March 21, 2023

Everyone has had that moment when they are bopping along to the beat of their favorite song. Whether it is pop, rock or country, the underlying composition of a song is what draws people in and determines whether one likes a song or hits skip.

Though many do not realize it, countless people are working behind the scenes to bring these tracks to life.

California Baptist University’s studio production major targets students who are looking to create music and expand their knowledge of popular music throughout modern history. Students are trained in an immersive and integrated program—musically, theoretically, and entrperneurally.

The pandemic thwarted the program’s initial launch in 2019. Now that remote learning has become a thing of the past, Dr. Lance Beaumont, professor of music, christened the 2022-23 school year as the official launch of the major as the faculty envisioned it.

Bryan Picazo | CBU Banner In addtition to studio equipment, rehearsal rooms also house several instruments available for student use.

Beaumont said the major is a springboard meant to provide a wide variety of opportunities for budding producers.

Tony Pascual, sophomore studio productions major, recalled that the program was kind to beginners. Though he only took a few music tech classes in high school, Pascual said he found it easy to adapt to the curriculum.

Beaumont’s two primary goals for students are to examine different types of music and find which kind they like and learn to express themselves through the necessary tools.

“They’ve expanded their color palette, so to speak,” Beaumont said, referring to his students. “Their crayon box has gone from eight colors now to 164.”

Adam Gonzalez, junior studio productions major, said that studying popular music is another essential aspect of the major. “The program has helped me gain a better overall perspective on all different types of music and the history about them,” Gonzalez said.

In this vein, Pascual added that listening to music helps students learn to listen for specific elements.

“You pick up on the really small details, such as what effects they use on the vocalists and instruments and how well the mix of the band or instrument tracks are blended together,” Pascual said.

There are several misconceptions surrounding musical production, particularly the amount of manpower required to create a comprehensive musical project. Beaumont said there are a variety of jobs for every aspect of the production process. “We had a student that just graduated who’s working for Madison Square Garden writing code for spatial audio,” Beaumont said.

“There are other students that are working in the last element of recording, which we call mastering. So for every artist you see on the stage, there are hundreds of people that you don’t see behind that artist that are making that possible.”

Additionally, Pascual uses an analogy to debunk the idea that education is unnecessary to become a successful producer.

“‘Anyone can cook,’” quoted Pascual. “I love (“Ratatouille”), but I hate that quote. Like cooking, it takes time and skill to become good at (making music). While anyone can learn to make a nice dinner or two, it takes someone with more skill to make food for a five-star restaurant.”

When working with all these different elements, it is easy for one to become overwhelmed. Gonzalez related the struggles of a producer to those of a writer.

“Even authors deal with what they call writer’s block, so sometimes I need to take a step away from producing to see if I can gather inspiration,” Gonzalez said.

Beaumont said the fear of acceptance is the most crushing aspect of becoming a producer.

The most prevalent concern among his students is whether or not their music will be well received. By compelling students to share their projects, Beaumont hopes to improve their confidence and ability to receive constructive criticism.

Pascual encouraged current and prospective studio production majors who are insecure about their work.

“With anything it always requires a learning curve,” Pascual said. “When you finally get the basics and figure your way around things, it becomes easier. Always learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.”

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