Students sitting silently taking a math test were all of sudden surprised by the booming music shaking their classroom. This rock and roll symphony was a live band playing and recording in the Sound Production class downstairs.
Sound Production is an elective course designed to give students hands-on experience in recording and producing music. From live bands to electronic beats, the class covers it all.
“There is a defining difference between teaching theory and teaching applied. It’s one thing to teach the mental understanding of production, but to actually touch the cables, set up microphones, and see the whole process first hand all while having hands-on experience is vital in ensuring understanding. Sound Production is a tangible art -– not theoretical,” Sound Production teacher Robert Kaechele said.
On Monday, Jan. 10, the class started its new project. Students spent three days working with two experienced musicians, both Poway High School alumni, volunteering their time and expertise to the class.
On day one, singer-songwriter Chris Armes and drummer Wade Youman from Unwritten Law demonstrated the process of songwriting. They worked with two Sound Production students, senior Gavin Jones and sophomore Owen Nagel, both members of their own bands.
“At first it was difficult to hear everyone’s ideas and figure out which of them would work best in the song, since four different brains were contributing. It was definitely still fun though. We ended up with a final song that I’m very proud of, which is all I can ask for,” bassist Jones said.
Day two was all about rehearsing and writing lyrics, but the main event was day three, actually recording the song to create a demo.
The self-titled band The CPA’s features Youman on drums, Jones on bass guitar, Nagel on lead guitar, and Armes on guitar and vocals to produce a sick punk rock track. They performed and recorded the song in the back studio of the Sound Production classroom for the entire N-building to hear.
“It was so cool to see all the equipment like cables and microphones set up and to see the finished product come together,” Sound Production student, junior Natalie Wall said. “I even got to go into the recording booth during one take. Hearing all the different parts on different mics come together to create the demo was so interesting.”
The next step for Kaechele, better known in the music industry as DJ K, is to mix the arrangement of the tracks to create the finalized demo.
“We are going to take the demo into Studio West as the basic structure, and from there we will do a basic take again with the guitars and bass and drums and then start layering tracks on like vocals and harmony,” Armes said.
The entire Sound Production class will have the opportunity to follow this project until the end on a field trip to Studio West where they can watch The CPA’s professionally record their song.
The three day project provided real experience to all the students in Sound Production, especially Jones and Nagel.
“I thought it was super rad that we got to work with people who have achieved what I’m trying to achieve. It was good to learn from them and get a better idea of what a future in music could look like for me,” Jones said.