Once employed primarily in traditional recording studios, today’s recording arts professionals work in a vast range of industries and capacities—from optimizing audio at concerts and other live events, to creating soundscapes for video games and other interactive media, to designing and mixing sound for feature films, and beyond.
Focusing on the technical side of sound production, TFA’s Associate of Applied Science degree in Recording Arts teaches students to capture, create, mix, and manipulate audio using industry-standard hardware and software. Students learn sound design, music engineering, live event production, and audio post-production while working on a variety of projects on campus and in the field.
Starting their first semester, students dive into discipline courses while taking a mix of general education courses taught in a way that relates to the media industry. Each student will have opportunities to record and mix audio for artists in both studio and live venue environments, and to provide audio for TFA's complimentary academic departments. In addition, students will have opportunities to work with outside clients, building both resume and real-world perspective that will be essential in the professional world after graduation.
In this program, students have the opportunity to build a broad and transferrable skill set in studio recording and mixing, live event engineering, sound design for visual media, and postproduction. Here are some of the skills and techniques taught in the AAS in Recording Arts program.
The AAS in Recording Arts is designed to help students become skilled generalists in their field. Graduates may pursue entry level positions such as Live Sound Engineer, Stagehand, Music Engineer, Location Recording Specialist, Postproduction Specialist, and Sound Designer. Students may also choose to submit their portfolio to be considered for TFA’s bachelor’s in digital media with a major in postproduction.
When you first arrive on campus, it’s easy to see that TFA’s Recording Arts program in Chicago competes with the best audio engineering schools in the nation. But what sets us apart from them?
As audio engineering schools go, we offer one of the most diverse perspectives on the many audio engineering career paths available today. From music mixing to corporate a/v to interactive application sound design to dozens of different jobs in the live audio and touring industry, our Recording Arts program gives every student a chance to find his or her niche.
We also differ from other audio engineering colleges by cultivating a continually evolving curriculum. Because we revise our course content each year and encourage our faculty to create work outside of the classroom, we ensure that our lessons, labs, and instructors remain up-to-date with (and, at times, even ahead of) the industry they serve.
Why so much emphasis on being different? We set ourselves apart from other audio engineering schools so that, when you leave TFA, you'll have much more than just a degree to point to. You'll have hours of hands-on experience, direct knowledge of the recording production pipeline, and extensive skill in location audio and post-production for film and broadcast. All of this adds up to the on-the-job skills that will show employers you're ready to hit the ground running.
MAS111. The Production-In-Action course offers every student direct, hands-on experience in completing a professional media production, which encompasses all disciplines at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. During Production-in-Action students collaborate with fellow students as well as industry professionals to create the finished product. Students will work as part of a cross discipline team to create digital assets for the production.Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
FYE010. First Year Experience is a course designed to successfully onboard students to Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. Taken in the first semester of enrollment, the course serves as both a training ground for the systems, rules, and culture of the college, as well as a consistent touch point for incoming students during their first semester on campus. Through a variety of lectures and activities designed to educate and inform, students achieve proficiency in student information systems, learning management systems, organizational strategies, time management, and professional correspondence. The course also provides the structure for students to practice skills, habits, and behaviors necessary to succeed in higher education. Total Contact Hours: 24 / Total Credit Hours: 0
ENG101. Composition I is a reading/writing-intensive course that guides each student in establishing his or her writing process and in developing an individual style of written communication. The course curriculum encourages students to demonstrate the ability to organize information, edit, and revise written work, demonstrate an understanding of subject matter, and exhibit critical thinking skills. Through creative, narrative, persuasive, expository, and research-based writing, students strengthen and scaffold their reading comprehension skills, their ability to organize information from multiple sources, and analyze readings by a variety of writers. Emphasis is placed on writing as a means to self-discovery, as well as the value of the writer’s interaction with his/her audience. Underlying each assignment is the importance of demonstrating a mastery of standard American English and an ability to present written work in the correct format. The prerequisite for enrollment in Composition I is a minimum score of 8 on the written essay portion of the COMPASS® test. Students who score a 7 on the written essay will be reviewed for placement by faculty. In some cases, an instructor will require the student to attend the Writing Lab as part of his/her course work. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
SPH101. Oral Communication is a year one course designed to build students’ effectiveness as oral communicators. Assignments and exercises are designed to develop speech and presentation skills, and strategies for building confidence as public speakers. Students in this course will 1) develop awareness of the communication process; 2) learn various organizational and expressive strategies; 3) gain understanding of a variety of communication context; and 4) expand their critical skills in listening, reading, thinking,and speaking. Students will be required to deliver both extemporaneous speeches and fourplanned speeches/presentations, which demonstrate clear expression, reasoning, and knowledge of a topic. At the completion of the course, students will have gained confidence and competency in the practice of oral communication skills as well as an understanding of communication theory. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
