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You Said, We Did
We did: we carried out some improvements in the building, a new practice room for drummers, a new acoustically insulated large recording booth, a new lecture area with 25 seating places, projection screen and high-quality audio playback. More importantly, we have convinced the University to plan for a brand New Music Building, to replace Lindsay. The New Building will be located in the Horwood new development just opposite the Students’ Union. Building work will start in the summer 2017 and the opening is scheduled for September 2018. It will host two large lecture spaces which will double as rehearsal rooms for orchestras and bands, one ‘black-box’ multi-purpose recital room/theatre, one brand new recording studio, a practice room for drummers and one for rock bands
We did: we established links with the regional Music Hubs and organised various activities with them including Brass Workshops, Choir workshops and two forthcoming conferences for music teachers, in 2017. We created a new 2nd year module called Peripatetic Teaching which will be delivered in partnershp with Stoke and Staffordshire Music Service. It will be a work placement module and students who take it will work in local schools, alongside professional teachers. This addition to our curriculum will complement the existing Music in the Community module to form a mini study-path based on work placement in the local community.
You said: the recording studio in Lindsay sometimes suffers from noise pollution from the other rooms and installations in the complex.
We did: we purchased and installed a £9,000 large sound booth, which is connected to the recording studio and allows for very quiet recordings of vocals, acoustic instruments and even drums. Twelve microphone/line lines are directly patched to the digital mixing console in the control room. The new sound box was used in almost every demonstration in the first year Sound Recording module.
You said: we need to know where notation software is available.
We did: we published a list of workstations where Sibelius notation software is available. Those workstations are also now marked with the Sibelius logo.
You said: the class listening exercises in the Music Production modules are difficult because the acoustics of a lecture room is not conducive to detailed attentive listening.
We did: lecture rooms are notoriously inadequate for listening the sonic nuances of production techniques. Therefore, we made all music tracks available in our Music server so you can prepare before the lectures, listening to these tracks in our studios (with professional high quality loudspeakers) or in your own room, using headphones. This collection of tracks is a sort of ‘audio study-pack’ which you can take away with you, for free, for study purposes, as reference for production projects, and for essay writing.
You said: sometimes we cannot attend sessions of the Keele Music Forum on Wednesdays early afternoons because of sport fixtures, sports training or work commitments.
We did: Keele Music Forum meetings are now filmed and the videocasts are available in Studio1 for everyone to watch. This counts as ‘attendance’ to the Forum.
You said: we want the same type of high-end project studio used by our Postgraduate students.
We did: first, we opened up the use of the Postgraduate studio to a selected number of undergraduate students involved in particularly demanding projects. Now we are building a new facility in Studio 4, formerly a computer pool-room. The new Studio 4 will be equipped with state of the art hardware and software for sound design, composition, sound and music for the screen, mixing and mastering, multi-channel mixing and interactivity. It will be suitable for small recording project, Foley recordings and will feature a small green area at the back to welcome musicians, producers and engineers.
You said: we want a broader selection of musical instruments aside the collection of orchestral instruments.
We did: we acquired two drum-kits, one Fender steel-string electro-acoustic guitar, one Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, one Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth with exaphonic pickup, various hand percussions
You said: we want you to improve the recording studios and provide us with more recording and mixing options.
We did: we improved the acoustic response of our studio with installation of acoustic treatments and bass traps. We continued our programme of microphone purchases. Our already rich collection of microphones has been expanded to include two AKG C414 large diaphragm microphones, two Shure SM7B dynamic microphones, two Delta Sontronic Ribbon Microphones, one Shure Beta 91A kick drum microphone, four licenses of Toontrack Superior Drummer, one Akai MPD 226 (MIDI controller). We also expanded our provision of digital camcorders, purchased a GoPro Hero4 Black camcorder, two photographic LED panels and three additional Zoom H2n surround sound portable audio recorders.
You said: Music and Music Technology students cycling to the Clockhouse need a bike shelter.
We did: We are in negotiation with our Estates department to look into the construction of a bike shed. We are running into difficulties due to the strict regulations on the conservation area the Clockhouse is part of. We are doing everything we can to come to a solution.