The university’s music technology department hosted its 11th annual Creative Arts Workshop for 200 attendees on March 25, 2023. This event was intended for networking and learning with some of the brightest in the field from around the area.
The event brings in guests to host sessions on a variety of topics in the field of music technology, these topics range from mic placement to synchronizing lighting for live music. The presenters were a combination of alumni, professors, university students and other experts in the Central Ohio area.
The Creative Arts Workshop was also largely student run, with there being a class for credit where students were entrusted to contact guests and sponsors, organize spaces for sessions and even to help choose the keynote speaker.
The workshop began with a performance from the university’s MIDI Band, where, as the band name suggests, all the students were using some sort of MIDI (musical instrument digital interface). The vocalist was using effects, the drummer was playing an electronic drum set and the keyboard was a MIDI keyboard.
The band was playing charming covers of classics of every genre, such as Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” while people filtered into the CMC (Convergent Media Center) and registered. The band’s director and self-described “MIDIot,” Paul Kavicky, was very enthusiastic about his role with the ensemble and the success of their performance.
After the performance, there was a small introduction and the sessions commenced. There were 12 sessions happening at once over a 45 minute period followed by those same sessions repeating again so people would have a chance to try and get to something they may have missed.
These presentations were spread across the CMC and the Conservatory, also encouraging guests to the university and event to explore more of the campus. These took place in studios and classrooms.
Notable sessions included one on lighting for live music by current student Cameron Friedman, one detailing the life of a music technology student by current students Madison Easton, Grace Kmiecik and Hope Kerr and another exploring the process of song production by alumnus Brian Skeel.
Along with the sessions, there were various booths in the lobby, including the university radio station, a vinyl vendor and even local store Guitar House Workshop, who was restringing guitars free of charge. The brothers of Phi Mu Alpha were also at the event selling food and beverages.
Following the morning sessions and a short meal break, Niel Schmitt, one of the music technology professors at the University, hosted the Music Tech Olympics.
The Music Tech Olympics were a lively event to highlight the talents of the students. The games included a very heated cable wrapping contest, where students attempted to wrap a 50 foot cable as quickly and as neatly as possible. In the music technology world, cable wrapping is highly important and something a burgeoning professional must be able to do efficiently in a very specific manner. The top three students won expensive prizes, such as monitors and headphones. The cable wrapping was followed by a rather obscure Kahoot!, which was also awarded with prizes.
Following the games, there were an additional two hours of sessions, some notable mentions include presentations by alumni Dan Messersmith and Gabe Rook on making samples in the software Logic Pro and expanding the reach of video game tournaments through the use of streaming.
Arguably the most important guest was keynote speaker Warren Huart. Huart is a musician and audio engineer, most famous for his recording of popular bands such as Aerosmith and The Fray, among many others.
Huart also boasts a successful YouTube channel, Produce Like A Pro, with over 700,000 subscribers. Huart frequently posts on the channel, doing tours of studios, reviews of products and talking about popular bands and artists throughout history.
In his keynote address, Huart told his life story over a two hour period, detailing how he grew and how he made the connections he did.
Andrew Dillman, a music technology student who attended the workshop, had a key takeaway from the keynote. “He [Huart] talked about how he got to work with some of the people who he did… and a lot of it was to keep trying.”
Another student, Eli Pitchford, expanded on the thought, “You hear it time and time again, it is all about networking and you never know who is gonna get you somewhere.”
Assistant Professor Chad Loughrige spoke on the importance of the event for the students. “I think it’s a huge event for them… it’s an incredible networking opportunity.
Loughrige also was able to share as to how the university was able to bring Huart to the Creative Arts Workshop.
The initial connection was made when fourth year music technology student David Rausch did an internship with Huart the previous summer and put him in contact with the university.
Loughrige was incredibly grateful to Haueisen Family Guest Artist Fund for making Huart’s visit possible through their donation, emphasizing how wonderful it was to work with him and how appreciative of the opportunity the entire department was.
Huart was incredibly impressed with the quality of the music technology department. Huart commented in an interview, “It’s [the department] easily comparable to any of the schools in LA, possibly even slightly better in many ways.”