After Class, Teen Pushes Past His Comfort Zone and Learns to Mix Music Like the Pros
12.1.10 | In this webisode, Studentspeak follows 17-year-old Daniel Robbins as he takes his music to the next level with digital mixing equipment and software—and some social media marketing savvy.
Robbins, a talented musician, just completed “The Endless Summer Project,” an album he recorded and mixed at YOUmedia, the Chicago Public Library’s digital space for teens. While the finished product reflects the countless hours of painstakingly separating each music track and polishing the sound, it took some convincing to nudge Robbins beyond his comfort zone.
“I kept telling him,” said JoVia Armstrong, YOUmedia’s music mentor, “‘It’s time for you to move into Pro Tools or some other professional program.’ And he just kept fighting me on it,” preferring instead to stick with Garage Band, Apple’s basic music-composing software.
“JoVia said we’ve got to balance each and every track. I’m like, ‘that’s going to take hours.’ But we mixed it and now it sounds as best as it could sound,” said Robbins.
The project was also a lesson in collaboration and networking, something Robbins proved equally adept at, rounding up musicians from across the city to contribute to the 14 songs on “The Endless Summer Project.”
“The easiest way to get in touch with people is on Facebook,” he says.
Robbins also put his music on YOUmedia’s iRemix social networking site, which helped spread the word.
The teens, working with Robbins, also continued the collaboration online, sharing music files over email and social networking sites to get suggestions for instrumentals and to brainstorm ideas. Now they’re using Facebook and iRemix to find an audience for their work.
One 20th-century lesson Robbins has learned, however, is that online relationships can only go so far.
“Anyone can put something on MySpace or Twitter,” Robbins says. “It’s who you know, and relationships. That’s when physical contact becomes more important.”
In other words, face to face still matters.
StudentSpeak, a video series produced by Spotlight, goes behind the scenes to show how teens use digital media in their daily lives. View previous webisodes here.
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