Alan Parsons Holds Recording Session Master Class for USC Students

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Alan Parsons addresses students from USC’s Thornton School of Music at a Master Class at Los Angeles’ The Village Studios.

In November, The Village Studios in Los Angeles hosted a special two-day session for the USC Thornton School of Music in which students were given the chance to see legendary producer/engineer Alan Parsons (pictured) in action, learning from him as they worked their way through a recording session. Parsons had the students participate in every aspect of the recording process, from mic placement to EQ settings for specific instruments and beyond.

Chris Sampson, Associate Dean for the Thornton School’s Popular Music Performance program, says, “We were truly honored to have such a luminary figure as Alan Parsons visit the USC Thornton School of Music. The recording session with Alan was simply an amazing experience for our students. Alan’s musicianship, expertise and demeanor throughout the session made him a tremendous role model. Alan is a natural educator and walked the students through the session step-by-step, making sure that they understood each part of the process. Additionally, Alan created an atmosphere of collaboration, constantly asking for creative input from the students. He was a true mentor. The result was a learning experience that I know made a life-long impression on these young musicians.”

Parsons states, “The USC Thornton School students were lively and showed great enthusiasm. The band was superb and despite the ‘classroom’ circumstances, we pulled off a great recording in an amazingly short time. The students are going to try their own mixes, so I’m looking forward to hearing their interpretations.”

These sessions are part of a required class for Popular Music majors at USC called the Popular Music Forum, a guest artist series designed to give insights into the music industry and profession. Other guest artists who are a part of the course this fall include Fred Wreck (producer with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg), Glenn Frey (co-founder of the Eagles), Linda Perry (hit songwriter and producer), Trevor Rabin (film composer), Tena Clark (CEO of DMI Music and Media Solutions), Darrell Brown (hit songwriter and producer), and Tom Johnston (co-founder of the Doobie Brothers).

“The success of the event with Alan has inspired us to do similar projects each semester," Sampson adds. "We will be hoping to connect with renowned producers and engineers who would be interested and willing to lead another day-long session with our students. Also, in addition to our regular showcases—we present numerous such events throughout the year—we will be having our first outdoor ‘Popular Music Program’ festival on February 25, 2012.”

Find more information about the Alan Parsons Art & Science of Sound Recording series.