Audio Production Certificate

This 18-week accelerated program is for students who are serious about a career in the music business. Learn the in-demand skills that will make your services valuable.

Overview

In this 18 week program, students will learn the art and science of audio production in our professional recording studios and digital audio workstation lab for six hours per day, five days a week. Students will also have access to the DAW lab and recording studios for practice and student driven productions for 6 hours every weekday evening and all day on Saturdays.

Students will be instructed in 15 major areas of audio engineering and production by our award winning and professionally active faculty. With a student to faculty ratio of 7 to 1, students will receive personal instruction and learn by doing.

Objectives

  • Train engineers, producers, and technicians in all things sound, including audio visual content for the internet
  • Record and produce music on a daily basis
  • Provide with maximum access to the recording studios and DAW lab
  • Provide information about how to monetize skills and creative work to create sustainable careers
  • Make music, make meaning, make money

Goals

At the conclusion of the Audio Production Program, students will:

  • Have a deep proficiency in the use of digital audio workstations and recording studio techniques.
  • Understand the business and legal rights that attach to their compositions and recordings through the operation of Federal copyright statutes, as well as best practices for managing and operating those businesses.
  • Understand how to build and manage their own home studio.
  • Understand and develop their own LLCs and business and career plans

Courses

Course Details

TR101 – Audio Fundamentals

This class focuses on acoustics, the physics of sound and audio terminology, including gain staging principles, signal flow and routing.

Course Objectives
  • Understanding the Physics of Sound: Sound as pressure and propagation, acoustics, treatment vs isolation, sound in a room, acoustical issues – room modes, flutter, live vs dead, sound as pressure
  • Basics of Sound as a Voltage: Mic level, line level, speaker level, balanced vs unbalanced, gain staging, impedance, signal flow
  • Microphone Operation and Technique: Transduction principles, design and applications, placement and choice, color and creativity; the microphone as a tool
  • Signal Flow: Understand signal flow as it interfaces both analog and digital components in a recording environment
  • Making a Simple Recording: Understand how to make a simple audio recording with proper gain staging, microphone technique, and signal routing
  • Connectors, Cables, and Devices: Define the types of connectors used to connect audio devices and the various attributes associated with each type
  • Creating a Good Listening Environment – Treating the room and selecting and placing monitors, locating the “sweet spot”

24 contact hours

Course Details

TR102 – Pro Tools

Pro Tools is the industry standard digital audio workstation (DAW) used in large format commercial studios, home studios, and laptop music production. In this course, students will learn to record, mix, and edit using this software.

Course Objectives
  • Introduction to the Software: Set up a Pro Tools session
  • Signal Flow: Understand the order of operations sound goes through in its different stages before hearing it through the speakers
  • Recording and Importing Audio Sources: Use Pro Tools to record sound or a performance
  • Introduction to MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface): Record virtual instruments
  • Non-Linear Editing: Perform non-destructive editing on audio source materials
  • Understanding Plugins: Define the specifics of plugin types, formats, and functions as they relate to editing and mixing
  • Introduction to Mixing in Pro Tools: Combine multiple tracks to create a finished stereo sound recording, using audio processing (equalization, compression, limiting, and effects)
  • Efficiency: Use keyboard shortcuts, troubleshooting, and editing techniques to maximize productivity

30 contact hours

Course Details

TR103 – Critical Listening

This course concerns how the ear works, hearing health, identification of sound sources, frequency analysis including frequency vs pitch, loudness vs timbre, frequency masking, properties of sound, and recognizing the sonic differences in use of various sound processing.

Course Objectives
  • How Does the Ear Work? Understand and appreciate the human perception of sound and hearing health issues
  • Properties of Sound: Frequency and pitch, loudness and timbre, frequency masking, pure tone identification, and the application of sound processing effects
  • Relating the Subjective to the Objective: Identifying the frequency spectrum of various musical instruments and the acoustical properties of a listening space
  • Critical Analysis: Analyze a recording to determine the production methods and techniques employed based on tonal identifiers and breakdown of a song’s arrangement
  • Problems in Recording: Recognize non-linear sonic anomalies and artifacts and develop efficient approaches to solve problems
  • Shaping the Sound with Harmonics and Overtones: Relationships of overtones and harmonics to the overall frequency spectrum and the role they play in a source’s timbre or tonal characteristics
  • Problems in the Room: Identify acoustic problems in physical spaces

30 contact hours

Course Details

TR104 – Business of Music

The course is designed to provide the musician, songwriter, producer, engineer, and music industry professional with a basic introduction to the music business, including the legal and business consequences of creative work, the production, publication, marketing and distribution functions related to creative work, and the careers associated with each.

