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

Over the course of 18 weeks, students will work in a professional recording environment of three separate recording, mixing, and ADR studios, and our DANTE networked DAW production lab featuring 24 workstations each with Pro Tools, Ableton, Reason, and Universal Audio software and plugins. For six hours a day, five days a week, students will be instructed in 16 major areas of audio engineering and production by our award winning and professionally active faculty. Our full-time faculty to student ratio is 1:12. Ours is a values-based program of respect, kindness, and generosity. We believe that empathy is the value exchange of music. Profit is the by product of what we do, not the point of what we do. Technical expertise + empathy and business awareness = success.

Objectives

  • Provide students with a broad and comprehensive understanding of all things sound
  • Maximum access to the DAW lab and recording studios
  • Experiential learning – learn by doing
  • Students will learn how recordings and compositions make copyrights and how copyrights that make them a business
  • Entrepreneurship – build your home studio, run your business

Goals

  • Students will gain a 360 degree understanding of audio, electronics, composition, and recording in multiple contexts.
  • Students will learn how to produce music “in the box”, make beats, and record in a professional studio.
  • Students will become aware of the career opportunities in the music business.
  • Students will become aware of the entrepreneurial opportunities of making recordings.
  • Learn professionalism by working in a professional environment.

Courses

TR100 - Audio Fundamentals

This class focuses on acoustics and the physics of sound, audio terminology, 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 in both home and professional facilities
  • Plugging Stuff In (Connectors 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”)

TR101 - 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
  • Introduction to Music Business: Understand the legal and business framework for audio recordings and compositions

TR102 - Ear Training & 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? Develop an understanding and appreciation of the human perception of sound and the function of the human auditory system
  • Properties of Sound: Frequency vs pitch, loudness vs timbre, frequency masking, pure tone identification, and the application of sound processing effects
  • Relating the Subjective to the Objective: Understand the numbers behind the frequencies and the timbre of the full frequency spectrum as they relate to musical instruments in the studio and live sound
  • Critical Analysis: Analyze a recording to determine the production methods and techniques employed based on tonal identifiers and breakdown of a song’s arrangement into its associated parts or sections
  • Analyzing Space in a Recording: Recognize what a soundstage is and where objects are placed in a mix during the mix-down process to achieve width, height, and depth.
  • Problems in Recording: Recognize non-linear sonic anomalies and artifacts as well as develop efficient approaches to solve said problems using a variety of audio tools available to audio professionals
  • 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

TR103 - The 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

TR104 - 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 will be discussed.
  • Signal Flow Concepts: Demonstrate proper signal flow capabilities in a multi-track recording environment, including split vs inline configurations and AUX sends
  • 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 and musicians 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

TR105 - 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
  • History of Sound Design: The technological developments of electronic music recording, production, and synthesis
  • MIDI Sequencing, Recording, & Editing: Perform all the major functions necessary to record, edit, playback, and convert audio to MIDI and MIDI to audio in both 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 Live
  • Introduction to Visual Electronic Music Production: Use Ableton 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

TR106 - Composition and Sound Design for Visual Media

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. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to add film scoring, sound design, and Foley to their repertoire of skills.

Course Objectives
  • Advanced Sound Design Concepts: Learn how to manipulate the functions of virtual synthesizers and samplers within Ableton, Reason, and Logic
  • Compositional Techniques: Use music theory, instrumentation, orchestration, and arranging to create scores, original music, and soundscapes
  • Orchestrations with Synthetic Symphonies: Use Logic and Ableton to create full and realistic sounding orchestrations and automating parameters using layering and modulation to simulate human expressiveness
  • Using Foley in Sound Design: Record in the field and in the studio, using everyday sounds to simulate sounds evoked by visual images
  • The Business and Legal Issues: Sync licensing, work for hire agreements, and music supervision

TR107 - Electronics for Audio Professionals

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
  • 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
  • Tape Machine: Component terminology, calibration, cleaning and demagnetizing. Input/output and playback alignment

TR108 - Building and Running a 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 a goal, mission statement, and business plan for a home studio
  • Determining Services & Products: Remote recording, mixing live shows and pre-recorded tracks, making beats, podcasting, voice overs and oral histories, audio books and radio advertising
  • Room Treatment & Acoustics: Physics, acoustics, placement, selection, and construction
  • Equipment Acquisition: What gear do you really need and what will it cost?
  • Interfacing Equipment: Analog vs digital systems, audio interface types/options, signal flow, gain-staging, Native vs DSP based systems, making your tools work for you
  • Digital Audio Workstation: Choosing a DAW. Creating, mixing, editing, and mastering audio for final delivery
  • Delivery & Archiving: File formats, transfers, storage, and sharing
  • Marketing & Social Media Strategies: The acquisition and retention of customers
  • Business & Legal Consequences: Documents, releases, entities, scaling, insurance, and employees

