Students gain a complete foundation in recording music on their computers. “when students complete the course, they are able to use their home computer to produce a piece of music from the ground up,” says Michael Bierylo, who co-authored the course with David Mash. Bierylo brings extensive experience from his own Virtual Planet studio, where he has completed film, video, and multimedia scores for clients such as Nickelodeon and VH1. Mash is Berklee’s Vice President for Information Technology.
“Some students may have produced a few pieces already, but many just have a computer and the inclination to make music on it. Either way, this course will help them to get to the next stage. Students completely new to producing music will be able to start here. Those more experienced will fill in any gaps in their understanding. It’s a broad-based course, with very widespread appeal and applicability.”
The course covers a variety of topics, including planning and configuring a home studio, developing musical ideas using MIDI and digital audio software, and mixing multitrack audio projects. Students learn in a flexible online environment where they can devote as much time as they need to master each of the topics. They also enjoy greater access to their professor than they would during his on-campus office hours. And they benefit from an eclectic, international community of classmates, who bring a wide range of backgrounds and interests to the subjects addressed in class. These factors help students of all different skill levels to gain a comprehensive mastery of desktop music production.
“The nice thing about this course is that there’s a very high ‘ah-ha’ factor,” says Bierylo. “Even more experienced students have ‘ah-ha’ moments, which open a lot of doors for them.”
No matter what background students bring to the subject, or how they plan to apply what they’ve learned, Bierylo and Mash aim to offer all aspiring composers, musicians, and producers the knowledge they need to record professional sounding music. And as far as the authors are concerned, no tool is more important than the computer. “Really, these days, whether you’re a performer, producer, or composer, you are likely to be using the computer to do music,” he says. “The computer is the piano of the new millennium.