Program Showcase

Recording Technology Program Ignites Career Interest and Creativity

Michael Kelly’s new program is filling up quickly.

“I’m being flooded with inquiries,” said the Music department head. “Two courses for fall 2007 have been booked since the spring.”

recording student

The Sound Recording and Music Technology program began in fall 2006. Students now have access to the most advanced technology to create music and start their own studio or seek a career in the music or film industry. There are more than 75 professional sound recording studios in the Philadelphia area, not including independent label recording studios.

According to data from the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, musicians and singers are two occupations in Philadelphia with an expected 25 percent growth through 2012.

“This degree will give students the opportunity to get the skills they need to talk to professionals in a highly competitive industry,” said Kelly. “They will have used all of the cutting-edge technology used in the film and recording industries.”

The innovative program features Pro Tools software, which many individuals cannot purchase.

“Pro Tools is not just available to anyone,” according to Kelly. “It costs thousands of dollars for an individual to buy. The opportunity to get exposed to Pro Tools is huge.” The College’s Music lab has 14 computer stations, each with Pro Tools and standard industry software, including Final Cut Pro for video editing and Finale manuscript notation software. As far as area community colleges, “This lab is not really anywhere else,” said Kelly. Some of his students spend eight hours a day in the lab working on class projects or learning how to better use the equipment.

Student Lorraine Alexis Wharton, 20, was a Piano Performance major but decided to switch to Sound Recording.

“I am getting a different understanding of the music business and learning how music is created, how songs are picked for the radio and what time they are played during the day,” she said.

While Wharton’s class called for her to be in the lab from 8 to 10 a.m., four days a week, she stayed most days until 3 p.m. After completing assignments, students can work on their own music projects and continue to explore their creativity. One class project required students to compose and record one instrumental; Wharton wrote 13. She is currently working on her own album.

Wharton also takes on the role of producer with other students in the lab and mixes music for individuals associated with NoKez Entertainment, a record label she co-founded six years ago. Her goal is to be the CEO and producer of her own record label within five years.

When asked where she finds her inspiration, Wharton replied, “The things around me. I carry a notebook to write down ideas.” She listens primarily to classical music and instrumentals—music with no words—to ensure she does not copy other people’s music. “I want to make sure all of my songs are relevant.”

The evolution of technology has allowed many individuals to make and record their own music and operate their own studios. In order to provide students with additional hands-on experience, the department is also in the process of developing internship opportunities with local studios and radio stations.

“Technology has become the great equalizer,” said Kelly. “Anyone can create their own music CD.”

Kelly warns, however, that for a long-term career in the field, nothing will substitute for a strong foundation in music. “Technology is allowing creativity without a music background. You need music fundamentals for the music business.”

Read more about the Sound Recording and Music Technology program by visiting