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Upgrades Elevate Woodstock Academy Music Lab to Pro Level

Jon Searles sat at the sound board in his music technology class Wednesday, turning knobs and electronically altering a track his a cappella group, Hill Singers, laid the day before.


Posted Oct 23, 2011 @ 11:48 PM Last update Oct 24, 2011 @ 01:31 AM

Woodstock, Conn. —

“Before, we didn’t have the equipment to do much more than talk about the technology,” said teacher Jason Wiggin. Now, the music department is equipped with 16 Mac stations, where soundless keyboards allow students to create music and edit music recorded in the studio next door. “This is like going from zero to 100,” Wiggin said. The school’s old music production technology equipment consisted of a few computers that had a dated version of music notation software.

The $150,000 music lab and recording studio were made possible through a grant from the Beagary Charitable Trust. The school’s music department applied for the grant. During summer break, the professional-grade recording booth and accompanying soundboard and computer stations equipped with Pro Tools software were installed. The computer stations are connected to each other and to a teacher’s station. Wiggin said he can tune in to any of the student’s work by pressing a button on his computer. He can also connect stations so students can work together on a production project. And he can put all the work on his laptop, so he can access students’ work from anywhere. “It made a great job a dream job,” Wiggin said.

For Searles, the opportunity to learn on the software most major recording studios use is a huge boost to his aspirations of becoming a music producer. “I have a different program that I use at home,” Searles, of Brooklyn, said. “It’s exciting to get the chance to learn on Pro Tools. I want to get a job producing music, so it’s a big help.” While more than 350 students at Woodstock Academy are involved with the performing arts program, Wiggin said nonmusical kids are interested in the technology class, too. “Sound engineers, producers, people who work on movies, television, radio, it’s all the same basic properties,” he said. “The technology really crosses over.”


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