Course Objectives
  • Structure of The Music Business: Make students aware of the Industry’s segments, the artist’s team, its economics, trends, and career opportunities
  • Copyright: It’s history, how it applies to the work of the student, understanding the statutes, the rights that apply to all forms of “creative work,” and their legal and business consequences
  • Publishing & PROs: Music publishers, recording companies, songwriting contracts, performance rights organizations, how they work, their revenue streams, and career opportunities
  • Contracts, Licenses, & Transfers: Monetize the rights of copyright law, transfer those rights – the deals, the terms, the consequences. How to protect your rights. The importance of “splits agreements” and “work for hire agreements” in the recording studio and music making
  • Group Deals & Touring: How to limit liability as a member of a group. How to organize a band as a business, including the business of touring and the multiple jobs available in the businesses of live performance
  • Merchandise & Distribution: Products, physical and intangible, how they are brought to the public. Distribution platforms, streaming services, how the money works
  • Film Music: Making it, acquiring it, the deals and contracts, “work for hire” and soundtracks.
  • Business Planning, Entities, Taxes, Insurance, & Team: The business of music, the artist’s team – who gets paid what for what, setting goals, staying legal, best business practices
  • Branding, Marketing, & Social Media: How to create awareness, how to connect, how to monetize connection. Acquiring and retaining customers. Best practices for the use of social media and creating content for it
  • Website, Social Media, & Analytics: How to apply specific creative skills more broadly to allow the engineer, producer, or artist to share their work, track their data, and understand how to use Internet tools to create awareness, fans, and customers

30 contact hours

Course Details

TR105 – Studio Recording I

This course puts to use the concepts learned in Audio Fundamentals including signal flow, basic studio operations and procedures, microphones placement and usage, as well as integrating outboard gear with a large format console. This first level studio class will focus primarily on hands on setup and take-down of a variety of recording environments from a single source to large ensembles. Communication skills and studio etiquette are important to understanding the psychology of artists and musicians in a recording environment.

Course Objectives
  • Importance of Pre-Production: Plan and determine the structure and method of a genre specific session, including gear and instrument selection and microphone setups; splits and work for hire agreements
  • Signal Flow Concepts: Understand the order of operations a sound goes through in a multi-track recording environment
  • Console Design and Attributes: Recognize various console design topologies and how they interact with different signal processors for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering
  • Creative and Effective Microphone Techniques: Discuss the art and science of microphone selection and placement
  • Track and Overdub: Record, replace, and repair tracks and add additional instruments and sounds
  • Psychology in the Studio: Communicate effectively with artists, musicians, and other industry professionals to establish an environment for heightened creative expression.
  • Session Documentation: The importance of documentation and production notes in system recall and data archiving
  • Financial, Business, and Legal Considerations: Budgeting, rates, fees, musician releases, splits and work for hire agreements

36 contact hours

Course Details

TR106 – Electronic Music Production

This is an introductory course in MIDI (music instrument digital interface) production and Ableton Live, including how different MIDI controllers can be used to input data to create sounds, compositions, and live performances. Topics include synthesis, sound design, recording, sampling, effects processing and the art of arranging sounds into electronic compositions. Additional topics include the business and legal consequences of creating sound recordings and compositions.

Course Objectives
  • Introduction to MIDI: Create music “in-the-box” using audio and MIDI sequencing and the basic terminology associated with MIDI setups and configurations
  • MIDI Sequencing, Recording, & Editing: Perform all the major functions necessary to record, edit, playback, and convert audio to MIDI and MIDI to audio in live and recorded performances
  • Synthesis & Sound Design: Create original sounds and sound designs using a variety of synthesis and recording techniques
  • Balancing & Mixing: Develop mixing techniques for sound design and electronic music production and export the finished mix from Ableton Live
  • Introduction to Visual Electronic Music Production: Use Ableton Live to create soundscapes and compositions for visual productions
  • Sampling Methods: How to use samplers in recording, editing, and managing samples for digital production in multi-timbral setups
  • MIDI Controllers & Push Workflows: Use Push to program drums and instrument samples, program effect parameters, and input automation
  • Making Music: Introduction to music theory, song structure, and compositional techniques

36 contact hours

Course Details

TR107 – Home Studio

This course is designed to provide the audio entrepreneur with the technological and business information necessary to build, develop, and equip a home recording studio.

