Minutes of Quality Music
I actually did this project while I was studying music recording technology and composition at Salt Lake Community College. Some people wouldn’t put this on a portfolio, because it was technically a school project, but it required just as much work as my professional projects. It was actually one of the most demanding and all-encompassing projects that I have ever done. It required a very diverse skill set and I played many roles.
Resonance was a freshly formed music production group at SLCC. I was one of the first students to do the Music Recording Technology degree at the school and one of the first members of Resonance. In fact, the group voted for me as Resonance vice president because of my experience and my degree in business. The professors advising us wanted us to function like a faux record label for the school, using their new state of the art recording studio. (I’ve been told it is one of the nicest recording studios west of the Mississippi) I took this to heart, so I put together an ambitious and detailed project proposal. My plan was to recruit and record artists from the community on a compilation album. We would then hold a concert with those artists where we would sell the CDs that we recorded with them. Admission to the concert would be canned food to donate to the Utah Food Bank. The proposal was enthusiastically approved by the professors and the students in Resonance; I was made team leader for the project.
- Recording 36%
- Mixing & Mastering 21%
- Project Management 13%
- Event Planning 8%
- Graphic Design 7%
- Web Design 6%
- Social Media Management 5%
- Copywriting 4%
We wanted to find some of the best local talent to record on our compilation album. To do this, I made a website where artists could submit demos and everyone on my team shared it on social media. I also made posters to put up around SLCC campuses. I got in contact with the department responsible for on-campus advertising to ensure that it was spread far and wide. For my poster design I adopted the visual style of then-current SLCC advertisements: bright blue and yellow watercolor with rough line artistic elements. I also incorporated the Resonance logo that was provided to us by our professors. I think all of this gave the poster an official look that grabbed applicants attention. Something must have worked, because we got many more applications than we had anticipated. After sifting through a ton of demos we narrowed it down to just 5 artists.
I took the time to individually meet with each artist or group before recording so that we could connect and discuss the songs they wanted to capture. I helped them figure out what songs they should record and this helped me know how to set up the studio for their recording sessions. The artists who made time to plan with me ended up with much better recordings than the artists who were trying to completely wing it.
I quickly discovered that scheduling studio time with the school, the artists, and my team members was a large logistical challenge. There were limited time slots available in the studio and getting the right people there at the right time was not easy. This problem was amplified by the fact that we were still students of our craft; It took my team and I some time to set up and take down the recording equipment in the studio before and after every session. I found that my team was seriously short staffed, and there were only a few people in the group that I could count on. I was determined to make the project successful and I took on a lot of extra hours myself to make it happen. I personally attended every single recording session, and it felt like a full-time job.
After the recording process was complete, I had the opportunity to mix all 10 tracks. We each attempted to mix each track for the learning experience. Even though we worked with fantastic artists, there were some things about the initial recordings that weren’t perfect. (Some our fault and some theirs) I spent a ton of time trying to make everything sound the best it could and I think it paid off; all of my mixes were selected to go on the completed compilation CD. I know they’re not perfect, but I’m proud of how they sound. I created album artwork and organized the liner notes, but the physical CDs never materialized because we were waiting on a CD machine from the school.
Scheduling the concert proved to be even harder than scheduling time in the studio: We were supposed to have the concert on night where no one else from the music department was performing. We also had to compete with a surprisingly busy SLCC events schedule. On top of that we were trying to find a time that worked for all 5 bands. After a lengthy back and forth we finally settled on a date when 3 out of 5 bands could play. I did another round of simple posters and social media posts. We didn’t get quite the turnout that we wanted, but we were able to raise a decent amount of food for the Utah Food Bank, so it was a success.
During my time at Resonance, I was also tasked with creating / maintaining social media profiles and a website. Setting up the social media accounts was fairly straightforward for me. It’s a pretty simple process, most of the effort involved making a custom profile image and banner image. (and sizing them correctly for each platform) We decided to reimagine our logo to better reflect the concept of resonance. I kept the font and the SLCC colors so that this would feel like an evolution, rather than a replacement. I also tried to integrate more of the rough art style of current SLCC marketing. The resultant high-res social logo and banner worked great across multiple social platforms.
Designing the Resonance website wasn’t quite what I was used to; I had to work within a platform called Orgsync. Although it offered a few nifty features like school calendar syncing, it was not a robust content management system (CMS) and many aspects of the platform felt outdated. In the end, I was able to make a fairly attractive website despite the rigid parameters of the platform. I even managed to keep the code lightweight and fast loading while evoking the visual style of SLCC again. Surprisingly, the site is still on the web and unchanged. (They haven’t even updated the placeholder text that I put up… I guess they don’t like orgsync either.)