NYUAD - AVID Learning Partner


Music & Creative Industries - Pro Tools

“It’s not just the technology, it’s what do you do with that technology that really counts. One can’t live without the other.”

Technology has changed the way music has been recorded, produced, performed, and distributed. With the advent of new technologies, in music, post production for film and video games, the need of highly trained software engineers is an aspect of the industry that is constantly growing. The shift from the analog domain to the digital, requires a new way or rethinking audio and technology. New figures started to appear in the industry such as the Pro Tools engineer, sound editor, re-recording mixer, sound designer and many more. The constant demand of music for all kinds of purposes is growing and so are the revenues from it. Businesses and consumers need more music every day. In order to supply this enormous amount of music, the industry needs highly trained professionals with strong foundations in music technology and software based knowledge along with extensive practice. University-wide in the world, there is no formal curriculum for Pro Tools courses. But what’s Pro Tools? Pro Tools is a Digital Audio Workstation developed and released by Avid technology. Pro Tools is the most widely used application for music and post-production (sound for film, video, and multimedia) in the world today, integrating capabilities in audio and MIDI recording, composition, editing, and mixing, as well as support for desktop video. As such, Pro Tools software empowers both music and post-production professionals to easily achieve all of their production tasks within one easy-to-use interface. An analogy can be made as Pro Tools isa sort of universal language spoken by professional the Industry.

Courtesy of Avid Technology. Mixing a Broadway Musical in Pro Tools

Courtesy of Avid Technology. Mixing a Broadway Musical in Pro Tools

At NYUAD, in the Music Program, we intend to shed some light on possible solutions and guidelines that can be used in order to achieve a higher awareness on how to implement Pro Tools knowledge base successfully in a university’s curriculum. Constructivist teaching methods and students’ centric inquiry based learning approach are used to enhance the learning experience and insure adequate content absorption. 

The audio professionals currently working in the industry grew with it and most of them were transitioning professionals who came from other audio related industries. Nowadays the hiring trend has been kept but as the tools for creation become more widely available we see a rising interest in students across the globe to get acquainted with this medium.  There is a pressing need to integrate and study this new interactive way of teaching Pro Tools across interdisciplinary subjects from music applications, to post production for film and video games to live scenarios. 

Fundamentals of Digital Audio – Intro to Pro Tools Lab

Fundamentals of Digital Audio – Intro to Pro Tools Lab

In the vast majority of universities worldwide there is no formal Pro Tools software curriculum. What is taught comes borrowed from traditional non-linear sound design techniques and its conventional digital audio workstations. However, at NYUAD we have a great AVID Pro Tools Certification course currently being delivered in a class called Fundamentals of Digital Audio, (generally taught in the Spring) that focus on learning and practicing from music, to post production for film and game audio applications, which provide a very intense and focused training for all those students that aim to work in the Industry. The newly minted Assistant Professor of Practice of Music Technology Matteo Marciano, who today is a Pro Tools Certified Instructor and Assistant Head of Music at NYUAD, in 2017 made an international partnership between AVID (world leading companyin the production of software and hardware for the acquisition, creation, modification and distribution of digital media) and New York University Abu Dhabi, making NYUAD the only Avid Learning Partner in the UAE, and the only University offering a Pro Tools Certification course as part of a class.Since then, the course called Fundamentals of Digital Audio – Introduction to Pro Tools (FDA) has a useful part of the University’s curriculum. Students who complete this course will have the knowledge to take the Pro Tools User Certification Exam. As an Avid Certified Instructor ACI, Professor Marciano is able to facilitate the taking of this exam, which will occur independently from the grade of the course. The Pro Tools User Certification Exam is completely optional. One of the goals of this extra-exam is to attest proficiency with this software; therefore, students that successfully pass it will receive an Avid User Certification Diploma, which lately is been a "requirement to have” in order to apply to any major company in the industry. Last spring 2018, the NYUAD Music Program had its first Pro Tools Certified class, enrolled in FDA which successfully passed the Pro Tools User Exam. Some of the students enrolled in it started a very productive internship during the summer in a post-production facility, and in recording studios.  The class is designed to bring everyone on board and provide students a taste of all disciplines across the entire sound spectrum in order to make students from all majors interact and learn from each other in constructivist way. Students will absorb all the basic concepts and be exposed to the intricacies of working at very complex level using Pro Tools. It is obviously important to be proficient with Pro Tools as main Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and understand how to effectively and creatively work with sound effects, and very complex sessions.Some may wonder, what’s the value for a Pro Tools Certification? Becoming an Avid Certified User for Pro Tools verifies that students possess a fundamental understanding and the capability to use Avid Pro Tools to engineer a project through to completion, with all of the fundamental operational skills to record, edit, mix and output the finished session.

Becoming an Avid Certified User for Pro Tools allows students to: 

·      Demonstrate fundamental competency in digital audio editing and mixing with Avid Pro Tools 

·      Provide measurable benefits to future employer

·      Make students’ résumé stand out and leverage the power of the Avid brand 

·      Prove your credentials with a Certificate of Achievement

Avid Certification level 100 (User)

Avid Certification level 100 (User)

There are in fact a number of very important reasons why a student should gain this extra certification while focusing on the music technology side of their studies.

First of all it’s an organized specific process in which students go through a curriculum that’s already been laid out that pretty guarantees that students are going to cover essential material at a certain level of skills.

Professionally speaking if a student is seeking to pursue a career in the audio industry, that will largely involve using Pro Tools, which is going to be very luckily the case in any professional studio or post production facility in the world.

Pro Tools is the standard platform in professional studios around the world, so it is pretty sure that future employers are going to be very pleased to know that a strong background knowledge and practice are part of the applicant’s résumé.

There is nothing that can tell more explicitly that someone knows how to use such a complex software than having a Pro Tools Certificate.

Employers, recording studios are aware of what having a Pro Tools Certification means, and this can certainly be a value. When dealing with many companies hosting interns, we constantly hear owners express how these skills are lacking and how important it is to possess it in order to survive day- to-day life in the industry. Even though internships are useful, I think the industry environment should be recreated in academia from day one. 

In my Music Technology courses, I support customizable learning outcomes and promote an inquiry-based learning approach.  In class I try to recreate daily the pressure felt in the industry and materialize it through unforeseen deadlines, surprise studio breakdown simulations, and troubleshooting. In class I try to share information on interpersonal psychology management to help students cope with the industry’s reality and prepare them for an unusual style of professional and social cooperation. This will automatically help improving soft skills, which most students lack when exposed to traditional forms of education. We keep forgetting that soft skills are the key to success in an Industry, which is heavily based on people and their successful interactions. 

music technology

To conclude, the purpose of audio education is arguably more important than it has ever been. In a post-digital economic environment where audio visual communication, broadcast, and entertainment is so prevalent, the need for graduates that have relevant skills, knowledge, and abilities with sound and audio is constantly growing. The Music Program at NYUAD offers student a very focused curriculum on Music Technology.