Posts Tagged ‘Digital Audio Technology’

Cogswell College Presence at AES 2012 San Francisco Goes Beyond the Booth

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This year’s Audio Engineering Society (AES) Conference, held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, was graced by a lively Cogswell DAT booth and behind-the-scenes activity that began long before this year’s event. The AES conferences are the largest gathering of audio professionals in the world, held each year in the US and Europe.

The Cogswell booth demonstrated how sound effects and scoring enhanced the animated student film, “Worlds Apart,”  featured our Genre Electronica class tracks on  an iTunes playlist and an electric guitar in the busy show aisle with a student-built guitar amplifier. Students and conference attendees were happy to sit for a few moments and show their chops on the amplified instrument.

Beyond the booth, Cogswell DAT professor, Timothy Duncan; Systems Administrator, Evan Peebles and alumnus, Michael McConnell have all served as Volunteer Co-Chairs. Professor Duncan and Peebles in 2008, Peebles and McConnell in 2010 and this year’s 2012 event. Additionally, McConnell was the 2012 Facilities Chair for AES. What does a Volunteer Co-Chair do?

As Volunteers Co-Chairs, Peebles and McConnell worked with the Convention Committee to help plan for the convention. This involved finding, organizing, overseeing and deploying volunteers with the goal of making a convention with tens of thousands of attendees going to hundreds of events run smoothly.  This year they sought out and received nominations from nearly 30 college advisors from around the world in order to find 160 of the best volunteers.

Volunteers give up a day to help the convention in trade for a full program badge. Recognizable in bright orange tee-shirts, Cogswell College had over 18 students volunteering at this year’s convention.

By offering this chance to students, AES helps introduce those starting out in the industry to the benefits of professional organizations. This opportunity allows them to play an important role, giving them the chance to not only meet, but work with some of the heads of the audio industry. This also gives students who couldn’t otherwise afford the full program pass, the option of accessing the educational sessions.

Come Rock with Cogswell’s Rock Band

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Auditions for this new class were held in mid-September and the house was rocked. Now, nine amazing talents are busy rehearsing for their debut gig at Cogswell College’s October 27 Open House. The band will perform in the Dragon’s Den around noon.

Faculty member, Bob Megantz, teaches the class. Megantz plays electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of styles, including jazz, latin, funk, rock and blues. He developed a unique style of finger-picked jazz guitar that allows him to play bass lines, harmony and chord-style solos simultaneously. This style evolved from his studies of Brazilian samba and bossa nova music. He currently performs in the Bay Area with Grooveline (latin rock), the Ron Gariffo Orchestra (jazz) and with his two sons, the Family Band (funk, rock, bossa nova, and jazz).

“We’re still working on the Rock Band’s repertoire; in fact, this is an important part of the learning experience,” said Megantz. “During the class we’re listening to a wide variety of music and studying theory and transcription so we can learn the songs together. We did this at our first rehearsal with “Sunday Morning,” by Maroon 5. Other songs currently in the repertoire are: “Watermelon Man” (jazz/funk), “Messin’ with the Kid” (blues), “The Thrill is Gone” (blues), “Rockin’ in the Free World” (rock), “Ma Cherie Amour” (Stevie Wonder), “At Last” (ballad), and “Give Me One Reason” (blues/pop). New songs are auditioned and added each week.”

Meet the Band:

Richard Lucas Ash has been playing guitar for 13 years, added harmonica about 3 years ago and started singing a year ago. The audition gave him the chance to display his rhythm guitar and solo guitar chops as well as sing two original songs – one that he made up on the spot. “In addition to being active in Cogswell activities, I’m motivated to be part of a ‘great’ musical group and to learn new performance techniques.”

Dylan Bruce plays the drums. While he hasn’t had any formal training, 11 years of practicing seems to have paid off. During auditions he was asked to jam along with a guitar and bass to varying styles of rock. “I want the chance to play the drums and not disturb the people who live in my apartment building.”

Jason Bursese has been playing drums and percussion for the past 17 years. During the audition he was asked to keep simple beats and jam with a bass player. His audition didn’t showcase all of his talents but he looks forward to doing more. “I love to play and I love playing with other musicians and performing.”

Kyle Johnson has been playing bass for 8 years. His audition gave him the chance to just play music. “I am looking forward to playing music while representing the school.”