HUM111. Humanities Survey offers students a humanities-based introduction to the psychological, social, anthropological, mythological and historical aspects of media. Using the classic hero's journey as a lens for study, this course encourages students to ideate and develop modern media projects that incorporate a deeper cultural awareness. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR103. The Digital Audio Workstation course explores software and hardware tools in a digital audio workstation environment using personal computer systems. Concepts of digital audio theory, sample rate, and bit depth are covered, as well as recording, editing, mixing, equalization, and dynamic processing. Skills are developed through hands-on lab projects including music editing, sound design, and voice production. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR116. Live Sound I introduces students to the tools and technologies used in sound reinforcement systems, including loudspeakers, mixing consoles, and related hardware and software. During this course students will develop the technical skills required to set up and operate a PA system. Emphasis is also placed on client interaction and professional conduct. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR117. Studio Recording I introduces students to multi-track recording within the studio environment and provides a hands-on approach to instrument and vocal recording. Aesthetics, signal flow, control surfaces, microphone selection, monitoring, and recorders are covered. Students gain the skills needed for engineering a recording session, and emphasis is placed on client interaction and professional conduct. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR118. Fundamentals of Sound + Acoustics provides an overview of the principles and perception of sound. Students gain an understanding of waveform characteristics such as frequency, period, and amplitude in relation to human hearing and perception of sound. Harmonics, distortion, envelope, timbre, and types of random noise are also examined. In addition, students are introduced to concepts of wave behavior and room acoustics. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR119. Sound Design for Visual Media introduces students to audio production for visual media including video games, film, television, and the web. This course explores techniques used to create sound effects, as well as dialog recording and editing, signal processing, file management, and other audio production methods used in conjunction with linear and interactive media. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
FLM127. Production Module I is a semester-long introductory course designed to foster the collaborative process. Students begin by working with a partner on a still photograph/sound design project. The course quickly moves into pre-production for a three-minute narrative film. Recording Arts students function as crew members to help scout locations and develop production audio strategies while Film students realize scripts written in a concurrent screenwriting course and begin training in non-linear editing. Production occurs over a several week period culminating in screening raw footage in preparation for postproduction. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
ENG102. Composition II is designed to further develop the writing skills students developed in Composition I. Continuing to focus on the reading-writing connection, students explore issues and delve deeper into experiential knowledge through writing strategies. The course requires their written works to exhibit inventiveness of topic and mastery of subject germane to the student's major concentration. Through a variety of writing projects, students must show evidence of their commitment to communication through written expression and analysis of academic concerns. In order to succeed in this course, students must achieve proficiency in several writing techniques, demonstrate organizational and editorial strategies, and show competency in the use of standard American English. Above all, students' writing must clearly communicate ideas to an intended audience. Prerequisite: ENG101. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
MTH101. General Math focuses on the development of the student’s ability to conduct mathematical reasoning and problem solving in a real-world context. Three or four topics are examined in-depth and may include geometry, linear programming, exponential and logarithmic functions, statistics, probability, graph theory, mathematical modeling, or game theory. Students also gain practice in collecting and analyzing data, and building simple mathematical models. Emphasis is placed on providing opportunities for students to enhance their critical thinking skills and confidence as problem-solvers and constructors of knowledge. Students work with calculators and personal computers as tools for learning. Prerequisite: MTH010 or a score of 30 or above on the Algebra portion of the COMPASS® test. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR213. Studio Recording II explores large ensemble recording, as well as building on the foundation of technical and aesthetic material learned in previous studio recording courses. This advanced class introduces students to mixing strategies and techniques combining real-time DSP and outboard processing with a digital audio workstation and analog consoles. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR215. Live Sound II introduces students to digital mixing consoles, advanced wireless systems, and room analysis and tuning. During this course students will gain the technical skills required to set up and operate a PA system for both the analog and digital world, learn how to analyze and tune a sound system for a particular room, and develop a working knowledge of wireless systems. Throughout this course, emphasis is placed on client interaction and professional conduct. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR222. Signal Processing addresses sound design in support of music and audio mixing, audio in film, interactive games, and other electronic media. Emphasis is given to digital signal processing, and existing sound manipulation, sound perception and spatial relationships. The course investigates methods of sound asset creation through actual processing devices, or software plug-ins. Dynamic, frequency, time, and phase driven processors are covered. The course also touches on ear training, and developing listening skills; and includes hands-on advanced signal processing lab work and preparation of sound assets. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR225. Flashpoint Academy Studios provides students with the unique opportunity to participate in a media arts production company. Working in teams, students are assigned client-based projects derived from inside the institution and from the public at large. Each faculty-supervised team is responsible for delivery of a professional, finished product for the client. Upon completion of the course, students will have gained experience in collaboration and accumulated professional work credits for their portfolios. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR234. Portfolio Development educates students on skills and practices necessary for a successful transition to a career in the media arts industries. Reel and portfolio creation, online marketing, networking and job search strategies are covered. Taking ownership and responsibility for the job search process is underscored. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR245. Advanced Topics: Sound Design + Postproduction is a capstone course intended to fully develop students for careers in the field of audio production. During this course, students will study and discuss the aesthetics of various types and continue to expand their technical skills through individual and collaborative projects. Students will be expected to critique their own works in progress and articulate a cogent point of view for fellow classmates regarding their work. Total Contact Hours: 90 / Total Credit Hours: 3
RAR247. Advanced Topics: Music Engineering + Live Event Production is a capstone course intended to fully develop students for careers in the field of audio production. During this course, students will study and discuss the aesthetics of audio and continue to expand their technical skills through individual and collaborative projects. Students will be expected to critique their own works in progress and articulate a cogent point of view for fellow classmates regarding their work. Total Contact Hours: 90 / Total Credit Hours: 3
FLM227. Production Module II is an advanced course designed to increase the skill sets developed in the first year of Film & Broadcast classes. Faculty chooses which scripts will be made and all second year students in this course will participate in making the projects. The course culminates in a seven to ten minute narrative film. Production occurs over the semester with regular class periods as well as out of class production. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3