Re: Sources & Curriculum

Subject: Re: Sources & Curriculum
From: Arne Eigenfeldt (
Date: Mon Nov 14 2005 - 00:27:13 EST

On Nov 13, 2005, at 9:03 PM, Kevin Austin wrote:

> If the program has 65 students, the absolute minimum is 4 sound
> modules and 2 robust monitoring facilities. At the next level,
> there would need to be one 'superlative' mixing / mastering studio.
> This gives a number of about 7 studios for every 65 - 70 students;
> approximately one 'studio' for every ten students. A program with
> 120 students requires 12 rooms.

At SFU, we seem to be undergoing a change in how students use our

We have a teaching lab, with 14 computers. The lab is used as a
teaching facility only 9 hours a week, the rest of the time open for
student use. Each computer is used for email, web browsing, notation
(both Finale and Sibelius), ProTools (Mboxes), and Max/MSP - a
nightmare of maintenance for our media technician!

We also have three small workstation rooms, with fairly high quality
monitoring. The computers in these rooms have all the necessary
hardware and software for our courses.

Lastly, we have one high quality studio with multichannel diffusion
and our best computer, used by our upper level classes.

Formerly, the students in our large (circa 70 student) introductory
EA classes would receive a two hour private time in the workstation
rooms. The class size was limited by the useable hours in the day
times the number of labs.

As the quality and quantity of computers in the general lab
increased, students now seem to prefer working there (with
headphones), or at home. This has got to the point were the
individual workstation labs are almost unused. The students seem to
like working side by side, sharing problems and/or ideas, which I
think is great.

Of course, I encourage them to use the workstation rooms for the
monitoring capabilities, and try to make this as painless as
possible, but the students seem hesitant to switch computers (they
tend to always gravitate towards the very same lab computers for
their work).

We are now at the point of taking Max/MSP licences off the
workstation rooms, and putting them on our lab computers.

I'm beginning to feel that at the introductory level, proper
monitoring is less important than making the students comfortable
with their tools. In the past, I know that many students found it
very daunting to be placed alone in front of a computer using tools
they had never before used.

a r n e e i g e n f e l d t , DM
assistant professor, music and technology
school for the contemporary arts, simon fraser university

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