Davain Martinez wants to focus on vocals which he has been working on for the past 7 years. The audition process gave him the chance to sing any song he wanted but was also asked to sing new material to show his ability to stay on key. “I want to see how a team of musicians of different backgrounds can come together.”

Sirena Mesa is a vocalist who has been singing since she was three. With no formal training, she hopes to develop skills in various genres of musical expression. “I think it will be a lot of fun and will give me a lot of practice time. I also like to meet new people and gain, with them, experience.”

Joslyn Morris is a vocalist but has also played violin, guitar, cello, viola, piano and xylophone. During the audition she sang a number of songs the judges asked for and part of the goal was to show she could follow by ear. “I love music and while I haven’t played the instruments since high school, I haven’t ever stopped singing, dancing and writing lyrics.”

Kiefer Stolte has been playing bass for 10 years. For his audition he performed “Messin’,” “Thrill is Gone,” “At Last” and “Billie Jean.” “I want to play shows.”

Jalajhn Wheeler has been playing trombone for 8 years. Her audition consisted of a prepared piece and then an improvisation. “I wanted a reason to be behind the horn again.”

Students Win Best Video, Best Narrative and Prestigious MTV Act Award

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Cogswell College is pleased to announce that three of its students have created award-winning projects for the Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards, including the prestigious Adobe Youth Voices Aspire MTV Act Award.

Keep Pushing, a video written, directed and produced by José Saavedra, P.J. Poloai and Diamanté Horton, received the Gold Award in the Music Video category in the 2012 competition. Their moving narrative, Angel in my Sky, received a Gold Award in the Narrative Category of the competition. 20 20 Vision, an inspiring call-to-action music video, received the MTV Act Award and the students were flown to New York’s MTV Studios in July for the official presentation. The Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards, introduced in 2012, is the first-ever online global youth competition from Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), the signature global philanthropy initiative of the Adobe Foundation. 2012 prize packages included Adobe software, laptops, HD camcorders and Flip Mino HD video cameras for the Club as well as a donation to the students’ charity of choice.

“These young men inspire my staff and are amazing role models for the younger kids,” said Peter Fortenbaugh, executive director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. “Their energy lifts everyone and provides leadership-by-example as they create these amazing works. José, P.J. and Diamanté remind us why we do the work we do for the Boys and Girls Club.”

Saavedra, Poloai and Horton met at the Redwood City Boys & Girls Club while in middle school. The Club houses a state-of-the-art production studio and provides guidance from Adobe industry professionals who donate their time to teach audio engineering, video editing and production. The Club also provides mentors who help foster the creative process.

“Adobe Youth Voices was established to provide young people with the tools to creatively express themselves through digital media,” said Miguel Salinas, program director for the Adobe Foundation. “We’re thrilled that our work with organizations like the Redwood City Boys & Girls Club provides a voice for students like José, P.J. and Diamanté, and has inspired them to pursue the digital arts.”

“We wrote Keep Pushing when each of us was going through hard times,” Saavedra said. “We kept pushing ourselves to keep coming to the Club to write, record, and one day the video was done.”

“When you can create music for the youth of today without any type of profanity, it makes you feel good,” said Poloai, who says he went through some rough times in his earlier years. “I never thought I could do anything like this before until I got into the Club’s studio.”

Horton, who provided the voice-over narrative for Angel in My Sky, is a new, incoming student to Cogswell College and is looking forward to learning music theory and other skills alongside Poloai and Saavedra in the college’s Digital Audio Technology (DAT) program.

“I know that most of our material will never be commercial because it’s not gangster rap or misogynistic,” Horton said. “That’s alright. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that other music, but it’s not what we’re about.”

Julius Dobos Joins Cogswell Audio Department as Distinguished Lecturer

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Cogswell College is pleased to announce the hiring of Julius Dobos as Distinguished Lecturer in its Digital Audio Technology department. In his new role, Mr. Dobos will teach courses in Studio Recording, Sound Design and Sound Synthesis and advise on student-based projects and initiatives.

“Cogswell is educating some of the brightest minds in the field of audio technology and music production,” said Mr. Dobos, “I am looking forward to helping Cogswell maintain its reputation for excellence as it continues to grow as an institution.”

