Most might expect a city such as Nashville to have a high school that actually teaches recording. Unfortunately, most public school vocational programs have limited funding and operate with hand-me-down equipment. However, with approximately 1,300 students who come from very diverse economic, racial and national backgrounds, Hillsboro High — one of the few high schools that offer this type of training in the nation — educates its students using top-notch gear, including a Pro Tools|HD — equipped main control room.
When Todd Young took over as teacher of the Music Career’s courses in January 2004, he walked into a room outfitted with an antiquated 8-track ADAT and a few SM57 microphones. In his first six months, with cooperation from the PTSA and some federal funding, Young created a program that is as good as most studios for hire, training students for jobs in the recording industry.
The studio is centered on a 1,200-square-foot common studio area. This spacious room is of a ’70s design that uses multi-angled wood-slat walls that still hold a warm ambience. This studio is shared by three control rooms: Control A is equipped with a Digidesign Control|24 using Pro Tools|HD powered by a Mac G5. Outboard gear is numerous, including a BBE Sonic Maximizer and a Focusrite Voicemaster preamp. Control B is equipped with a Digi 002 running Pro Tools LE powered by a G5, with essentially the same outboard gear. Control C is more old-school with an 8-bus Behringer MX-9000, Alesis ADAT and a vintage Studer A-80 tape machine. There is also an iso room for vocals and a drum kit. Young cross-wired all rooms to allow any control room to track from any space. There are various mics including models from Groove Tubes, Sennheiser, Oktava and BLUE. To make the program “teachable,” Young put a classroom together with 10 iMacs loaded with various software so that as he teaches from a large screen, the students can try out the procedures.
“I could just teach the engineering side, but I thought that by allowing the kids to record their own performances and projects, it would encourage the kids to work harder and therefore learn more,” Young explained. “We have some talented kids. I hope to make some connections that will give them an avenue to pursue their dreams.”