RIO GRANDE — A new compact disc full of songs written by University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College students has been picked up by a major recording company.
The compact disc was recorded and produced in the new music studio at Rio Grande. The studio is helping students learn more about recording and producing their own music, and has now led to this major development with the recording industry.
Parma Records recently picked up the compact disc for its licensing program, and the songs on it are being pitched to Hollywood studios and television production companies. The compact disc will also be sold to the public and placed online so that it can be downloaded.
Rio Grande’s new music studio is inside the Berry Fine and Performing Arts Center, and was started due to interest from several Rio Grande students.
Scott Michal, who teaches music at Rio Grande and is also a professional musician and composer, explained that during the 2010-2011 school year, several of the students in his piano classes started bringing him some of the songs they had written.
“I was kind of stunned at how good they were,” Michal said. Impressed by the songs, he encouraged the students to bring him more and said he would work with them.
“They just got better and better,” Michal said. All of the interest from the students led to a songwriting class, and then a decision to turn a small, relatively unused space into a music studio. Michal brought in some of his recording equipment, he and the students painted the room and improved the acoustics, and other work was completed with the assistance of Rio Grande.
A few outside organizations also helped with the creation of the recording studio, Michal explained. For example, he sent a letter to Michael Jolly from the company OctavaMods, telling him what he was creating at Rio Grande and received a surprising response.
“He sent us a box of microphone parts and several microphones! This was easily worth several thousand dollars,” Michal said. Other corporate sponsors have included ADK, Sonalksis, McDSP and Audio Ease.
The studio now has a control/mixing room and a recording area where one person or a whole band can perform.
The music being recorded in the studio is very clear and professional sounding, and Michal is proud to have this space available to students of all majors on campus.
Student Josh Goodwin of Akron said that he is thankful to have the new studio space on campus. He is often in the studio working on his original songs, and appreciates the assistance that Michal and other faculty members give to him and the other students.
The songwriting class is open to students of all majors, and it has proven to be very popular.
The students in the class have performed their songs at different events on campus, such as in the Random Acts of Music performances and in the new Coffee House nights that Michal is holding inside the recording studio space.
“It was so much fun,” Goodwin said about the first Coffee House night, which was held during the spring semester.
Michal and the students recorded several of the original songs from the members of the songwriting class and created the new compact disc.
“This is really, really top-notch,” Michal said. “I am extremely proud of these students.” Parma Records was also suitably impressed by the quality of the songs and the compact disc, and Michal is very proud that the company decided to take a chance on the compact disc.
The album features a wide range of musical styles, and a few of the students explained how they were inspired to write their pieces.
“I was having a really good day, and I decided that I wanted to write a song about it,” said Logan Black.
Shelby Merry explained that she was inspired to write her song on the album when her best friend’s mother was very ill.
“I wrote this song for her,” Merry said.
A song by Clay Webb, meanwhile, is a love song that he wrote for a woman he met from another country. Another song, Michal said, was written originally as possible music for a video game.
The students who have songs on the new compact disc include Webb, Black, Merry, Nathan Wood, Naveen Sharma, Robert Fulton, Thomas Burnett and Pearce Michal. Several other students also assisted with the performing and recording of the songs.
For more information on the album or the new recording studio, call Scott Michal at 1-800-282-7201.