Millikin University's Studio Pressure Night course, led by Dr. David Burdick, associate professor of music, encompasses everything about the recording industry. The course provides real-world experiences for vocalists and commercial music majors, whether as songwriters, producers or artists."
Each class period is a recording session where students take on a particular role to produce a song and market a student artist. Referred to as the "Semester of Soul," last semester's class recorded cover songs from legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Otis Redding.
"The course is building into a production company that serves student artists," said Dr. Burdick. "Part of the experience is to build up the vibe factor, so that when students leave Studio Pressure Night and perform live, they would have already had an image."
Dr. Burdick says the course has turned into a business, and includes teams of students that work on social media and marketing aspects as well as licensing and distribution.
"The students are researching all the commercial options for digital distribution of our product," said Dr. Burdick. "It's great to put student teams together to do this type of work. What you will find from the students is that there is only collective glory."
The social media and marketing students created a Studio Pressure Night Facebook fanpage that highlights the student artists and recording sessions through online video features.
"Studio Pressure Night is geared toward making a product," said Tyler Hollis, a junior commercial music major from Crystal Lake, Ill. "It's a fulfilling experience ' the musicians, artists and producers get a lot out of it."
As a guitarist in Studio Pressure Night, Hollis emphasized the importance of creating a good rhythm section and performing well during recording sessions.
Historically, the course has been held at Millikin for over a decade and was initially for instrumentalists. The course has expanded into a training platform for artists. Last semester, over 20 Millikin students were enrolled in Studio Pressure Night."
Dr. Burdick added, "We are building this course, and by building it, it's tailored to what we do, how we want to do it and what we want to be. We are reaching the public on our terms."