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New Studios: Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University

Media Education Facilities for Music, Audio and Picture by nonzero\architecture Complementing the studio design work nonzero\architecture (a.k.a. studio bau:ton) has been doing for commercial and personal clients over the last 30+ years, is its highly relevant involvement in institutional projects for a variety of schools and universities. Founder Peter Grueneisen says, “The importance of student […]

Media Education Facilities for Music, Audio and Picture by nonzero\architecture

Complementing the studio design work nonzero\architecture (a.k.a. studio bau:ton) has been doing for commercial and personal clients over the last 30+ years, is its highly relevant involvement in institutional projects for a variety of schools and universities. Founder Peter Grueneisen says, “The importance of student education cannot be overstated for the future in the music, audiovisual and media production fields.”  https://www.nonzeroarch.com

John Merchant, MTSU Recording Industry, Chair and Dan Pfeifer, Studio Project Head.

“We have a student-oriented program and run our recording studios 24/7 during the semesters to maximize the time students have in our rooms,” says Dan Pfeifer, MTSU Professor of Recording Industry & Audio Internship Coordinator. “When the students have the musicians on the other side of the glass and they have to make it happen for themselves, that’s what brings the reality to the equation and underpins their learning. We keep our students in front of current technologies and in modern spaces where they can explore great things.”

MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was founded in 1911, and is renowned for its Music and Recording Industry programs. Their new nearly 5,000 sq.ft. facility includes two identical control rooms with their respective recording spaces of various sizes and additional isolation booths. The new Studios D and E are under a tall roof that allowed the design to take advantage of 17′ high ceilings in the tracking rooms. All of the spaces are now generously sized and can accommodate groups of teachers and students, bands and ensembles, making it the flagship studio of the school’s renowned audio program.

John Merchant, the Department Chair, previously had a productive professional studio career in South Florida, working closely with top recording artists. He was also a graduate of the MTSU Master’s Program before becoming a faculty member. Bill Crabtree, the director of the Master of Fine Arts program, is an alumnus of the University and the recording industry program.

New MTSU Tracking Room.

Many MTSU graduates have been awarded Grammys and during the 2019 broadcast, one anchor dubbed the school a “Grammy-winner factory.” The College of Media and Entertainment offers students the full range of media and communications for a career in the recording industry, film, television, journalism, public relations, and photography within a broad-based curriculum and unique hands-on classes.

In addition to classroom settings, students interact extensively with media professionals through internships and participation in national media and entertainment events. MTSU students have played roles at the Grammys, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Americana Music Festival and many more national prominent events. The college is also the home of WMOT-FM, a 100,000-watt public radio station.

“The program here was started as a music business program and in 1974 the original recording studios D and E were built in 2004 in an old dormitory,” Dan Pfeifer continues. “The university had previously acquired a church with a fellowship hall and an ideal gymnasium where we relocated the new studios in 2021.”

The structure is over 30 feet tall inside with no interior columns. MTSU’s new control rooms are nearly identical for flexible teaching purposes. Students who study in one room can switch easily to the other. The two live rooms are different in size, one with a large orchestral tracking space and the other suitable to recording bands and overdubs. Both control rooms have SSL AWS 924 consoles running Pro Tools HD systems. Monitoring systems are Adam Audio S3H mains with Carl Tatz Phantom Focus near fields and subs.

“It’s not only popular recording artists that graduate from MTSU. Many producers and engineers have excelled in the industry after graduating from our programs,” Pfeifer adds. “We recently had Grammy-nominated alumnus Tay Keith, who produced Travis Scott’s latest double Platinum hit, visit and speak to the students about the new studios.

“It’s one thing to learn about a studio in a classroom, but it’s another thing to be in the studio learning about the studio,” said Tay Keith in the Murfreesboro Post. “Just to even have the ability to be sitting in a studio in class is, you know, it’s dope.”

https://www.mtsu.edu/recording-industry

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