Stockholm, Sweden (February 21, 2007)–Propellerhead has teamed with three educational institutions–Central Michigan University School of Music, University of Arizona and Mesa Community College–to offer for-credit curriculum featuring Reason software.
“For Propellerhead Software, music education is an important way for musicians to be able to reach their musical dreams,” said Tage Widsell, VP of marketing & communications for Propellerhead. “We are pleased to see more music colleges putting our software to good use in new and innovative ways.”
Central Michigan University’s two courses, “Music Synthesis 1 & 2”, are considered requisite for composition majors, and can be chosen as an elective by other students. Focusing on desktop music production, students in MS1 will learn to use analog synthesizers, samplers, digital signal processors, mixers, drum machines and sequencers while learning the principles, techniques and history of electronic music. In the second course, students learn about digital audio recording, mixing and mastering. The program’s instructor, George Hess, is also CMU’s Professor of Music Technology, and holds a B.M from the Berklee College of Music and the M.M. and D.A from the University of Northern Colorado–all in Music Theory and Composition. A highly regarded clinician, George is also on International Association of Jazz Education Resource team for Technology. As a fan of Reason, both in and out of the classroom, he was excited to initiate these programs into the Music Technology program at CMU.
“Reason is simply one of the best teaching tools I’ve ever used,” said Hess. “The virtual rack interface immediately engages and excites my students. The program is incredibly powerful, yet students have it up and running in a matter of minutes and are making music immediately. It may sound cliché, but Reason makes learning about electronic music fun.
“The Subtractor is the perfect tool to teach the fundamentals of analog synthesis and the NN-XT lets them easily learn to apply some pretty advanced sampling techniques. The conclusion to each module is a composition. One of my favorite modules is about electronic music in the 1940s & 1950s. Reason and Recycle are great for recreating tape loop and music concrete compositions such as those of Pierre Schafer and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The class uses Recycle to chop up their “tape” and then uses the Dr. Rex, the Redrum and the samplers to create and process loops and assemble the piece in the sequencer.”
At the University of Arizona in Tucson, Professor Norman Weinberg conceived the CrossTalk–The University of Arizona Electronic Percussion Group. Students ranging from sophomores to DMA candidates work together with the very latest digital music hardware and software, to program both their MIDI controllers and the sound modules that create the music. Students are encouraged to design their own sounds and compose their own compositions. CrossTalk members gain hands-on experience working with the latest technology–including Reason 3.04, ReCycle 2.1, Reason Drum Kits 2.0 Refill, and Strings Refill–along with the artistic experience of high quality performances at international conferences.
“CrossTalk is the only performing ensemble of its kind in the world,” explained Weinberg. “The philosophy of the eight-member group is to create and perform new music on an assortment of digital percussion. Members of CrossTalk can get up and running inside of Reason in a very short time. Once they’ve gotten a basic sound, they often turn their attention to programming and playing before the first rehearsal. When the piece gets into actual rehearsals with the entire group, the students will often go back into Reason and tweak their sounds to make them more interesting, more responsive, and more identifiable in the mix. Their explorations for the ‘right sound’ often leads them into other areas of Reason that are more complex in terms of programming techniques and sonic coloring. They start to hear sound in a different way that is more sophisticated and thoughtful: high frequencies, low frequencies, overtones, modulations in tone quality over time, acoustical space, and other aspects. I’m totally convinced that working with and exploring sound inside of Reason pays off when they are producing sounds on acoustic timpani, toms, cymbals, or triangles.”
Keith Heffner is a professor at the Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ and is utilizing Reason for its music curriculum: Electronic Music I & II, Digital Audio Workstation I & II, Introduction to Sound Design for Film and Video. EMI & II and DAW I & II are credited towards an A.A.S. degree in Music Business and Audio Production Technologies. Introduction to Sound Design for Film and Video will be credited as a new degree to be determined the near future. Heffner worked as a composer/ arranger in the commercial music industry in Los Angeles for sixteen years before moving to Arizona. His credits include work with Jon Anderson (of YES), Kitaro, Cirque (live theater), underscore for television and animated features, and various other recording projects. He holds a BA in Electronic Music Synthesis and an MA in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education from Boston University.
“Reason is used as an introductory program for EMI,” said Heffner. “Students learn the basics of analog synthesis programming with the Subtractor module and progress to other modules. The sequencer in Reason is taught concurrently to allow students to systematically construct projects incorporating Reason’s resources. The back of the ‘rack’ in Reason is used to introduce the concepts of cabling, routing, and signal flow. Some instruction in mixing is introduced and incorporates the concepts of using effects and aux I/Os. In EMII, students are encouraged to use Reason as a sound resource as a plug-in. The concept of slaving another program with Rewire has enabled students to have a sense of progression because they are able to use a program they feel comfortable with. In DAW I and II, we use Pro Tools for our software. Reason is incorporated as a plug-in as well. Students are also encouraged to “bounce” Reason loops and other audio material so that they may import them into audio tracks for manipulation within the DAW.”
Log on to the following sites for more information on these programs:
Central Michigan University School of Music
CrossTalk – The University of Arizona Electronic Percussion Group
Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