Mr. Dobos is also the Founding Composer and Producer for The Creative Shop, a music production studio with a clientele that has included Sony Entertainment, The Discovery Channel, and Nokia. Prior to joining Cogswell, Mr. Dobos released seven musical albums, among them the platinum-selling “Connecting Images.”

He is the first Central-European composer of large-scale electronic/orchestral music to receive international attention and has composed music for notable motion pictures including “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” as well as for a variety of television programs, advertising campaigns, exhibitions and sound installations in the United States and Europe. He brings nearly two decades of experience as a professional musical producer and composer to his new role.

“Julius’ successes as a recording- and mastering engineer, film score- and electronic music composer, sound designer and business owner offer Cogswell students a proven model of professional excellence,” said Timothy Duncan, Director of Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology program. “Mr. Dobos has shown himself to be attentive to the instructional needs of students, practical in his approach to instruction and experienced in the styles of music that matter most to Cogswell students.”

Scoring with musical genres and themes

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I recently read a very interesting article written by composer Bear McCreary about how he used musical genres and themes to score SOCOM 4. Essentially, the game has three main factions that he chose to represent with their own type (or genre) of music: traditional eastern music, western orchestral music, and electronic music. I found this to be inspiring, especially since I have been considering using a similar approach to writing the music for a future project of mine.

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Working on the music of Worlds Apart

Monday, June 20th, 2011

This past term, I had the honor of working with composers Jeremiah Dias (pictured left) and Cameron McLaughlin (pictured right) on the music of the newest Cogswell Project X film, Worlds Apart. The film is currently rounding film festivals, so unfortunately I cannot share any samples of my work at this time (a trailer exists, but uses its own music rather than the music from the film). Nevertheless, I will talk about my experience with this project, as well as explain my role in it.

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My first video game soundtrack

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Back in January, I attended Global Game Jam 2011 which was hosted at Cogswell College. The event divided participants into teams that would each go on to create their own game in under 48 hours. My team (made up entirely of Cogswell freshmen and one senior) produced a game about a planet-devouring cat called I Can Has Your Planet? While I helped plan some of the overall game design aspects, my primary role was creating and delivering audio assets.

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A dire trend in today’s game music (& how you can fix it)

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

I’ve been listening to music in video games for over 20 years and have been an enthusiast all the way. I cherish everything from humming the catchy tunes of Mega Man 2 & 3 as I played as a child, to recording Secret of Mana’s score on cassette tape, to buying my first OST directly from Japan. However, I’ve noticed a distressing trend in recent years: Music is becoming more subdued, soulless, and sometimes silenced altogether. This often plays out as an imitation of cinema (no offense to film scores). I can think of multiple game series where early installments had excellent music, and recent entries had “appropriate” yet forgettable scores. How could this happen?

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Scoring a Film

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Unlike my previous projects, today I am going to talk about a future project I am somewhat excited of doing. This project is for my Desktop Audio Production course, in which we are given a scene from a public domain movie and we are to score the soundtrack, and put together the sound effects to the picture. The movie is a Sci-Fi title and we are to score the music as if the movie was a serious fil not something that was “cheesy.” This might be a challenge as a lot of public domain movies are edited very abruptly, so creating something that flows with the picture can definitely be a challenge.

For the project we are to put together the project and delivering it in a Logic session. As of right now I have some ideas as how to approach the musical composition, but as for the sound effects, I’m thinking I should try to design some sounds of my own, or use some sounds that are in the Cogswell sound library. I will probably end up using some of the samples from the library, and trying to make a few sounds of my own.  Sound design is one of the elements of the Digital Audio Technology program where students can really be original.  I am looking forward to having some fun with this project!

-Jared D.

Audio students working in the studios.

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

As I was leaving the Cogswell campus yesterday, I heard a grandiose finish consisting of guitars, drums, and something that could have either been a harp or piano.  The sound travelled faintly through the hallways and a a bit of it made its way into the Cogwell admissions office, the Ina A. Cokeley Campus Service.  The curiosity got the best of me and two other Cogswell inhabitants and we followed the sound to the first place we all had assumed to be the source of the audio explosion.  We headed through the halls and heard the sound getting louder and clearer.  Nearing the control room, a few other curious ears were making their way in the same direction me and my band was heading.  We all converged outside of the glass, looking into the tracking room to find a Cogswell Digital Audio student, hands on the faders and knobs of the mixer.

Here’s a look at what we found:

-Rachel