Music Technology
MUS 275-001 Spring 2008 Jan 22, 2010 - May 07, 2010

Encompasses using computer hardware, software and electronics to create and record music. Using these skills the student will produce and record two songs.

Prerequisite(s):Basic keyboarding and some knowledge of Mac OSX operating system. Plus an interest in music or a musical background

Class Location: B0907 Multimedia Graphics Lab
Front Range Community College: Westminster Campus

Class Meets: Friday 1pm until 4pm

Instructor: Jay Shaffer ••• 303 875-3958

Office Hours: Fri 12noon-1pm B907

Class Website:

Textbooks:  Recommended but not required:

Mastering Digital Audio Production: The Professional Music Workflow with Mac OS X by Cliff Truesdell -Publisher: Sybex; Pap/DVD edition (April 2, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0470102594

Apple Pro Training Series: Logic Pro 8 and Logic Express 8
By David Nahmani ISBN-10: 0-321-50292-2

Materials Needed a 4GB or larger Flash Drive or an external hard drive for storing and transporting files and projects, and a set of high quality headphones.

Important Dates: The final day you can drop this class with a refund is Feb. 03, 2008 and the final day you can drop this class without a grade penalty is Apr. 19, 2008 (no refund).
SPRING BREAK 2010 March 22 - 28  No Classes 


Class Objective: The aim of this class is to have you understand the principles of creating and recording music using current technology. At the conclusion of the class you should be able to use the computer to make and record music and have a general understanding of what music software can do for you.

Everyone brings a different background and experience to the class and you are expected to help each other by sharing your knowledge with others. The material covered in this class might vary somewhat from the following schedule. It will be adjusted at times depending on conditions and where we are as a group in our collective experience.

Course requirements: Grading Rubric:

Class lab exercises will be graded on tool techniques.
Projects: You are required to present two projects.
            1. A 2- to 4-min. piece of music using Audio Loops and or MIDI
Due at the beginning of Session #7 March 4
            2. A 2- to 4-min. piece of music using recorded sound
Due at the beginning of Session #14 April 29

Class time will be divided into approximately half lecture and half lab time
Your grade will be based on these projects and your class participation in a variety of lab exercises in each session.


Project deadlines are absolute, except in extremely extraordinary circumstances (Hospitalization, death in the family, eminent destruction of the planet,... you get the idea.)

 Group critiques are meant to be learning experiences for all students. Students must be willing to accept criticism as part of the creative process. It is
equally important to be able to give criticism in a positive and helpful manner. If there are special circumstances that need to be taken into consideration, please discuss that with me in private prior to any critique.

Semester Grade Rubric:
Class Attendance: 30%
Participation and completion of class lab exercises: 20%
Assignment 1: 25%
Assignment 2: 25%

Grading Scale A=90-100   B= 80-89   C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F=under 60

Session 1


Syllabus and announcements What is a Digital Audio Workstation, What is GarageBand? • GarageBand demonstration • Using OSX

Session 2


The interface• What Are Apple Loops? • Starting a song • Using the Loop Browser • Project 1 assignment

Session 3


Adding and modifying loops • What are Tracks • Adjusting track and song volumes Loop manipulation • Building a loop based song.

Session 4


Introduction to MIDI • Software Instruments • The onscreen keyboard • Using a MIDI keyboard.

Session 5


- Recording a Software Instrument track • Editing a Software instrument track Editing Software Instruments

Session 6


Building a Software instrument/MIDI song

Session 7


Project 1 due - Project 1 critique• Assign Project 2

Session 8


The Digital Audio Signal Chain

Session 9


Setting up the computer for recording • Hooking up a guitar• Hooking up a microphone. Real Instruments and effects

Spring Break



Session 10


Recording an audio track • Real Instrument track editing

Session 11


Editing and mixing your music

Session 12


Exporting your music• Using your music with other applications

Session 13


Advanced techniques- making instruments. • Advanced techniques- making Apple Loops. Punch ins Multi-Takes

Session 14


Project 2 due - Project 2 critique.

Session 15


Sharing your music • • Careers • Contracts • Copyrights and Creative Commons• Class CD/Mp3.

Class Policies:
Important concepts will be presented in each class to help you understand this complex subject. If for some reason you need to miss a class, it is important that you “catch-up” on your own. I suggest you team up with a couple of class members who will help you if you need to miss a class.

You are expected to use only the provided royalty-free music loops and samples deemed by the instructor as not being a copyright infraction.
No food or drink is allowed in the classroom. There will be at least  a five minute break per hour of class.
 Cell phones must be silenced! Texting during lecture time is discourteous to the class and the instructor. If I think you are texting, it will hurt the  class participation portion of your grade and I may ask you to leave the classroom for the remainder of the session.

Plagiarism: Although in this class, the use of other’s material is allowed and expected from time to time (royalty-free licensed  video, music and sound effects), there should be no plagiarism when producing final work or presenting one’s own ideas.  If you have a question, talk to me for clarification as to what is allowed for educational use in a Multimedia classroom or refer to the Front Range catalog where it states:

The Humanities Department strives for academic excellence and encourages all students to achieve their best. Moreover, the department promotes academic honesty and does not tolerate cheating or plagiarism. Cheating is defined as the practice of fraud or trickery, to violate rules dishonestly and to act deceivingly. Plagiarism is defined as presenting ideas or words of another as one’s own. As a college student it is your responsibility to fully understand the concepts of cheating and plagiarism. Instructors are always available to clarify for students the exact definition of cheating and plagiarism. Failure to understand these concepts does not excuse you from potential reprimand. According to Front Range Community College policy, consequences of cheating or plagiarism can result in an F on the assignment or exam, an F in the course, and/or dismissal from Front Range Community College.

In this class it means dismissal from the class and an automatic F.

Students with Special Needs:
Any student who requires accommodations because of a physical, learning, psychiatric, vision or hearing disability must contact the instructor and the Special Services office (303-404-5302) at the beginning of the semester. After the student has documented their disability with Special Services, please make an appointment with the instructor to discuss the accommodations.


NOTE: A list of private (those that are not free) tutors will gladly be provided to those who do not qualify for free tutoring services, or who wish to hire their own tutor.
How do I Qualify for Free Tutoring?
  1. Meet the prerequisites for the course for which you are requesting assistance or have assessment scores indicating you should be in that class.
   2. Be attending class regularly, including logging on, participating, and submitting assignments for online courses.
   3. Be getting a C or below in the class for which you are requesting assistance.
   4. Have attempted other resources for help, i.e. Learning Development Center, Math Lab.
How do I Request a Tutor?
  1. Download, complete and sign the Referral for Tutoring form.
   2.  Ask your instructor to sign this form. A tutor cannot be assigned without the instructor's signature.
   3. Those on the Westminster Campus may leave these forms in the red folder outside room B1208. Students at other campuses may arrange, at the front desk, to have them faxed or sent via intercampus mail to Special Services .
   4. You will be contacted by phone with several tutors' names and telephone numbers. If a message cannot be relayed via phone, then it is the student's responsibility to make other arrangements to get the information. For students at Boulder County campuses and the Brighton Center, the instructor will be contacted and given tutor names and phone numbers. Those students may then obtain the tutor list from their instructors. Call the numbers you have been given and discuss scheduling tutoring times. If times can't be worked out, call the Tutoring Office.


This syllabus is subject to changes as the semester goes along.