Week 2: Out in The Field

The second week of my internship was different than usual because I was able to see aspects of music not only just in a generic studio space but also live in other areas firsthand. My adviser, Daniel, always stresses the importance of being broad-minded and getting out there both from a practical standpoint and an artistic one to gain new types of experience and inspiration. So, on a Tuesday afternoon, we packed the car, got dressed up, and went to church…

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The Cathedral

But this wasn’t just any church. This cathedral was hosting a concert for Jorge Luis Prats, a world-famous Cuban pianist with a passion for music, cigars, and culture. Daniel had been hired by the host to live record the performance, so we had to arrive 2 hours before to set up and test the equipment. He brought two special microphones called condenser mics, which are made specially to pick up detailed sound in instruments while recording, and paired them right above the opening of the piano to get a live pick-up of the music. Then, he had me guide the cables from the stand back to the table where we had the rest of the equipment set up. He brought a special device to control the levels of sound coming in from the mic and out to the recording on his computer, and we were able to hear everything through headsets.

On the Job

When the performance finally started, the music sounded great. Although it was coming out to the audience as a live performance, through the headphones it sounded like a studio-recorded song, I wasn’t exactly sure how he did it, but he said eventually he could teach me how to get a similar polished sound. I mostly observed and listened as Daniel made sure the levels stayed balanced and marked different parts in the recording by looking at the program and the pauses in the songs. It required a lot of patience, and steady attention, but in a way it was also very interesting to how live music was recorded as well.

The rest of the week was pretty chill. I had time to work on a few songs on my own, and then I went to see one of my friends perform at an annual showcase known as the Tucson Hip-Hop Festival. This was another opportunity for me to see music in a live setting, and also relevant to the music I was trying to make myself. The place was packed with artists, producers, DJs, entrepreneurs, and hip-hop fans of all ages, colors, and backgrounds. I stuck around for a couple hours and walked between a few of the events going on, and met some talented rappers in the Tucson music scene I hadn’t even known about. Everybody brought their own style and with it their own story. It also got me inspired for my own music and taught me some things about stage presence and live performance as I watched artist after artist dominate the stages.

Tucson Hip-Hop Festival

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