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SPU professors: Meet music technology’s Ron Haight

Meet Ronald Haight, SPU's director of music technology.

We heard attending SPU runs in your family.

Yes. My mother, my grandfather, my aunts, and uncles all went to SPU. I went to school here, so did my two brothers, a sister, my niece. This is home for me.

What are the new, state-of-the-art music studios on campus like?

Nickerson Music Studios opened last July. We have recording studios, a performance hall, a rehearsal space for choirs, and our music technology lab.

Personally, what’s the most unique recording you’ve ever done?

A Tuvan throat singing group — one of the finest ever. They came and did an hour-and-15-minute program that just blew me away. In Mongolia, it’s part of the folk life and religious life. Throat singing is ethereal, other-worldly singing. You hear the voice of the person, but you then hear the overtone singing.

What projects do students work on in the studio and the music lab?

Students can record their own music: record drums in one room, pianos in another, vocals in another. They create videos. We use Pro Tools for recording and Final Cut Pro X for video editing and production.

What are the benefits of SPU’S small class sizes?

We have about eight to 10 students per class. It allows me to have more time with students. Music is relational. Recording it, three of us will be setting up wires, because we have the space and the time to do that. It’s not just one person in a room by themselves. We explore what it takes to get a singer to sing better in the recording studio. You learn how to get the best out of a performer.

Name a fun job one of your former students has.

One graduate is working at Skywalker Ranch. She’s a mix engineer there, making movie scores. How about internships for current students? One student is interning — and has recorded — at London Bridge, where Macklemore has recorded. Another is writing film music. We have internships at Studio X, where a lot of the video game scores are recorded here in Seattle.

What does it take to succeed in this industry?

I say, perseverance. There are a lot of ways to get there. It takes passion and desire.

What can music technology students do with their degree?

You can write film scores. You can produce music, at a different level than you could if you were just recording the latest band. You’re writing music for video. You’re integrated in different mediums. This is a music degree, but with an emphasis in technology. We’re working to get people past just the engineer role — to be producers, composers.

Students working on sound and video editing in Nickerson Studios
Students work on sound and video editing in Nickerson Studios
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