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Sound Recording Technology program thrives

By Maria R. Gonzalez
University News Service
March 7, 2007


Senior Jimmy McWilliams operates soundboard at Fire Station Studios. (Photo by Don Anders)
Senior Jimmy McWilliams operates soundboard at Fire Station Studios. (Photo by Don Anders)

The Sound Recording Technology program at Texas State University-San Marcos has reached its 15th year of existence as a part of the university’s school of music with a challenging curriculum, student talent and a myriad of student success stories.

Texas State is the only university in the Southwest to offer a bachelor’s degree in sound recording technology. Students have the opportunity to use the skills they learn in textbooks and lectures in a real-life setting at the university’s Fire Station studios. Once a fire station and city hall in old San Marcos, this historic building is now a multipurpose recording facility with state of the art equipment.

Bobby Arnold, chief engineer, emphasized the importance of providing real-life experience both for working in a studio and learning how to work with clients

“The great part of this is that they get to go over the book material and then immediately get to apply what they learned in recording sessions,” he said. “That’s the beauty of the sound recording program, is the immediate application of what they learn in class.”

SRT majors have access to computer labs, digital editing stations, electronic music labs and audio labs. Students work on their semester projects in a professional recording studio and also participate in commercial recording sessions. This practical approach in the program’s curriculum is what attracted SRT major Jimmy McNeal, known at Texas State for his participation in the hit television show American Idol.

“When I first came to Texas State it was the first time I stepped into a studio, it was the first time I had ever seen a soundboard,” McNeal said. “They teach you the basics so that you will be able to walk into any studio and be able to work the board without anybody teaching you because you already have background.”

Houston native and junior Ruthie Mata is also one of the 15 chosen SRT students from a pool of more than 100 applicants per academic year.

“I am very interested in technology and music is my passion. Put them together and you have the program.  It’s intense, it’s exciting, it’s challenging and its fun at the same time,” she said. “I did ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ here at Texas State last semester and that was a lot of fun. It falls under live sound, which the career option I fall into.”

The list of career options for SRT graduates includes recording engineer, composer, producer, mastering engineer, performer, broadcasting, industrial, gaming and multimedia. Alumni success stories are abundant and consist of students who have worked with Harry Connick, Jr., Prince, Sting, Michael Brauer and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.  

The application process for SRT requires admission at Texas State, ACT or SAT scores, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, an SRT application and a musical audition. Recording arts director Mark Erickson said the program’s demanding requirements are pertinent to its excellence and quality.

“We’re looking for people that have a formal music background. We are able to pick some pretty talented people who have it together musically and academically,” Erickson said. “We set up a challenging degree and there are a lot of hours and also commitments outside of class. We challenge our students.  They have to really want this to get through.”

For more information, contact the Texas State University Sound Recording Technology program at (512) 245-8451.