The amazing faculty and the talent of their students aren’t the only thing universally agreed upon by GRAMMY® Campers. As soon as they arrived, Campers immediately noticed the quality of the electronic and studio equipment provided to them at the University of Southern California. From laptops to video cameras, mixing interfaces to audio software, the GRAMMY Foundation and its sponsors allow students to utilize these hi-tech tools in order to study and implement the lessons learned in their career tracks.
Cyrus Shaki-Khan admits that he’s relatively new to the world of Electronic Music Production. “I really started maybe three months before we had to submit the audition tapes," he says. "I have demo versions of Ableton and Logic, and I work with a controller about half the size of the one we use in here, with no knobs or anything.” Because of this fact, I was surprised at Shaki-Khan’s proficiency with ProTools in such a short amount of time. He agreed that the provided equipment helps his creative process. “It definitely saves me a lot of time," he says. "It’s really amazing to have all of this.” Interestingly, he was not surprised that this technology was here. “I looked at the websites, and I saw the pictures. It’s what I expected.”
I spoke to another Electronic Music Production student by the name of Eric Boone. Boone’s background with audio technology differs in a few ways from that of Shaki-Kahn’s. “I have a little experience. I kind of just taught myself how to use this kind of software," he says. "I mean, they’re pretty much all the same. But this is the first time I’ve ever worked with something of this scale. It’s so high tech.” Like Shaki-Khan, though, Boone is delighted to be able to use such advanced software. “It definitely adds a much easier way to get all my ideas out there. I’m really happy with the things I’ve been able to create. They gave us all new keyboards just for this camp. I didn’t expect that at all. I thought we’d just have PCs and old keyboards, but no, they’ve got these wonderful Macs and new keyboards. I didn’t expect this.”
Ben Glasser from Audio Engineering has had plenty of experience in his field. However, he was blown away when he arrived at GRAMMY Camp®. “With the other camps I’ve done, they’ve had okay equipment, but a lot of stuff wouldn’t work,” Glasser commented. “But the audio engineering here is fantastic. There’s ProTools, there are three different types of mixing boards in the studios…it’s beyond expectations.” He also stated that the hands-on experience provided to him at Camp “helps me get the full knowledge of what an actual studio would be like. I can go into any type of studio and have a basic knowledge of everything.”
While Campers may have had a whole range of expectations about what their Camp experience would be like, not many anticipated the caliber of the electronic tools that would be at their disposal. Across multiple career tracks, students agree that their creative potential is amplified by their ability to use equipment they would not otherwise have access to.