Course Objectives
  • Defining Business Plan & Purpose: Develop goals, mission statement, and business plan for a home studio
  • Determining Services & Products: What can be accomplished in a home studio; physical limitations and personal preferences
  • Equipment Acquisition: What gear do you really need and what will it cost?
  • Digital Audio Workstation: Evaluate individual DAWs; specific attributes and limitations
  • Interfacing Equipment: Signal flow and proper connections for home studios
  • Room Treatment and Acoustics: Physics, acoustics, placement, selection, construction
  • Delivery & Archiving: File formats, storage, and sharing
  • Marketing & Social Media Strategies: The acquisition and retention of customers
  • Business & Legal Consequences: Documents, releases, entities, scaling, insurance, and employees; running a small business

24 contact hours

Course Details

TR108 – Mixing

Audio mixing is the process of combining recorded tracks into one or more channels using volume, panning, EQ, dynamics, and effects processors. In this process a source’s frequency response and dimensional placement are manipulated and enhanced using DAWs, plug-ins, analog consoles, and outboard gear. Various models of analog gear will be analyzed and compared to their digital counterparts.

Course Objectives
  • Developing a workflow: Session setup, groups, organization, routing, preparing for the mix; templates, comparison of various mixing approaches
  • Applying signal processing: Use EQ and compression, parallel processing, and add depth and space with reverb, delay, and sound modulation
  • Using Automation: Program multiple tasks to create a dynamic mix with movement and excitement
  • Digital vs. Analog: Mixing in the box, on the console; digital and analog sources
  • Deliverables: Prepare files for mastering, labels, and clients; print stems, TV and instrumental mixes, and sound beds for live performance; archiving files for long-term storage and protection

36 contact hours

Course Details

TR109 – Composition and Sound Design

This course involves using synthesis and the musical skills of composition to create soundscapes to enhance visual images through the use of sample-based instruments, field recordings, and virtual synthesizers. Advanced concepts include additive, subtractive, granular, and wavetable synthesis and sound design techniques such as time stretching, convolution, distortion, and filtering.

Course Objectives
  • Sound Design Concepts: Manipulate the functions of virtual synthesizers and samplers within Ableton, Reason, Luna, and Pro Tools, and apply sound design techniques including time stretching, convolution, distortion, filtering, and the use of various concepts of synthesis
  • Compositional Techniques: Apply music theory, instrumentation, orchestration, and arranging to create scores, original music, and soundscapes
  • Orchestrations with Synthetic Samples: Use samples of orchestral sounds in Pro Tools, Reason, Luna, and Ableton to create full and realistic orchestrations
  • Using Foley in Sound Design: Record in the field and in the studio, using everyday sounds to simulate sounds evoked by visual images
  • Scoring, Source Music, and Pre-Existing Recordings: Mix and assemble the soundscape for a visual work

30 contact hours

Audio Electronics Course Details

TR110 – Audio Electronics

Understanding electronics is a valuable skill set for the audio engineer. The signal flow in audio production has its basis in electronics from microphone to recording to speakers. In this course we will explore basic electronics theory, component identification, maintenance, troubleshooting, and safety. In addition, students will gain hands on experience building projects for use in the audio world.

Course Objectives
  • Electrical Quantities: Voltage, current, resistance, and impedance
  • Components: Testing and identifying how they work and how they fail
  • Soldering: Circuit boards, cables and connectors
  • Schematics: Reading and interpreting schematic symbols and signal flow
  • Electronics Test Equipment: Multimeters and oscilloscopes
  • Electronic Circuits: Theory and mathematics of series and parallel circuits
  • Ohm’s Law: The relationship of voltage, current, and resistance
  • Electrical Power Sources: AC and DC, batteries, and power supplies
  • Analog vs Digital: Understand the differences in electronic circuits in respect of system operation
  • Tape Machine: Component terminology, calibration, cleaning and demagnetizing. Input/output and playback alignment

30 contact hours

Course Details

TR111 – Studio Recording II

This is a project-based course in which students will apply what they have learned to produce and engineer professional recording sessions in multiple genres in both the analog and digital domain.

