Amarillo College offers many options for degree programs: almost everything to choose from. But Scott Beckett, a music instructor, is pioneering a new degree that would bring recording arts to the foreground as the premier program at AC.
“We are in the process of creating a degree program,” Beckett said. “In order for us to officially launch this program, we have to have five years of tracking. In another two years, it will be a full program.”
Even though the program is in the beginning stages and isn’t full accredited yet, the students who are helping make it a reality are not learning anything less than they would be when the program is fully realized.
“That doesn’t mean the students are getting any less right now,” he said.
“Every week we’ve gone over different facets of editing, from the drums to bass to the rest of the guitars to the vocals,” said Zeus Hernandez, a business major.
“I guess you could call our class the guinea pigs,” said Josh Blashill, a trumpet performance major. “The class that we’re doing now is going to be the same exact class once they’re certified.”
The only real difference between what is being done now and what will be done is that future students will be able to take the certification tests through the college.
“Everything we’ve learned, we could go take that test elsewhere,” he said.
The full program will cover every part of the business. Beckett wants the students to be able to do everything themselves and run any type of equipment that jobs will throw at them.
“There are a lot of different applications,” Beckett said. “Part of the studio and recording arts program is learning about recording and how audio gets into computers and how to manipulate it.”
Another part of the business that students do not usually think about when considering recording arts is the assembly of equipment.
“Students also learn how to make cabling. I take them through the process of making microphones. So they get that end of the business also.”
Hands-on-learning is a big part of the students learning process. There seems to be a side to recording that can only be learned by doing.
“Sometimes it’s a little more hands on than you would even like, because you don’t even know what you’re doing yet,” Hernandez.
“My church [Tascosa Road Fellowship] is a partner with AC,” said Beckett. “We have two internships that are paid by the church. They come and run sound on Sunday mornings. It’s great for students, because they’re learning. Most studio learning environments, as they intern they get paid zero to get coffee and to mop floors and clean bathrooms. They don’t get to do any of this stuff. With my internship, you’re actually doing live sound.”
The recent renovation of the Music Building did not halt the growth of the program but has helped to propel the new program forward. Without all of the new equipment and reconstruction of the rooms the program would not accomplish what Beckett expects from it.
“As we were doing the building renovation, I had already done one year of the recording arts program, as kind of a beta test. During the renovation we were in our second year and we were thinking through all of the stuff and how to make it happen. The third year of this program we’ve moved back into this building and finishing up all the installs. So next year, we’re going full tilt live ready to go.”
There is a need in the community for a program like this. AC filters out so many students into the Amarillo workforce and this was an area that was lacking new knowledgeable entrees.
“There’s a need that’s there that wasn’t being met,” said Beckett.
“There’s a lot of interest and a lot of people don’t even know they’re offering it right now,” Blashill said. “For those people who are studying music or who are music majors, weather or they go into performance of teaching they’re going to have to be able to know how to record. It gives us an opportunity to learn a new skill that will help us find jobs later and become more valuable to our employers.”
“I think it’s going to help broaden the horizons. Amarillo is not known for its music scene so there are a lot of people that have those aspirations. It will help blossom some sort of music scene.” Hernandez said. “It’s definitely a positive to have something like that at AC.”
Not only will this program help Amarillo as a city, but also AC. Beckett’s hope is to connect departments at AC and use “collaborative learning”; having students do projects such as voice overs for the TV station and music syncing for the film program.
With two more years to go before the degree program will be officially certified, the exemplary standards already upheld by the fledgling program will only grow and possibly become one of the most outstanding programs at AC.
Beckett said that you could make a career out of this degree and it is something worth looking into.