Music Proficiency

A Musician’s Engineer: Best practices for teaching music proficiency at formal audio recording and production programs in the USA

Music proficiency is an important part of audio recording and production (ARP) education and is an essential part of an aspiring recording engineer’s development. However, because music proficiency is not a well-defined concept in ARP programs, it has been delivered to students in a variety of ways via disparate materials and methods. Therefore, this paper asked educators from 25 different ARP programs in the USA to identify best practices for the inclusion and integration of music skills into formal ARP programs. Educator’s responses, collected via initial phone interviews and an online survey instrument, were analyzed via descriptive statistics and organized via an initial coding method. The educators reported that the integration of musical skills and proficiencies within coursework and assignments enabled them to enhance musical and technical skills simultaneously. Additionally, educators cited keys to improving and nurturing a student’s music proficiency: student ensembles, real-world exposure to performances, and higher-level coursework. Based on the best practices offered by the educators, this paper outlines the content for a music proficiency text specific for ARP students and educators as foundational material for course-learning objectives. Sections include (a) keyboard basics, (b) basic theory, (c) performance reporting, (d) music rehearsals, (e) technical ear training, (f) composition, and (g) genre specific techniques.