When thinking about a school of music, people may just think about instruments, like guitar, piano, strings and woodwinds. However, there is another side of music that can go unnoticed: audio engineering and production.
The music technology program at Westminster College is led by Devin Maxwell, who teaches music technology, winds and percussion, composition, and theory for the School of Music.
Maxwell has been evolving and growing the music technology courses at the school since his arrival five years ago.
“Over time we have been able to add classes, when I first got here there were not any actual classes that were offered regularly,” Maxwell said. “Now, we offer a WCore class called Sound, Music, and Technology, and then we were able to offer Music Tech 1 which starts at audio engineering fundamentals and gets all the way through how to produce a record.”
A music major is not required to take some of these classes. For example, Sound, Music, and Technology is a WCore class for all students.
That class can be followed up by Music Technology 1, which is an introduction to producing music throughout all aspects of the song making process.
The School of Music was built around a main recording studio that can be used by everyone in the program. There is also a music tech lab located in the school that has ten iMacs all running Logic Pro, fitted with MIDI keyboards and mixers to dial in their sounds.
Westminster offers a range of classes on this “other side” of music, with plans to continue expanding the list by offering an electronic music class, which Maxwell said he hopes to start offering in the upcoming Spring semester.
Junior philosophy major Taylor Baum has been into music for quite some time and expanded his passion more by taking classes here at Westminster, despite not majoring in music.
“When I got to Westminster I started taking music class […] and then I got into Music Technology with Devin Maxwell and that’s when it really started to take off,” Baum said. “I started to fundamentally understand what I was supposed to and that catapulted me into a whole other realm of understanding.”
Although Baum is not a music major, he can still take something away from the music technology classes — which is how Maxwell said he wanted this program to work.
“I am very welcoming to students from all over, I think it a great place for music students to interact with students outside of the program, and also for other students to interact with music students,” Maxwell said. “So I am hoping the music tech classes can actually be a bridge to bringing students together and fostering collaboration.”
The program offers the fundamentals of production, and offers the ability for students to continue their growth and record their own music with other students involved in the program.
“If you want to get into production take that class (Music Technology 1), it is the foundation for your understanding of music,” Baum said. “Most importantly don’t go in expecting to learn how to produce, go in expecting to learn the fundamentals of music technology.”
Forum Reporter James Carson sat down with Maxwell to discuss the music technology courses available to students. You can listen to the latest episode of Office Hours on our Spotify, SoundCloud, or Apple Podcasts.