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  • Austin Warren

Electronic Music Minor to be available in Fall 2024

Students with a cross-sectional interest in music and computer technology will be thrilled to hear about a new minor available in the Fall 2024 semester—the Electronic Music Minor.

Cemented in pre-existing courses spread out across four departments, the Electronic Music Minor will offer a broad array of skills for students to learn and master: music composition, computer technology and systems, an understanding of electronics, and broadcasting capabilities. Thus, the core courses will be based in the Music, Computer Science, ETAD, and Communication departments.


The minor will be available to all students regardless of major, and the applied lessons needed for the minor shouldn’t interfere with enrollment in other courses, as they are scheduled around other classes.


The incentive behind the minor’s inception began with acknowledging that, as the internet and its communities swell with influence, people interested in music will turn to its online music communities to develop their knowledge and skills. This, however, is known to leave some gaps, which the minor intends to supplement and build upon with knowledge of music composition and proficiency with an array of hardware and software.


Dr. Douglas Drewek, Assistant Professor of Music and a faculty member closely involved with the development of the minor, described it as “meet[ing] the students where they are,” enhancing any pre-existing knowledge and opening the door to greater technical and compositional skill with instruction and experience.


In addition, the minor will cultivate a broad knowledge base across the involved departments, and an essential component of the minor—the applied lessons in composition—will encourage student creativity and help them realize goals.


Image courtesy of Berea College

There are a number of components required for the completion of the minor, and it requires a total of 5.5 credits to complete:


Music: MUA CO 105-348 Applied Lessons in Composition, Music Ensemble, and MUS 324 Music Composition (2.5 credits)


Constituting the bulk of the minor’s content, these courses in composition and the application of skills with instruments, music composition, and technology like LogicPro, a digital audio workstation for the macOS platform. In a music lab that students should expect to use for their applied lessons with Dr. Drewek, there are seven workstations, each with a Mac studio and the LogicPro program.


In addition to LogicPro and other Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), there is a Maschine drum sampler for students to use in their applied lessons, among other instrument samplers. In total, there are over 80,000 samples instruments to choose from, allowing for near-endless possibilities in terms of combinations and styles.


A student that has taken these applied lessons reported the following:


“Applied composition lessons are a ton of fun for me personally! I've learned a lot about recording, mixing, and production in my composition lessons with Dr. Drewek… It helps that you get access to the music studio anytime the music building is open, so you can work on your music whenever you want. Having that studio access has been a great way to get away from more stressful schoolwork and just focus on being creative with making music.”


Computer Science: Any CSC Course (1 credit)


The minor requires an understanding of computational thinking, which will be pivotal in the applied lessons and in working with music technology that has yet to come. Since any Computer Science course would build this fundamental understanding, any course will work towards the completion of the minor—even ones students might have already taken.


Communication: COM 104 Radio Broadcasting (1 credit)


This class will familiarize Electronic Music students with audio equipment and recording technology, which will be useful within and beyond Berea. With the skills learned in this class, students will be able to reliably operate sound booths, which includes the sound booth in the Presser Building’s Gray Auditorium and radio equipment for Berea College’s own radio station.


Engineering Technologies & Applied Design: ETAD 265 Electricity and Electronics (1 credit)


This class will tie all of the other parts together, granting students a fundamental understanding of the electronic hardware they will be using in producing music and distributing it via broadcasts or otherwise. It effectively “bridges the gap between the digital and physical worlds of electronic music.”


With all of these components, the Electronic Music Minor seeks to prepare students for an evolving music industry, allowing them to keep up with changes in technology and have a competitive edge in the job market once their time at Berea College is done.


If you have any questions about the Electronic Music Minor, Dr. Drewek can be reached at drewekd@berea.edu.

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