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Music and comp technology classes get a makeover

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CSU-Pueblo muisc and comp technology students will have thier hands on equipment like this soon. Photo courtesy of New York University.
The Colorado State University-Pueblo music and comp tech classes are preparing for new changes for the 2013 spring semester.

The proposal for upgrades has been approved, and the classroom will be receiving approximately $3,000 in equipment and software upgrades.

The tech program had suffered for the last decade, since the retirement of Michael Beck due to funding issues, said Bret Gathercoal, instructor of the program.

Beck built a technology program that was up to date with the latest notation and audio editing software. He presided over the installation of the piano lab, and he acquired quite a bit of, at the time, cutting-edge MIDI technology.

Before Gathercoal started planning for his classes, he gathered the technical equipment in order to evaluate their capabilities and found 10-year-old equipment, which is now considered ancient.

The classes had been functional during the previous year, but needed to rely on the students using their private equipment in order to develop live records of the off campus jazz band performances.

“If we are going to have a serious tech program, and if we want to compete for students with other regional universities like Adams State, we would need a lot of updating to our music software,” said Gathercoal.

In order for the upgrades to be made, Gathercoal applied for a portion of the university’s Student Technology Fee money, which comes from fees charged to every student enrolled at CSU-Pueblo.

When Gathercoal received notice that his proposal had been approved, and the program would be getting around $3,000 in equipment and software upgrades, he began coordinating with the Information Technology Services department for the purchase of updating Finale 2012 notation software, which is used to help musicians compose their music projects.

He also purchased an eight channel recording interface that came bundled with the Pro Tools audio software, and the software will be available on every student workstation in the department.
“This will allow our students to work with the industry-standard application for all things audio,” Gathercoal said.

Pro Tools is used by nearly every major recording studio, and Pro Tools-equipped engineers and producers have won numerous Grammy awards for their Pro Tools recordings.

For the last two years, almost every best album and best song nominee has been produced on the very platform that CSU-Pueblo students will be working on their own audio projects, said Gathercoal

“As far as I have been able to determine, CSU-Pueblo will be one of only three universities in Colorado equipped with Pro Tools,” Gathercoal said.

Amanda Kuhns, junior music major, said she is happy about the upgrades and looks forward to using the new tools made available to help her with her classes.

“Students who gain significant undergraduate experience using the Pro Tools platform will have an advantage over students whose schools were not able to afford them that opportunity,” Gathercoal said. “It is here where I think CSU-Pueblo can really stand out among the other universities in Colorado.”

Gathercoal is hopeful that in the future, the music department will have a degree with a concentration in music production and electronic music offered at CSU-P, he said.

Kunhs said she would be interested in pursuing a music technology degree if it were offered at the school, and believes having a degree of this nature would help gain more music driven students to our university.