Commercial Production

Dr. Mark Snyder
Fine Arts 207
(904) 256-7665
Office Hours M 2:30-4:00 PM, TR 2:30-4:30 PM, and by appointment.

Welcome to Audio Production. The course is divided into 5 sections and you will be divided into groups of 5 to work as members of a production team. In section one, you’ll be producing a Rock/Country/Gospel/drums-bass-guitarvocals-ect. style project. The following sections are a hip hop project, a jazz project, a classical project and a final project of your choice. You should understand that all projects will be critiqued by your fellow students and myself in class. If you don’t feel you can be publicly criticized for your work, this may not be the course for you. While all critiques should be respectful, honesty can hurt when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a piece of music you’ve created.

With these projects, you will have a clear understanding of production roles, artist roles, and financial roles from conception to the finished recording. Students are responsible for finding recording artists and completing the pre-production, in-studio, and post-production phases of the recording process.

The Art of Producing: How to Produce an Audio Project by David Gibson and Maestro Curtis, Artist Pro Publishing, Boston.

In addition to the text, you will be using online resources such as Sound on Sound’s archives and the links listed here:

Additional Materials

  • Memory Stick or Hard Drive for storing & backing up your projects.
  • Studio quality headphones. Pick a pair from the list below. They don’t need to be from Sweetwater.

Course Goals

Students will have:

  • Experience in all roles of the production process (Producer, Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Mix Engineer & Mastering Engineer)
  • A basic introduction to accounting and book keeping as it applies to music production.
  • Engage in recruiting talent to write, record and perform music.
  • An understanding of the production process (Concept, Melody, Rhythm, Harmony, Lyrics, Density, Instrumentation, Song Structure, Performance, Mix, Quality of Equipment)
  • Develop skills in audio production as it is used in composition, recording, editing and performance.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the roles, applications and techniques of the production process.
  • Create and maintain budgets for making an audio project.
  • Understand the different production techniques for different styles of music.
  • List and describe the production process.
  • Experiment with the creation of an idea, question, format or product by applying new, different, or divergent approaches to it.
  • Use the creative process to understand oneself and solve problems and demonstrate the ability to help an artist realize their creative goals.

Class Participation & Attendance

Education is partially experiential and therefore class attendance is critical.

Absences and Excuses

Each student is directly responsible for absences and for making up missed work.

Assignment Descriptions 


In addition to the readings and studio/lab work, there are 5 individual and 5 group homework assignments. The individual assignments are a budget, schedule & 11 aspects assignments to demonstrate you understand the concepts and 3 production journals where you will discuss 5 songs that you feel are well produced and discuss why. The group assignments are the budget, schedule and 11 aspects of your projectsYou will post these on blog and your posts will include evidence and integration of course readings. You will also be required to comment on each others drafts and projects.


There are 5 Projects that will demonstrate what you have learned from the readings, class discussions and your own research. Each project will be completed by groups of 5 students, rotating through the rolls of Producer, recording engineer, assistant engineer, mix engineer and mastering engineer.


There are 2 tests that cover class lectures and the readings.


Students are expected to participate in the critiques of the projects that occur when these projects are played in class. Failure to do so will lower the grade of your project. Critiques are designed to offer insights, suggestions for improvement, support to encourage you to improve your work. Each of you will provide an affective grade for each of final projects that is averaged in with my affective grade and feedback.

In addition to the above requirements, participation will be measured against the following criteria:

  • Contribute original thoughts or ideas to the critiques.
  • Give relevant reasons to validate points.
  • Demonstrate openness to divergent points of view.
  • Be respectful of the perceptions of others.
  • Integrate material from previous units to formulate ideas and generate dialogue.


Projects and the Final Project will be graded by timeliness and the fulfillment of the requirements as well, but grades of A and B will be reserved for students going above and beyond the requirements and overall quality.


Students will be expected to spend an average of 6 hours per week in the lab working with the software and creating music. All work will be completed and turned in on time.

January 8: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 1 & 2 – Sample Budget due

January 15: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 4 & 5 – Sample Production Schedule due

January 22: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapter 6 – Sample 11 aspects due

January 29: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapter 3 – Rock/Country/R&B/Gospel project 11 Aspects, budget & production schedule due

February 5: Rock/Country/R&B/Gospel project due

February 12: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 7 & 8 – Production Journal 1 due – Group’s Hip Hop Budget, Schedule & 11 Aspects due

February 19: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapter 9 – Hip Hop Project due

February 26: Midterm – Group’s Jazz Budget, Schedule & 11 Aspects due

March 5: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapter 10 – Jazz Project due

March 19: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 11 & 12 – Production Journal 2 due – Group’s Classical Budget, Schedule & 11 Aspects due

March 26: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 13 – Classical Project due

April 2: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 14 &15 – Group’s Final Project Budget, Schedule & 11 Aspects due

April 9: Read Gibson/Curtis Chapters 16 & 17 – Production Journal 3 due

April 16: Review & Final Project due

April 23: Final Exam & Project

***The above schedule is approximate. We may be ahead or behind a day or two. Check the Assignments on Canvas for due dates***

Homework    10%
Projects (4)    50%
Tests  (2)        20%
Final Project  20%

Academic Honesty
Students at JU are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty. Refer to the information on academic integrity and misconduct found in the online  JU catalog, p.101. Academic dishonesty will be handled appropriately by the instructor.

Student Support Services 
Students at JU are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty. Refer to the information on academic integrity and misconduct found in the online 2015-16 JU catalog, p.101. Academic dishonesty will be handled appropriately by the instructor.