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Students’ creativity pays off with national award, new gear

A three-student team from MTSU is this year’s grand-prize winner of the eighth annual “Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition” sponsored by Shure Inc.

Taylor Bray, who graduated in December, and seniors Jeff Braun and Grant Hartford won the 2012 contest for their production of an original composition by aspiring singer-songwriter Rebecca Roubion, “Falliday.”

Members of MTSU's grand-prize-winning "Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition" team celebrate their recent success. On the front row, from left, are Taylor Bray, Jeff Braun, Grant Hartford and Shure Inc. Regional Manager for Artist Relations Ryan Smith. On the back row are MTSU recording-industry professors John Merchant, Bill Crabtree and Michael Fleming. (MTSU photo by Don Wright)

Members of MTSU's grand-prize-winning "Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition" team celebrate their national success. On the front row, from left, are Taylor Bray, Jeff Braun, Grant Hartford and Shure Inc. Regional Manager for Artist Relations Ryan Smith. On the back row are MTSU recording-industry professors John Merchant, Bill Crabtree and Michael Fleming. (MTSU photo by Don Wright)

The recording-industry majors worked with faculty adviser Michael Fleming, an associate professor in MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry.

“We congratulate the winning team from MTSU and thank all of the students who participated in this year’s contest from all of the different schools,” said Dave Mendez, Shure market development specialist, who coordinated the competition.

“This year’s competition was extremely close, which is a credit to the high quality of all the submissions and hard work of the students and faculty of these fine recording programs.”

Shure, based in Niles, Ill., is the leading manufacturer of microphones and audio electronics. The competition allowed student musicians to record in studios with the same Shure gear used by professional musicians and engineers.

Ten student teams from across the country worked on a recording project that required them to track and mix a performance using a “microphone locker” of equipment provided by Shure. Each team submitted an unmastered stereo mix for review by a panel of industry professionals.

“We were thrilled to participate in this year’s competition,” said Fleming. “The student team opened the mic locker like it was a Christmas present, and they really rose to the challenge of using a collection of great microphones, musicians and acoustic sources to create a unique recording.

“They learned a lot from the experience and had a great time doing it.”

MTSU’s team competed against students from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Clemson University, DePaul University, the University of the Pacific, the New England School of Communications, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, William Paterson University, Delta State University and the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy.

The NYU Clive Davis Institute team was named runner-up in the 2012 competition, and the Delta State team received an honorable mention.

As the winning school, the MTSU recording-industry department now gets to keep the “microphone locker” of Shure equipment, valued at more than $11,000. Each member of the winning team also will receive a Shure microphone package valued at almost $1,000.

Competition judges Ken Caillat, Leslie Ann Jones, Dave O’Donnell, Keith Olsen and John Paterno evaluated the recordings on their overall fidelity, clarity and sonic balance as well as creativity in selection and placement of microphones.

“Congratulations to all the participants in this project,” said Jones, who is director of music recording and scoring at Skywalker Sound. “It is wonderful of Shure to provide such a great opportunity to these teams of soon-to-be engineers and producers, and the results are quite impressive. I was very happy to be involved.”

For more information about the winners and to listen to the winning song, visit bit.ly/MTShureWin. For more information about MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry, one of the largest and best equipped in the country, visit http://recordingindustry.mtsu.edu.

– Gina E. Fann (Gina.Fann@mtsu.edu)

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