technology students, when under adult supervision, are the only ones allowed to record music at this point.

Johnson, who graduated from Blair in 1991, suggested four years ago to former Blair principal Phillip Gainous that Blair build a recording studio as an incentive for students. The project failed to get underway because of a lack of financial support and Gainous' departure from Blair in 2007. "The communication fell apart when Gainous left," said Josey, although the studio equipment had arrived by that time. It took a full year for all the materials to get installed, partially because the main installer was dismissed and partially because of the studio's relocation from room 101 to room 122, which is suitably smaller, according to Josey. Both rooms were used for technology education before they were considered as locations for the recording studio.
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When Roberts, Josey and Josey's music business class investigated the studio in its state early in the year, they discovered malfunctioning equipment and unfamiliar software. The source of all technical malfunctions was the snake box, which connects the studio microphones with the recording equipment in the booth. With parent support, Roberts and Josey realized that the snake was merely mislabeled. "It didnít really make much sense," said Roberts. "Now we know what the labeling means."

Josey's students also helped solve some of the studio's other technical problems. "Music business kids recorded in the room and got some software working," said Josey.

Junior Sean Simmons, who has recorded several songs in the studio, can vouch for its improvement since the beginning of this year. "The first time we went in there it wasn't really set up," Simmons said. Now the equipment is functional and students can use it to enhance their musical education. "It's a good learning experience," Simmons said.

Although much progress has been made in understanding the software and operating the equipment of the recording studio, the teachers need to learn more about the studio before it can be more widely functional and available. "Itís a lot of learning to use the software before you start doing anything," said Roberts.

Nevertheless, both Roberts and Josey have high hopes for the studio. They expect Blair ensembles and other school groups to record in it this spring. The two organizers are still developing a system by which students will be able to request studio time and how much that will cost. "We don't know what is going to happen," said Josey. "It's at that point where at least kids can get in and try it."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9000