Course Objectives
  • Pre-Production: Selection of songs, musicians, technicians, and service providers; dealing with releases, licenses, contracts, union forms, budgets, and schedules
  • Roles in the Studio: Awareness of specific jobs and responsibilities of participants and how they may overlap
  • Gear Choices: Determine and select appropriate equipment for the specific recording, including signal processors, microphones, and instruments
  • Session Setup: Recording platform, signal flow, and setting up the live room
  • Getting Sounds: Work with individual musicians to achieve accuracy and clarity in the reproduction of the sound of their instrument, as consistent with the genre of the music
  • Multi-Track Analog Recording: Workflow and sonic differences between analog and digital domains
  • Making Educated Decisions Quickly: Diagnose and solve technical problems quickly and efficiently
  • Tracking: Record multiple sources and instruments simultaneously to provide the greatest flexibility for repair and placement while encouraging the highest level of musical interaction
  • Overdubbing: Repair, replace, and additional tracking
  • Mixing: Create depth, height, and width in a soundscape using signal processing, panning, and volume control
  • Alternative Recording Services: Record speech and integrate audio visual productions; remote recording
  • Psychology: Understand how to get the best work out of artists and musicians by establishing a comfortable, respectful, and creative environment

78 contact hours

Course Details

TR112 – Mastering

Audio mastering is the final step in the production process, following recording and mixing. It is the art of preparing a final master recording for replication, manufacturing, and online distribution. Mastering creates a broadcast-ready recorded performance with its own sonic identity as well as consistency among multiple tracks, whether it be for LP, CD, or streaming. Topics to be discussed include ISRC codes and metadata, album sequencing, manual gain adjustments, noise reduction, dither, and final signal processing.

Course Objectives
  • Mastering Techniques: Develop signal processing techniques when dealing with pre-mastered mixes and recordings in stereo formats, such as gain adjustments, noise reduction, using signal processing software and gear as it defines the finished master for a specific genre; sequencing, cross-fading
  • Signal Processing: Compare the differences between analog and digital mastering, including the use of Izotope’s Ozone and other standard processing gear and techniques, such as dither, compression, EQ, and limiting
  • Loudness: Apply industry standard volume levels for finished, mastered products for music productions, film/video, broadcast, online music platforms, and physical product
  • Data: Understand the metadata usually encoded during the final stages of the mastering process for distribution and record keeping

18 contact hours

Course Details

TR113 – Portfolio

The portfolio is the archive of a student’s work throughout the semester, including assignments, recordings, business plans, and related documents. Students will play their productions for an audience of potential clients, employers, and others and present their business plans, registrations, website and social media to their peers and other invited guests from the professional community. This is the capstone course for the Audio Production Program.

Course Objectives
  • Documentation, Deliverables, & Work: Document the student’s technological, business and legal development and internship; provide examples of their work for the market to hear, judge, commission, and otherwise employ
  • Student’s Creative Development: Show the student’s progress throughout the curriculum in terms of recordings, compositions, and productions
  • Awareness: Help the student to acquire attention for their work and methodology; provide them with the opportunity to interact with members of the professional community
  • Practical Application: Finalize and present the media, plans, budgets, contracts, and registrations that indicate the student’s understanding and intent with respect to the business and legal rights of their creative work
  • Branding and Sharing: Show their website, social media, design skills, and plans for creating awareness for their work and services, connecting with their fans and customers, and monetizing those connections through performance, recordings, merchandise and production services

30 contact hours

Course Details

TR114 – Life Skills

This course concerns not just how to function and operate as an audio professional but also as a tax paying, budget-following, organized adult. In this course students will learn about budgeting, saving, borrowing money, compound interest, insurance of various types, taxes, basic business entities, credit scores and reports, wills, buying and selling property, and the structure of local government.

