An Ohio University School of Media Arts & Studies professor earlier this month took five students to New York City for a three-day mixing master-class with legendary seven-time Grammy-winning mixing engineer Michael Brauer.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that Michael is one of the most accomplished and in-demand mixing engineers in the music industry right now,” professor Josh Antonuccio said in a prepared release. “He has pushed creative boundaries at every turn and has had a hand in mixing thousands of albums with many of the biggest artists of our generation.”
For OU students to have the opportunity to learn directly from Brauer in such an intimate and personal environment, Antonuccio said, “was a priceless experience, one that fundamentally changed their approach to producing music for the rest of their lives.”
Brauer has spent over four decades bringing artists to life in the studio. He got his start in R&B production, mixing musical royalty including Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and James Brown. From there, the release said, he has worked with a vast collection of storied artists including Coldplay (three albums, with seminal releases such as “Parachutes” and the nine-times platinum “Viva La Vida”), John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, the Rolling Stones, James Bay, Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Bon Jovi and Grizzly Bear, among many others.
Over the course of the three-day experience in his Manhattan studio, the release said, Brauer helped students guide their individual approach and workflow to the music mixing process, allowing students to practice their mixing skills on tracks that he previously had released. Additionally, students brought in their own songs produced in the OU Music Production program, which Brauer mixed alongside of them, demonstrating the potential of their songs when the right mix approach is used.
In the release, the OU student participants talked about the experience and the impact on their work as mixing engineers. “This was the best ever,” MDIA student Matt Dugan said in the release. “My biggest takeaway from our weekend with Michael Brauer is the fact that mixing should be treated as if you are playing an instrument. Mix towards a feeling and keep moving forward or else you will over-think every decision.”
Brick City Records Production Supervisor Zal Colah, an MDIA student, noted in the release that it’s “hard to describe a surreal three days in a few sentences. Intimate studio sessions with my classmates made me closer to them on a deep emotional level and gave me a lot of confidence for my career ahead.”
In addition to working with Brauer, the release said that students also enjoyed other industry experiences in NYC, including an exclusive on-set tour of “Saturday Night Live” at NBC Studios, and a tour and discussion with staff at SONY records, culminating in a demonstration of their new immersive music format in development.
The NYC master-class course is a part of the OU School of Media Arts & Studies Masterclass Series, a partnership with the Office of Global Opportunities that provides experiential place-based education for students in the music industry, according to the release. Next month, another group of students will go to Austin, Texas, to work with Spoon’s Jim Eno at his studio for a week-long production course.
The School of Media Arts & Studies offers a host of place-based industry courses, including the annual SXSW course in Austin, the OHIO-in-LA program & the summer Music Industry Masterclass at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, the release said.