This month School of Media Arts & Studies Professor Josh Antonuccio took five OHIO students to New York City for a 3-day Mixing Masterclass with legendary 7-time GRAMMY-winning mixing engineer Michael Brauer.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that Michael is one of the most accomplished and in-demand mixing engineers in the music industry right now,” Antonuccio said. “He has had pushed creative boundaries at every turn and has had a hand in mixing thousands of albums with many of the biggest artists of our generation. For OHIO students to get to learn directly from him in such an intimate and personal environment was a priceless experience, one that fundamentally changed their approach to producing music for the rest of their lives.”
Michael Brauer has spent over four decades bringing artists to life in the studio. He got his start in R&B production, mixing the likes of Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, and James Brown. From there, he has worked with an impressive and vast collection of storied artists including Coldplay (3 albums, with seminal releases such as “Parachutes” and the 9-times platinum “Viva La Vida”), John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, The Rolling Stones, James Bay, Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Bon Jovi, and Grizzly Bear, to name just a few.
Over the course of the 3-day experience in his Manhattan studio, Brauer helped students to guide their individual approach and workflow to the music mixing process, allowing students to practice their mixing skills on tracks that he previously released. Additionally, students brought in their own songs produced in the Ohio University Music Production program, which Brauer mixed alongside of them, demonstrating the potential of their songs when the right mix approach is used.
OHIO students were categorically thrilled about the experience and talked about the impact on their work as mixing engineers. “This was the best ever,” shared MDIA student Matt Dugan. “My biggest takeaway from our weekend with Michael Brauer is the fact that mixing should be treated as if you are playing an instrument. Mix towards a feeling and keep moving forward or else you will over think every decision”. Brick City Records Production Supervisor and MDIA Senior Zal Colah shared that it is “hard to describe a surreal three days in a few sentences. Intimate studio sessions with my classmates, made me closer to them on a deep emotional level and gave me a lot of confidence for my career ahead.”
Senior Nate Sahr agreed about the invaluable instruction in approaching the process and mindset of mixing music, something which Brauer spent ample time helping students to navigate. “I thought I knew what mixing was before going on this trip; I thought we would just be learning more advanced techniques. Instead, we were shown a whole new paradigm of what mixing can be.” Senior MDIA student Sophia Logston added that “during our time with Brauer I learned things that I believe I could not have learned anywhere else. We learned a lot about approaching a mix, but we also learned a lot about ourselves.”
In addition to working with Brauer, students also enjoyed other industry experiences in NYC, including an exclusive on-set tour of Saturday Night Live at NBC Studios and a tour and discussion with staff at SONY records, culminating in a demonstration of their new immersive music format in development.
The NYC Masterclass course is a part of the Ohio University School of Media Arts & Studies Masterclass Series, a partnership with the Office of Global Opportunities that provides experiential place-based education for students in the music industry. Next month, another group of students will go to Austin, TX to work with Spoon’s Jim Eno at his studio for a week-long production course. The School of Media Arts & Studies offers a host of place-based industry courses, including the annual SXSW course in Austin, TX, the OHIO-in-LA program & the summer Music Industry Masterclass at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.
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