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Inside the music studio: the nexus of technology and musicianship

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Inside the music studio: the nexus of technology and musicianship

Gabby Fischberg

Gabby Fischberg

Gabby Fischberg

Julia Robbins, Staff Writer

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Many students at school know how to play piano or guitar, but only a select number are learning how to merge music with the digital age. Upper Division music teacher Doug Epstein teaches students how to digitally create music in the Music Technology and Advanced Studio Production classes. 

Several students, including Arjun Swarup (12), said that Epstein is a great mentor and teacher. After completing the school’s two music production courses, Swarup now considers himself proficient in Pro Tools, the software that students use to produce music in class. 

“One of the great things about digital music production is that no matter what type of background you have, it’s really easy to get into it and get good at it,” he said. 

Studying music production has allowed Michael Truell (12) to integrate classical piano and computer technology, two of his favorite interests, he said. Truell often finds inspiration for his music production pieces from classical music that he has played before. 

Armand Dang (12) first became interested in music production after joining Glee Club in ninth grade. Dang is now in the Advanced Music Production class where he has been able to hone his production techniques and develop his knowledge of Pro Tools, he said. 

Jake Sanders (12) has enjoyed learning how the music he loves listening to is created, he said. 

Multiple students have applied skills learned in Music Production to other classes. Olivia Kester (11) used the knowledge she gained from Music Production to create an interpretive song for a creative project in English class. Sanders is using Pro Tools to create a cover of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” for his senior initiative project. 

The third trimester project for the first level Music Production class is a complete remake of the audio for the movie “The Princess Bride,” including a new musical score and voice overs for actors lines. 

By the end of their first year in class, students are able to independently run music sessions, Epstein said. Students are almost entirely self-sustained in music production by their time in the advanced class. 

Coming from a family of musicians, Epstein was raised playing music from an early age, playing the tonette and clarinet in elementary school and later learning the bassoon, baritone sax, and guitar. 

His early professional career included producing music for Sesame Street, the Macy’s Day Parade, and the Diet Coke rollout campaign of the 1980’s. With the founding of Doug Epstein Productions, Inc., came Grammy winning albums and award-winning advertising campaigns. 

Epstein helped build the school’s first digital studio center as an outside consultant in 1999 and then expanded it into the creative workshop it is today once he was hired in 2012 as a full-time teacher. 

“I had some great mentors and great teachers when I was coming up, and I’d like to be that for all these kids.” Epstein added that teaching has been a great way to pass down his experience to a new generation. 


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Inside the music studio: the nexus of technology and musicianship