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Friday, October 7 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Critical Music Making: Rethinking Audio Production as Maker Culture

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Audio production encompasses podcasting, soundtrack creation, music making, voiceover work, and much more. The tools to produce audio are pervasive, and documentation is omnipresent, but barriers to entry, whether technological or psychological, keep many users from ever trying it. By applying the tenets of Critical Making to audio production and positioning it as part of making culture, it becomes a pathway for users to gain confidence to not only make sound projects but also become familiar with other technologies that can exist across previously diverse domains. It also helps users learn how to harness this powerful communication form for better research, more interesting projects, and personal creative output.
Audio production tools are ubiquitous. They live on our smartphones and tablets, in our pockets and bags, as free apps using built-in microphones. They arrive pre-installed with our new computers. Libraries have made audio production tools available to users for decades, and the lower cost of professional hardware and software makes a robust studio setup approachable for almost every level of institution. However, few of us ever do more than capture content, and rarely - if ever - spend time editing and organizing that content. Our simple smartphone apps, the sometimes-overwhelming interfaces of Digital Audio Workstations, and unfamiliar hardware present barriers for novices interested in audio production. Even more problematic is user self confidence regarding their perceived need for musical talent to begin using any of these tools in the first place. Finding methods to ease the technology woes and to increase the confidence of learners can improve the use of audio as a learning medium.
Makerspaces over the past several years have effectively helped people connect to the technological world through critical making, a theory which emphasizes learning by doing, and of seeking inspiration through the act of making rather than the success of the final product. The goal of critical making is to imbue patrons with the confidence to embrace the making process, which becomes practice, and, with persistence, invariably leads to mastery in a chosen domain.
In this session librarians from North Carolina State University will show how they have used music, and specifically audio production techniques, to promote the critical making ideology. They will demonstrate how to use traditional Makerspace tools like Arduino and MaKey MaKey to bridge the gap between maker culture and audio production, discuss workshops that connect patrons to podcasting, beatmaking in hip hop culture, and soundtracks through making, and explore the idea of fair use in audio production and why learning this skill can inform copyright literacy. There will also be a hands-on audio production workshop, using ubiquitous and professional tools to produce a multitrack audio work and demonstrate how critical making in this domain is an inspirational activity that leads to increased digital media literacy, a better understanding of audio production techniques, and creates a pathway to other forms of making.

avatar for David Woodbury

David Woodbury

Department Head, Learning Spaces & Services, Libraries, North Carolina State University
David Woodbury is the Department Head, Learning Spaces & Services at the North Carolina State University Libraries. He manages technology-rich learning spaces at the libraries including makerspaces, digital media labs, virtual reality exploration spaces, and collaborative computing... Read More →

Friday October 7, 2016 9:00am - 10:30am PDT
Emerald Bay A