Recording Musicians In Minneapolis: The Next Generation
May 31, 2009
Just came back from a quick trip to the Twin Cities. I was invited to attend the inauguration of a remarkable venture called Ideawerks - the opening of a recording school in a public park, Powderhorn, where Ideawerks is housed in a community rec center. It’s a facility for after-school training of youngsters in music production, audio recording and multi-media. They will be using Pro Tools workstations, in a dedicated environment with control room, iso booths and a major console, under the supervision of instructors mainly drawn from the IPR (Institute for Production and Recording) school in Minneapolis.
The youngsters will have to learn to collaborate, by sharing a workstation and completing projects incorporating each other’s ideas. The impact on many youths (who could otherwise be getting up to who knows what in their free time) will be considerable and positive results are expected on a wide scale in the community. Innate talent will be allowed to break through and be fostered regardless of income level—attendance will be free!
Other such facilities are being planned. Minneapolis has favorable conditions in that there is an independent authority that runs the many parks where, unlike in many other cities, rec centers are a part of the amenities. This independence enables decision making that otherwise might get bogged down if education departments and city councils had to be involved—the autonomous park authorities provide the physical infrastructure, namely the necessary modification of existing rooms into the control rooms and iso booths and such—after that all they have to contribute is the keys and the electricity.
But putting this together was no picnic. It took the forceful personality of Andre Fischer to pave the way and close the deal. Fischer has a résumé in the music industry that would take up hours to document here—instead, look him up and be amazed. He joined IPR last year—read the details of the appointment in the press releases on this website, in the NEWS section—and with IPR’s co-founder Lance Sabin and other influential contributors he brought the project along, hugely aided by the generosity of participating companies Ableton, Apple, Avid, Digidesign, M-Audio, and Sennheiser.
I also toured IPR itself, an impressive 24/7 operation in a modified warehouse complex in downtown Minneapolis, with audio and multimedia equipment galore—something like 100 Pro Tools HD stations, 15 Icon consoles, 400 students... The people who run it are well aware of the potential pitfalls of relying on a diploma in audio when compared to education in the school of hard knocks—you know, the “I have a diploma but we didn’t have your version of Pro Tools at the school so I don’t know how to do this” syndrome. Fischer and Sabin were successful in the real world long before getting involved in this school, so they know how to translate the demands of the real world into the school setting.
I’ll be keen to keep an eye on the developments of Ideawerks. If you are a shaker and mover in your community, and you think—after looking further into the mission and concepts of Ideawerks—that your community deserves an equivalent, contact Andre Fischer at IPR or via the Ideawerks website and he’ll be glad to exchange ideas.
Check out www.ideawerks.org and www.ipr.edu