Simon Ross – Level 1 Reflection

Growing up I took a very strong interest in music. I spent all my spare time throughout secondary school learning how to DJ but I wanted to take my interest in music and sound further. The Audio Production course has given me the opportunity to do exactly that.

When I started the course I was unsure as to what exactly I wanted to be doing, there are so many options where you can apply sound within the industry you are almost spoilt for choice. My main interests when I came here, however, were music production and radio broadcasting.

I had come to Lincoln with some basic experience of producing music after having collaborated with a friend I had met via the radio, but in the first few weeks of being here we were all taught how to operate a fully functioning 24 channel mixing desk. Already this was much different to making music in a bedroom!

We then applied our newly learnt skills to our first project as part of the Multitrack Recording module. I was very much looking forward to this module since we would be working in an industry standard recording studio, something I never imagined I would lucky enough to experience. We were split into two groups and were each asked to record and produce a cover song from scratch. My group and I all agreed to do a cover of  Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ and recorded each instrument week by week for a period of 6 weeks. Once all recording was done, everyone in the group took them away and tweaked them to perfection as part of the mixing process. We used our knowledge from the ‘Principles of Audio’ lectures to do this at the best of our ability.

Principles of Audio covered the physics side of sound and it has proven to be very useful for my both my university work and also the productions I work on in my spare time. Each week we would discuss a different aspect of sound, such as equalization, compression, frequency spectrums, and even how the human ear works. We would take what we had learnt and apply it to projects in our workshops that were held had later in the day. This is where we would learn more about the technical side of working with sound, like being careful not to have some sounds too loud, too quiet, and how to get most of what we are working with using effects and plug-ins.

Having already had some background working with radio, the Radio and Sound module was my other main interest in this semester. Rather than being thrown in the deep end, we were first asked to make a short radio feature based on a list of different topics given to us. My group chose the topic of extreme sports. We spoke to people who do extreme sports as a hobby, some who have careers in it, and we also spoke to people around Lincoln to gather some great opinions.

This small project later developed into a new project where we would broadcast a 30 minute radio show on a topic of our choice. This was really exciting for me as I have only had my music broadcast through the airwaves and not actually done any broadcasting myself. Working in the same group, we decided to compare the genres of rock music and dance music. Again we spoke to people relevant to the topic. We interviewed a local band member, Chris Jenner, to represent the rock genre, and to represent the dance genre we spoke to a fellow DJ and producer of mine, Rob Corbo. Both interviewees were extremely fascinating and provided great material for our show.

At the moment we are all focusing our attention towards the module Sound for Visual Media. This is something I never even considered before coming here but it’s already becoming great fun to do! We started working with still images using sound to apply the appropriate mood to what we could see, resorting to literal sounds and also abstract approaches too.  This module is also great for us as it allows us to work with other students at the university. Soon we will be working with photography and animation students, and also media students, helping them get the most out of their work with our audio skills.

Now that we are reaching the end of the year, it’s great to realise how much I’m learning every week, if not every day! There is never a moment where something sounds irrelevant. By the end of this course I hope to be working at BBC Radio 1 which may be a little ambitious at the moment, but I feel confident that it’s achievable when I see what I am currently learning here at the University of Lincoln.