The Glenn Korff School of Music offers a music technology minor to any student searching for a wide range of skills in the growing field. These skills include a knowledge of music recording and production, the creation of music using different technological tools and developing and understanding how music connects with other forms of art through technology.
Tom Larson, an assistant professor of composition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, works extensively with emerging media and digital arts. Larson believes understanding technology is an essential skill for anyone looking to have a career in music.
“We’re really seeing the dawning of a new age of music students,” Larson said. “It used to be you could focus in on being the best clarinet player that you could be. You can’t do that anymore, you have to be savvy with the technology.”
Larson teaches multiples courses at UNL designed to help students understand the vast intricacies of music technology and how to effectively use it.
One class, Foundations of Audio Recording and Production, aims to do just that. Jackson Costello, a senior accounting major at UNL, completed both Foundations of Audio Recording and Production and the advanced class, and said it helped him understand the importance of technology within music.
“You have to be very in tune with the technology to have a recording sound how you want it to,” Costello said. “It also opens up a bunch of possibilities and ideas you wouldn’t have thought of without the technology.”
Now, Larson said, anyone can record, mix and master a solid copy of their music from the comfort of their home.
“People are recording albums in their bedrooms,” Larson said.
Another class Larson teaches is Film Scoring and Creative Sound Design. According to Larson, this class teaches both music production skills alongside creative techniques within the framework of writing music for film.
“The thing I like about these classes is they attract kids that think outside the box and are really creative,” Larson said. “You get a type of student that really loves exploring and working with the technology.”
Other classes connected with the music technology minor include Computational Creativity and Digital Video Production, both of which aim to connect all forms of art with technology.
“The future of [the music technology program] is to collaborate as much as possible,” Larson said. “I really think that the goal we are all striving for is to be as collaborative as possible.”
According to Larson, for musicians and composers looking to get the most out of their craft, an understanding of different technological tools is imperative. Larson said UNL understands this well, and will continue to expand the program in the coming years.
“There’s a whole new skillset of what music students need to learn,” Larson said. “It’s my mission to make the ones that don’t realize this yet, realize it.”