SCCC offers new digital music program

SCHENECTADY — Digital music is everywhere these days: in video games, TVs, radio shows, cell phones, etc.

But until now, a digital music program was missing from Schenectady County Community College’s School of Music.

“The students who came to SCCC for music traditionally came from band, orchestra or a rock band. But in the past few years, we’ve had kids who would make music on their iPads,” said Dr. William Meckley, the dean of the music school at SCCC.

Starting this fall, students will have the chance to enroll in a Digital Music and Beat Production Certificate. It’s a one-year program that gives students experience with digital editing, sampling, and recording.

“Learning how to use digital samplers and drum machines, it’s hard to fit that all into a two-year degree,” said Sten Isachsen, a professor in the SCCC’s School of Music.

Isachsen, who is also a touring musician with extensive recording experience, was instrumental in designing the program. The impetus for such a program has been building over the last few years, as many of his students have asked about courses dedicated solely to digital music production.

The music industry, as with any industry, is changing rapidly as new audio technology is developed. All that new tech means more training. The notion that anyone with Garage Band can create music without any training or foundation in music doesn’t ring true for most students.

Programs like Pro Tools and Garage Band take time to learn and a foundation in music theory and the physics of sound are still key to getting into the music industry.

“A lot of music is not produced live these days,” Isachsen said.

Instead, it’s produced digitally. To Isachsen, it seems only fitting that music schools across the country would start adding programs that prepare students for careers in the music industry through programs like this.

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