Ever wonder who the creative genius behind one of your favorite musical hits is? Chances are it is an Audio Engineer. Audio Engineers make music presentable; they are technological masterminds with the ability to be creative. They are experts that know how to choose the perfect sound for the artist’s vision. Audio engineers are also highly in demand and our micropathway program is a fantastic opportunity if you have an interest in advancing your skill set in this area.
Most classes meet online with a few meeting in-person both On Campus at North Seattle College and Off Campus at the Jack Straw Cultural Center.
Courses for the Audio Engineering program are offered through Continuing Education and are non-credit.
- Introduction to Audio Basics
- Ear Training and Critical Listening
- Introduction to Music History
- Live Sound
- Introduction to Recording
- Mixing 101
- ProTools 101 & 1012 (DAW)
- Introduction to Post-Production (Winter 2023)
- Introduction to Ableton Live and Beatmaking
- Introduction to Analog Gear
- Mastering Workshop
- Building Your Portfolio (Spring 2023)
*Note class schedule may be subject to change
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of broadcast, sound, and video technicians is projected to grow 21 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
About 18,000 openings for broadcast, sound, and video technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
The median annual wage for broadcast, sound, and video technicians was $50,000 in May 2020.
Introduction to Audio Basics
Get an introductory overview of audio engineering, including the contributions of women and other underrepresented people in the industry, its core concepts, terminology, and practical application, as you apply the course material to your own work. The course will cover the basics of music production, recording, and audio post, as well as core technical and scientific concepts of audio that are applicable across all disciplines. You will get hands-on experience using professional level audio software to complete their assignments, demonstrations of course concepts at local recording studios, and presentations from industry professionals providing practical advice on building a career. At the end of the course, leave with a broad understanding of basic audio concepts and applications, your own unique work, and an idea of what to do next in order to further your audio career.
Ear Training and Critical Listening
Do you hear the music? Develop your ear for audio engineering: psychoacoustics of the critical listening environment; engineering techniques such as balance, panning, EQ, reverb, compression, delay and time-based effects; instrument identification; and stylistic comparisons of engineering and mix techniques. In-class listening analysis and concepts are reinforced through out-of-class critical listening assignments. This course is designed to teach you how to listen to music.
Introduction to Music History
This course trains students’ ears to listen to music critically. We will discuss prominent engineers in the field’s history as well as the artists who inspired them, the “sound” of various studios, and gear used to achieve award-winning songs. Most importantly, we will listen to music such as Otis Redding and Stax Records; Abbey Road and Led Zeplin; the “Motown” sound, SubPop Records and Egg Studio.
Learn the basics of working in a live sound venue: set up, console basics, signal flow, and troubleshooting by one of Allen & Heath’s leading engineers.
Introduction to Recording
Audio engineering is both a science and an art! This course teaches students how to operate a recording studio with the goal of recording a band. We will cover microphones and micing techniques, studio signal flow, outboard gear, mixing boards, and the creative choices that go into using them. This course takes place in a professional recording studio providing students with hands on experience! Class will be held at Earwig Studio, 4000 Wallingford Ave N. Class price includes cost of studio.
An introduction to mixing music with a focus on the basics of audio signal processing and its practical and creative applications; plug-ins; in the box vs. analog. We will be learning everything from building a session to achieving a final mix as we work with multitracks to build your portfolio.Textbook: Mix Like a Girl: The Handbook, by Caridad Espinosa 2021 ($20).
ProTools 101 & 1012 (DAW)
Whether you want to learn how to track, edit and mix professionally or just for fun, Pro Tools is the industry standard software for recording and mixing. Topics covered include common DAW (digital audio workstation) operation, audio editing, mixing, and session organization, all taught through the medium of music. Course will include audio ear training and frequency discrimination training.
Introduction to Post-Production
Learn how to edit podcasts, layer sound to film, and explore the creation of sound effects through the art of Foley. Post-production is exactly what it sounds like, everything that happens after initial production (or recording) is finished and the final syncing and magic touches are applied before a piece of work is released to the world.
Introduction to Ableton Live and Beatmaking
This course will introduce Ableton Live, the premier beatmaking DAW. Each student will be able to download an extended free trial of the software for this course, which will detail how to make your own drum grooves with an introduction to MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
Introduction to Analog Gear
This course will go over the plugin emulations of analog gear and discuss how the analog world relates to mixing in-the-box. We will be able to demonstrate outboard gear via visits to studios around Seattle and abroad via Zoom. Throughout the program, we will be hands-on with gear borrowed from instructors¿ personal collections as well as gear loaned to the program from established audio companies in order to learn how to work on a console alongside outboard gear. Dive into the wonderful world of analog signal processing, exploring the technical functioning and practical use of microphones, preamps, equalizers, and compressors. Learn the basics of electronic components and how to solder and repair.
Mastering can improve the quality of a music production and get it ready for commercial distribution for CD, TV, the Internet, video games, and more. Mastering is the final process in audio and music production. In this stage, we optimize the track's mix and final volume to get a professional result.
Building Your Portfolio
Students will be expected to present a demo, arrange, session plan, rehearse, record, and produce a final mixing project depending on emphasis: music, podcasting, film scoring, or post-production.
Meet our instructors
Angela Dane, Ph.D. is the author of 'Sabina Spielrein: The Woman and the Myth' (SUNY Press), a Gold Medal winner for Adult Nonfiction by Foreword Reviews. It chronicles the first female analyst in history, whose personal life was stigmatized for over eighty years.
Dane is a Women’s Studies professor, writer, poet, and musician, drummer, and editor for 'Tom Tom Magazine'. She is an international speaker in women’s history and was recently an invited guest to Sweden’s Ingmar Bergman Film Festival.
Lilian is a producer, engineer, and audio educator in the Seattle area. She specializes in studio recording, mixing, and helping artists achieve their musical dreams. She is a Staff Engineer at The Vera Project and is known as the rock and roll fairy godmother. Lilian looks forward to introducing audio engineering to new people and showcasing the contributions of women and other underrepresented populations in this industry.
Caridad Espinosa is a founder of Mix Like a Girl, the winner of the API Scholarship Prize and graduate of USFQ. She is a talented mix engineer, masterclass and workshop leader and known globally in audio circles for championing gender equality in the field.
Kate Falconer is a performer, educator, producer based in Seattle, WA. She is a Stranger Genius Award Nominee, a celebrated beat maker and producer, classical multi-instrumentalist and fierce performer at major festivals and venues across the Pacific Northwest. Working as a private instructor and teaching artist for almost 20 years has enabled Kate to share her love of music, audio and digital production with people of all ages. She is specifically interested in increasing access and knowledge for people who might otherwise not have the opportunity or confidence to explore new facets of their musical experience.
Leslie Gaston-Bird (AMPS, M.P.S.E.) is author of the book "Women in Audio", part of the AES Presents series and published by Focal Press (Routledge). She is a voting member of the Recording Academy. Currently, she is a freelance re-recording mixer and sound editor and owner of Mix Messiah Productions. Prior to that, she was a tenured Associate Professor of Recording Arts at the University of Colorado Denver (2005-2018) where she also served as Chair of the Department of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies. She led groups of Recording Arts students in study abroad courses in England, Germany, and Italy which included participation in AES Conventions.