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McNally Smith’s Tech Instructors Go To School

Five of McNally Smith’s Tech Departmentinstructors recently attended a week-long training session with Digidesign’s top trainers.  Christopher Blood, Scott Malchow, Sheldon Kessel, and Chopper Black studied from Saturday to Friday, while Ricardo Ehramjian joined the group on the last two days.  “The training will bring three more of our instructors to ProTools certification level and four instructors to Icon certification level” commented Bryan Forrester, Chair of Music Technology.  Having more certified instructors will allow McNally Smith to expand its ProTools training and certification courses.

Digidesign’s ProTools is the industry-standard digital audio workstation used by more audio professionals than any other solution.  The Icon worksurfaces are one of Digidesign’s newest products and help ease workflow by placing all the most used computer commands right at your fingertips, in addition to making automated mixing more convenient by providing faders to control volumes rather than using a mouse.

Digidesign provided two of its top trainers for this special session, Frank Cook and Rob Campbell.  This was an especially unique opportunity, as it turns out, because both Frank and Rob were the authors of the textbooks used for the coursework.  “These guys really know their stuff”, said Christopher Blood, a long time ProTools user.  “I’m amazed at how much more there is to ProTools than I ever knew and I’ve been using it forever!”

The rigors of the course began to take its toll after a few days.  Because of schedule restrictions, a course that could sometimes take a few weeks to complete was compacted into just seven days of very intense study.  The students were even required to do homework on most evenings to be able to keep up the frantic pace. “It’s always great to discover new features and see new ways to work in Pro Tools.

There is always something new to learn!” said Scott Malchow.  Scott has been using ProTools since its creation back in the 1980’s and still found the training challenging and worthwhile.

Sheldon Kessel is McNally Smith’s primary MIDI instructor “I’ve always found ProTools a little clunky for creative work beyond recording and mixing audio, so I’m very excited about the path Digidesign is taking to make it friendlier to producers.”  Sheldon is a DJ in his other life and has typically been using other platforms for his music creations.  The decision was made to incorporate ProTools in McNally Smith’s entry-level MIDI and Intro to Technology courses.

Ricardo Ehramjian, previously certified in ProTools, joined the group for the Icon level training.  “The training helped confirm that we are indeed teaching our students the right stuff about the Icons”, said Ricardo.  All of McNally Smith’s Production and Technology students spend a semester learning how to use the worksurfaces in Mix Lab II.

Chopper Black became a certified ProTools user over two years ago when another large group of instructors took a similar class.  “This is so much deeper than before” claimed Chopper, “either that or I forgot most of it”, he said with that big grin of his.  “I’m so glad I decided to audit this course again because now I rock on ProTools!”