Course Objectives
  • Debt, Budgets, & Saving: Computing interest, financial projections, dangers of credit card debt, and budgets and saving plans
  • Business Entities: Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, etc
  • Taxes & Insurance: Withholding, quarterly tax payments for the entrepreneur, health insurance options, liability insurance for home studios, foreign income/tax credits
  • Buying & Selling: Transferring real, personal and intangible property; registration with governmental agencies
  • Local Government: Licensure, public records and the structure of local and state government

12 contact hours

Course Details

TR115 – Internship

The course allows for 100 hours of internships and aims to provide a professional application of a student’s skills and to gauge interest and preparedness by providing three weeks for internships or apprenticeships. Acquiring an internship is part of having one, so students are encouraged to find an internship locally or in the city where they live.

Course Objectives

During the 5th, 10th, and 15th weeks, options for internship may include:

  • Work in a local venue, like the Georgia Theatre or the Classic Center, a local studio, church, or the Lewis Room.
  • Work in a local recording studio
  • Work in a local venue, like the Georgia Theatre or the Classic Center, a local studio, church, or the Lewis Room
  • Work in a related music business, like an Agency, Management Company, or Label in Atlanta, where the student is from, or elsewhere
  • Work in a local IP related business, like the Flagpole or a marketing company
  • Work as a second engineer on a professional recording produced at Tweed
  • Start their own business – write a business plan and begin implementation
  • Produce a 4 song EP in any one week
  • Build a home studio
  • Remedial work as necessary

It is also possible for students to schedule a longer term internship within 60 days of graduation from Tweed Recording. Internship providers can only offer positions to students who are receiving credit for the internship course or if they are paid. We can withhold our evaluation of the student’s participation in the course for two months from the conclusion of the student’s matriculation. Internship is the key to placement and a logical step towards an entrepreneurial goal.

Students who are falling behind or otherwise not achieving at the Distinguished or Proficient levels necessary for graduation may use the internship weeks for remedial purposes and may work in the DAW lab to this end.

Course Objectives
  • Application: Apply knowledge and skills in a real world situation
  • Employment: Provide the student with touchpoints of experience to prepare them to start a new business or search for a job
  • Professionalism: How to conduct oneself in a professional environment, developing communication skills, people skills, and the ability to work in teams
  • Networking: Make formal and informal connections in multiple areas of the music industry
  • Provide Choices: Experiment with various areas of interest and multiple employment possibilities

100 hours on the job

Summary

Summary

This curriculum is rigorous, inclusive, and wide ranging. Students will learn the technology, the technique, the legalities, and the business opportunities of music production. Our curriculum exists in a values-based program. By this, we mean a program that seeks to cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork over competition and profit. The profit we want our students to make is the byproduct of what they do, not the point of it. The point of our curriculum is to empower students to have the self confidence to believe that they can do whatever it is they set out to do. We want them to be kind and generous people who care for and help others. We want them to be people of empathy and acumen, for only if they care about others will others care about them and only if they apply their skills and talents to the businesses their creative work creates will they create sustainable careers.

Our curriculum is designed to inspire, inform, and motivate students and to increase their awareness of the tools, equipment, and opportunities available to them to create wealth out of their imagination. For more information about the multiple careers that flow from our curriculum, please see the Careers section of this site.

Weekly Schedule

Weekly Schedule
*Open studio and lab time includes Saturdays from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Daily Schedule

Daily Schedule

Instructors

Nate Nelson

Nate Nelson

Recording Instructor

Sae'Von Springer

Sae'Von Springer

Electronic Music Production Instructor

Charlie Chastain

Charlie Chastain

Audio Production Instructor

Andrew Ratcliffe

Andrew Ratcliffe

CEO/Recording Instructor

John Snyder

John Snyder

President / Music Business Instructor

What Our Students Are Saying

My favorite part has been just coming into this experience and just being with and meeting new people that are into music like me, that have the same passion, and working with them.

– Luis

I had a wonderful experience with your staff and faculty, y’all truly care and seem to have a vested, true interest in our well being in and outside of the facility. In fact, I am quite stunned at the degree to which I was helped with my problems. That’s something I am very grateful for, and also something that educational institutions typically lack.

– Grant

Sweetwater
Universal Audio
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