Local bands, singers, and future recording engineers find training at Casper College

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Photo of Larry Burger teaching in the class "Sound Reinforcement II."

Casper College sound reinforcement instructor Larry Burger points out a way to tweak a track to students during a session of the class “Sound Reinforcement II.” (Casper College photo)

Sometimes, for local bands and singers, the most challenging part of their job is finding a quality recording studio to get their songs and style of play recorded. But that may be changing in Natrona County, at least, with classes at Casper College that teach students the requirements of proper sound reinforcement.

With “Sound Reinforcement I,” MUSC 2415 and “Sound Reinforcement II,” MUSC 2420, students are taught the theory, techniques, and equipment used in sound recording and reinforcement and the operation of an audio recording console. Topics include console function, mixing, effects, microphone placement choice, patchbays, console flow logic, acoustics, microphones, recorders, and editing.

During a session one night, instructor Larry Burger sat hunched over his soundboard, which contained a dizzying array of sliders, colored buttons and more. In front of the large board was a huge display that allowed Burger to see not only what he was doing but also to show him the sound wave patterns of the music coming from the studio next door.

Joining him that night were several students, including Greg and Laura Kearns. Greg plays both electric and standard bass guitar and plays with a band out of Buffalo. “I’ve learned a lot in these classes. I have taken “Sound Reinforcement II” several times because I keep learning something new,” he said. In addition to her day job, Laura also runs sound for live performances. She, too, has taken “Sound Reinforcement II” more than once for the same reason as Greg; she keeps learning more. Plus, the hands-on training allows them to hone their skills further using high-quality audio gear.

“Both classes are awesome, incredible, really. I have gained a deeper understanding of recording and putting together what we perform in the recording studio. It is a unique opportunity. Plus, we are able to listen to half of our set to discover what we do and don’t like in the recording,” said singer Bridget Crofut.

Guitarist Zack Coburn noted that the classes, which he calls “awesome,” have “dived into a lot of technicalities” and have taught him to listen better and how to tweak what he is listening to, to take the piece from “good to great.”

In order for his students to learn the art of good sound recording, Burger also puts out a call to local musicians, bands, and singer-songwriters wanting to have their music professionally recorded.

“We are looking for these artists to work with our students in our recording studio to create and produce music,” said Burger.

According to Burger, musicians, bands, and singer-songwriters will have the opportunity to have their music professionally recorded by Casper College sound design students, who will be able to set up and record professional music.

Those learning to become audio engineers work with those wanting to record in a professional recording studio and provide them with suggestions, “something that we never thought of, the suggestions from the other side (of the recording studio) are extremely helpful to us as musicians,” noted Coburn.

According to Burger, musicians are not charged for their recording sessions, which provides a great learning experience for students enrolled in “Sound Reinforcement I and II” classes. “Everyone will have access to the finished product, which could be just one song or even possibly a whole album,” said Burger.

Burger is well-versed in the ins and outs of producing musical recordings. In addition to his instructor duties, he is a recording engineer, broadcast engineer, and live soundboard operator for the college’s music and theater departments. Burger has recorded and mixed over 100 albums as the owner and operator of a recording studio and media company. He is a pioneer in digital audio recording, being the owner of the first studio in the Rocky Mountain West to have digital audio recording capabilities many years ago.

In his position at Casper College, Burger teaches several classes on topics ranging from the basics of audio, live sound for music venues and theater reinforcement, digital audio workstations, understanding audio in media production from YouTube to recording full-length albums, musicianship and arranging for recording, and others.

Spring 2024 registration is now happening at Casper College. To learn more about becoming a sound engineer or participating in a recording session, contact Burger at 307-268-3320 or larry.burger@caspercollege.edu.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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