The Florida Tech music program knows how to put the “A” in “STEAM.”
Through the Artist in Residence program, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Music Programs, Dr. Kevin Burke, has helped record and produce three artist CDs. Christian Tamburr recorded and released his albums, “Voyage” and “People Talk,” and Paul Anquez released his album, “Rivers.” But when Alice Lestang, a soprano from the Paris Conservatory wanted to record her debut album with pianist Romain Louveau, Burke decided to try something a little different.
“Alice Lestang, of course, wanted to follow in the tradition and this time, having learned the process myself first hand,” Burke said, “I was able to build in some components to give students an active learning experience.”
Burke solicited help from Dr. YJ Sohn’s communications class to develop artwork for the CD. Abeer Janakat, Ebube Ubochi, Jordan Symonds and Lindsay Isaac all submitted artwork using photos taken by Sohn. Lestang and Louveau chose Isaac’s design.
“Once I saw the photography and I had materials to work with, I was really inspired,” Isaac said. “I ended up extracting different elements from the photographs and blending them to create a collage aesthetic.”
Burke also contacted Florida Tech music minors and other participants in the music program. Connor Mahoney and Tatjana Jemmott volunteered to assist with processing and submitting the audio mixes and master files, to learn more about the CD production process.
“I’m very interested in the music business and will probably be releasing my own record project soon, so I jumped at the chance to get some experience,” Mahoney said.
Not only did the students get to learn the technical elements of design and production of a CD, but they had the opportunity to work with professionals in the business to produce a real, final product available for sale to the public.
“I certainly learned a lot about the process of producing, copywriting and licensing a new recording, which is why I wanted to help,” Mahoney said. “I am grateful that the school offers opportunities such as these.”
The Lestang CD project was such a success, Burke hopes to continue to expand student involvement in the future.
“The music program is open to all students at FIT,” Burke said. “We are not a closed conservatory. So we endeavor to bring courses and experiences to all types of musicians from novice to advanced.”
Although music and the arts in general are not the first programs that come to mind, when you think of a tech school, more STEM students are adding the arts to their curriculum.
“I think music and the arts should be elements of a well-rounded education, whether or not it’s directly related to the tech/STEM fields,” Mahoney said. “There’s a lot of research that ties the study of music to greater brain development. We’re not brains in a vat. Artistic expression is important.”
The Lestang and Louveau CD is available online, but the Florida Tech community is encouraged to purchase a copy on campus where all the proceeds go to the Florida Tech music program. You can contact the School of Arts and Communication Office at 321-674-8082 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. CDs are $15 and $10 for Florida Tech students, faculty and staff.
“To hold a product that started out as a concept and evolved from something that abstract and imperceivable into pixels on a screen and then into a CD which could be held, seen, heard and distributed, was such a novel and intriguing experience for me,” Isaac said. “I loved working on the project, and I am really excited with the outcome.”