DECATUR – Teaching anyone how to think inside the box seems like a oxymoron.

Yet that's the key of a new series of summer immersion courses at Millikin University: making music business and commercial music majors proficient in the audio production software that's become the industry standard.

“With (Avid) Pro Tools, using only your computer and plug-ins, you can do all your mixing in a box,” said Kevin Guarnieri, director of the university's Millitrax Recording Studio in the Perkinson Music Center.

Guarnieri and his students, all upperclassmen, completed Introduction to Pro Tools on June 26 and Tuesday began Intermediate Pro Tools, set to conclude July 24, in the music center's Computer Aided Instruction, or CAI, Lab.

The instructor plans to offer his students the chance to take Avid's Pro Tools User Certification Test in the end.

Megan Peterson, a music business/commercial music major from New Douglas, took Recording Studio Techniques I and II this past year and is glad to be picking up the skills students in those classes will learn starting this fall.

“The more I take these classes and stay in the studio, the more I like engineering sound,” Peterson said.

For the next academic year, Tech I and Tech II will not only incorporate Pro Tools and become three-credit classes, up from two each, the music center will also get 27 Mac minis to replace the iMacs currently in the CAI Lab.

On Tuesday, Guarnieri talked primarily about assigning inputs and outputs but fielded a question from Andre Kely, a music business/commercial music major from Grand Rapids, Mich., about changing the pitch of a track (there are at least two ways to do it) and another from JoonYoung Park, a commercial music major from Daejeon, South Korea, about which headphones are best (Guarnieri recommends the Grado Prestige series).

Jordan Camp, a music business/commercial music major from Decatur, said he's already getting faster at using Pro Tools.

“I want to be a recording engineer, and you need to be able to navigate Pro Tools.” Camp said. “This class is a confidence-booster.”

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