TR109 - The Art and Science of Mixing Audio

Audio mixing is the process of combining recorded tracks into one or more channels using various processes such as 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
  • Applying signal processing creatively: Create a exciting mix using harmonic saturation, side chaining, re-amping, adding depth and space with reverb, delay, and modulation
  • Using Automation: Program multiple tasks to create a dynamic mix with movement and excitement
  • Deliverables: Prepare files for mastering, labels, and clients. Printing stems, archiving files for long-term storage and protection
  • Customer Relations: Translate a client’s views and comments into an audio result

TR110 - Studio Recording II

In this course students will apply all that 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 musicians, artists, managers, producers, engineers, and musical directors. Recognize that the engineer’s job is to maintain professional composure while executing a series of technical decisions and managing expectations of others involved
  • Gear Choices: Knowledge and experience in recognizing the sonic attributes and shortcomings of a variety of pieces of gear and microphone techniques and using them in creative ways for capturing specific sources
  • Session Setup: Choose the appropriate analog or digital recording system, assigning spaces, choosing microphones, use of isolation, cable management, signal flow routing, assigning tracks, and necessary documentation
  • 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
  • Making Educated Decisions Quickly: Judgement is distilled from experience, which provides shortcuts and frames choices
  • Troubleshooting: Diagnose and solve technical problems 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. Multiple takes and knowing when to stop
  • Overdubbing: Repair, replace, and add additional tracks such as background vocals, horn sections, keyboards, percussion, etc.
  • Mixing: Create depth, height, and width in a soundscape using signal processing, panning, and volume control as determined by the recording platform
  • Psychology: Understand how to get the best work out of creative people by creating a comfortable, respectful, and creative environment

TR111 - 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
  • 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: Establish 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

TR112 - Post Production: Audio in the Field & Multimedia

This course is designed to cover post-production audio as it relates to multimedia projects in the cinematic arts or sound design for video games. Students will learn the basics of recording audio in the field to capture dialogue and ambience in a variety of settings and the use of synthesizers and samplers to create sound effects and design. Topics include ADR, Foley, audio editing, and audio for narrative enhancement.

Course Objectives
  • Field Recording: Audio for visual applications and remote recording techniques and gear to synchronize sound to visuals
  • Hard Disk Recorders: Understand the pros and cons of using hard disk recorders in the field to maintain the integrity of the audio and ensure the accurate capture of sound
  • Documentation and File Management: Best practices for labeling and organizing audio for ease of editing and archiving
  • Dialogue Recording: Record dialogue in the field as well as in the studio during the Automated Dialogue Recording process (ADR), working with actors and voice over artists, creating cue mixes, getting the best sync to picture, coaching for proper delivery, and setting up the ADR session
  • Scoring, Source Music, and the Use of Pre-existing Recordings: Use new and previously created music in the final soundscape for a visual work; other business and legal considerations

TR113 - Portfolio

The student’s portfolio is the archive of their work throughout the semester, including assignments, joint works with classmates, semester projects, and the projects required in the Business of Music course. It’s all of the “creative work”, including the work product that led to it, that was part of its development. On several occasions, students will present their portfolios to an audience of potential clients, employers, and others.

Course Objectives
  • Documentation, Deliverables, & Work: Document the student’s technological development, their business and legal development, and their internships and 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 so that the student can see improvement, suggesting that there is more to come
  • Gain Awareness: Help the student to gain attention for their work and their methodology and to provide them with the opportunity to interact with members of the community in that respect
  • Practical Application: Create the media, plans, budgets, contracts, registrations, and examples of work for the student to use in their efforts to start their own business or seek employment. To have their LLC in place, to have a business plan or career plan, that they started working on in their first week of matriculation

TR114 - Life Skills & Professionalism

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
  • 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

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 studio or related 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 session produced at Tweed Recording
  • If the student has their own business or business idea that they want to pursue, including their own recording or media project, these activities can count towards internship hours but must be approved by the course instructor.
  • Build a home studio.

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 (5th, 10th, and 15th weeks) for remedial purposes and may work in the ProTools 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

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.

Program Schedule

Weekly Schedule

Instructors

Nate Nelson

Nate Nelson

Recording Instructor

Joe Bleakley

Joe Bleakley

Live Sound Instructor

Sae'Von Springer

Sae'Von Springer

Electronic Music Production

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

Start Learning. Apply Now!

Create a sustainable career in the music business. We’ll teach you what you need to know to make money making music for years to come. Our instructors have decades of experience working with some of the biggest names in music. Don’t delay. Sign up today.

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