Campus Life

DAA Students learn from JUNO award-winning Mastering Engineer Graemme Brown

Digital Audio Arts (DAA) students and members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) student chapter had a recent opportunity to hear from and work one-on-one with JUNO award-winning mastering engineer Graemme Brown. Owner of Zen Mastering studio in Gabriola, B.C., Brown works with Canadian and international musicians, engineering a range of musical genres and audio formats with a strong expertise in mastering jazz and acoustic music.

Master engineer Graemme Brown, left, with Digital Audio Arts student Martin Suarez Tamayo.

“Graemme Brown provided an amazing experience that I didn’t expect to receive in my undergraduate degree,” says Carter Potts, DAA student and AES member. “His knowledge of the intricacies of music mastering, and his experience with the business aspects of the music industry are invaluable. He gave me expert feedback on how to further improve my work in order to be successful when I graduate from the Digital Audio Arts program.”

DAA faculty member, Dr. Amandine Pras, first met Brown at the Banff Centre in 2007, attending one of his master classes and then working with him to master the SACD Where is Pannonica? (Songlines, 2009) she produced in stereo and surround 5.0. She knew his experience and insight would be valuable and inspiring for students.

“Graeme presented to 27 students during his first session, discussing the business aspects and communication requirements of the profession of mastering engineer,” says Pras. “Another 18 students joined us for a second session where he went deeper into mastering techniques.”

Students also had the opportunity, through the AES, to meet one-on-one with Brown and work on mastering their own piece.

“The mastering sessions were fantastic,” says Nate Thomas-Wall, DAA student and AES member. “To be able to not only have my work mastered by someone with his experience, but to learn about mastering from him at the same time, was an opportunity that doesn't come around often. The man knows his stuff, and to listen to him talk about it is a privilege.”

Classmate Ryland Moranz agrees.

“To have an industry professional take part in theoretical classes as well as practical sessions expanding on important aspects of audio engineering was a rare opportunity,” says Moranz.  “The one-on-one time provided in the mastering sessions was particularly illuminating and inspiring as the art of mastering is one properly commanded by a skilled few.”

Another experiential learning opportunity is coming up at the end of the month, where DAA students will participate in an all-day symposium, Exploring Sound, in the University Recital Hall. Students will present on topics ranging from audio spatialization to video games. Dr. Adam Patrick Bell from Music Education at the University of Calgary will present a keynote entitled Music Technology, Design and Disability.