Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Learning about sound with Dave

I have the pleasure of offering two distinctive pathways to learning about sound: the studio setting or live sound reproduction. Both courses are 8 weeks long, held one day per week at Browning Street Studios in West End. There are no prerequisites to either course besides a basic level of understanding English, and adequate hearing. The premises includes mobility impaired access and upon request, other accessibility issues will be considered.
Below are basic course outlines including the shared components .


Sound 101 (shared components)

Myths & debunking

  • Vintage gear is the best
  • Tape sounds better
  • x brand of soundcard sucks
  • Cubase / Protools sounds better
  • Monster Cables are the best
  • I need a custom guitar
  • Putting egg cartons on walls
  • we'll fix it in the mix
  • Born with "golden ears"
  • X brand mic is the best

Theory of Sound

  • Waveform / electrical AC
  • Introduction to psychoacoustics
  • Frequencies / measurement
  • Room acoustics / spatial awareness
  • How to trust your ears
  • Basic electronics
  • Reading a block diagram / schematics
Separate pathway choice: Live or Studio environment.

1. Learning about Live Sound

Equipment used
  • Cables and connections
  • Getting sound from source to amp
  • Mixer & signal pathway / routing
  • Microphone polar patterns
  • Speaker connections
Amp & reproduction
  • Live sound setup
  • Environmental factors
  • Basic mic techniques
  • Methods of amplification
  • Room acoustics
  • Concept of FOH / FB mixing
  • Level matching & using your ears
Common Live FX
  • Hardware EQ
  • Compressors
  • Delay / echo

Sound checks & running a desk
  • Level matching revisited
  • Tuning & further room acoustics
  • Cable management
  • DI / run from desk
  • Submixing

  • Hearing protection and health risks
  • Stage layout management
  • Basic electronics revisited (3phase power / amp bridging)
  • Maintaining equipment

Advanced Acoustics
  • Room acoustics revisited
  • Psychoacoustics re-visited
  • Re-addressing space for sonic reproduction
  • Advanced sound abatement techniques

Event Management
  • Planning Events
  • Correspondence with musicians
  • Running sheets & changeovers
  • Logistics (backline & equipment lists)
  • Risk Assessment

2. Learning about Studio Sound

Equipment used
  • Digital domain & analogue gear
  • Good monitoring speakers
  • DAW (Digital Audio Work Station)
  • Computer Hardware
  • Audio interfaces
Setting up a home studio
  • Room acoustics 101
  • Creating a workspace
  • Thinking hats / self delegation of tasks
  • Recording / monitoring space
  • Problem solving room tuning
  • Where to source gear / reviews / forums
Recording sound
  • Microphone choice and placement
  • Trusting your ears
  • Audio formats / saving digital information
  • VU / peak metering
  • Signal pathway / software choice
  • Frequencies revisited
  • Level matched mixing
  • Applying EQ to recorded takes
  • Monitors / head phones
  • Importance of treating a room (revisited)
  • Concept of reference mix
  • Hearing protection and health risks
  • Basic electronics revisited
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Listening fatigue
Common Studio FX
  • Hardware vs plug-in
  • Compressors
  • Delay / echo
  • EQ


Course Dates & times

Commencement date TBC. Please contact Dave for expressions of interest.


Contact, Enquiries & Enrolment.

Please contact Dave by either email (learn at or via Browning Street Studios on 07 3217 2266.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The lessons

One of the goals I hope to fulfil with each student is to teach the skills involved with musical composition. I’m delighted, and honoured, to be a mentor and help my students discover their instruments and their capabilities. We’ll learn the conventional, but never neglect the experimental and fun side of music. At the end of semester, I hope to have each student create and record their own original composition. This will be a wonderful affirmation and accomplishment to share and cherish.

My lessons are open to all ages.

I offer private or group lessons.

The lessons are tailored to suit you and / or your child’s learning.

I promise to try and make all lessons unique, engaging and fun.

In regards to saxophone & flute lessons; I’m happy to help guide students through the AMEB syllabus (or Trinity College), but please keep in mind that this is not the driving force behind my lessons. I’m more excited for my students to learn and discover just how wonderful their instruments are, not to be worried by the impending doom of an examination.

For lessons in audio engineering, my aim is to provide training that best suits your needs. If you’re looking for advice and help starting a digital audio workstation at home, I’d be delighted to offer unbiased advice, setup & ongoing training. If you wish to establish a skills base that adheres to industry standards, I can help with this too. The studio I offer teaching from (Browning Street Studios) is planning to become an RTO in 2011. In short, this means that qualified teachers like myself will be capable of offering nationally recognised training (think certificates and diplomas!). But even before we’re established as an RTO, you could still receive recognised prior learning for some studies undertaken in my classes.

Music Teachers Online - A directory of music lessons and music education services

A background track.

From early childhood, I’ve played saxophone, flute and piano. I’m indebted to my wonderful mother for her creative and unorthodox music teaching techniques. Her lessons never felt like reprimands or gruelling exercises; they did however focus on creative techniques, learning in a warm and nurturing environment and thinking laterally wherever possible. While some music teachers would always have a rule close by, to whack across the knuckles of frightened children, my mother was investigating cutting edge technology and taking her students into the outdoors to record organic sounds on portable tape to reel recorders.  These recordings would become the soundtrack for improvised music back in the classrooms and the creation of audio narratives.

I learnt from many different private music teachers throughout my life. My training on all instruments was from a classical background which over time grew into Jazz and freeform. I listened in awe to performers who were brave enough to challenge what music is and how it could be created and in turn began my own journey into sound art and experimental music.

My brilliant father introduced me to the fascinating world of electronics at a very young age. I remember as a child watching him create circuits and gadgets; devices that made lights flash and noises play. He took the time to share the creation of technology and later in life this inspired me to study audio engineering and digital composition. Looking back at the evolution of human to computer interfaces, it’s utterly amazing how much has grown and changed in this last half century. The flexibility of creation method, workflow, presentation and output modes are astounding.