St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts/Art Institute of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)

  • Instructor: Brian Hallerman
  • School Profile: SPCPA: Public charter arts magnet school; AIM: Trade School
  • Class Title(s)SPCPA: Composition; AI: Audio Recording 1/2, Adv Recording 1/2, Digital Audio, Audio for Post, Music Theory, Live Sound
  • Grades Levels Included: SPCPA: 9-12, AIM: Undergraduate College
  • Structure of NTM Class(es): SPCPA: Beginning Composition 1,2 sections of 9th/10th graders,  80 minutes per week, M/W alternating with a "flex" study/work period.  10-15 students per section, 15 week semester.

    AIM: Classes are offered in two 3 hour sections per week, 8-11, 11-2, or 2-5. Classes range from 2-10 undergraduate audio students.

  • Software Used: SPCPA: iOS: NanoStudio, Notion, FL Studio, Launchpad, Tenuto, Garage Band. AIM: ProTools, Reason, Komplete, Adobe CS6, MAX/MSP 
  • Hardware Used: SPCPA: iPad Air, MIDI Keyboards AIM: 48 channel SSL Duality based studio, ProTools HD3, outboard gear by Millennia, Neve, Manley, Avalon, etc.

  • Class NTM Activities:  SPCPA: Class sessions will balance between a 50/50 split of lecture/project work all the way to a total "work" day.  This semester I gave them the complete overview of what the "final" composition should look like and each week or two they are responsible for the next step of developing their composition.  As they become more familiar with the software and environment, I will do short lectures/tutorials on expanding the features that they are using.  They will then apply that to the process.

    AIM: Most of the classes I have taught are studio based.  I find that when I design a class syllabus, I "front load" the class…as I call it.  I will provide a lot of the theory and technical knowledge early on, and they will then apply that to hands on projects in the studio.  Just like my high school level classes, I will continue to add topics and information as we move through the project in the form of lectures, hands on demonstrations, and guest speakers and projects.

  • History: SPCPA was started 10 years ago and was refined a couple years ago to be a more rigorous, conservatory style arts program.  It has continued to grow and attract some very talented young musicians.  As technology grows, they are starting to implement more and more technical aspects to the program.  It is a work in progress to find the best balance of technology within a conservatory style setting.

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM ProjectYou can do a lot with a little bit of technology.  There are many new free and low cost options that don't need massive investments up front.  Once you build the enrollment and following, you can up the ante with more advanced resources.  There are MANY amazing resources out there (blogs, Twitter feeds, websites) that can help you keep up on what is happening in music technology.  Don't stress trying to do it all yourself. Also, when starting up…research what direction/platform/technology you want to use and stick with it for the first year or two.  Someone who is a master of a basic piece of software/hardware can do infinitely more than a person with all the fancy gear in the world and very little idea how to maximize it.
  • Additional Comments:  At face value, my profile is not focused on the NTM.  The High School program is an arts magnet school, and the college is a media arts school.  The high school is an amazing environment that I have autonomy to experiment with different music tech curricular ideas.  We run the department with the idea that we are a lab school to work on new music teaching ideas. 

  • Date Submitted: November 2014
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