MFA grad uses Nashville’s Tracking Room for project

Jacob Keener

During spring semester 2019, Jacob Keener, a graduate student in MTSU’s Recording Arts and Technologies Master of Fine Arts program, presented his final project at The Tracking Room Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Entitled “A Cinematic In-Studio Music Production with Audience Immersion,”  the program included a multi-camera and multi-track recording with a performance by soul artist and MTSU alumnus Mike Hicks. The hybrid media production culminated in a live event production with traditional studio recording. The audience participated by sitting in the studio with the band listening on wireless headphones.

“There was a significant presence of MTSU students and alumni at the event, and it was clear to everyone that the MTSU family was “in the house,” said Professor Bill Crabtree, the director of the MTSU Recording Arts and Technologies (MRAT) Master of Fine Arts program.  “The band was Mike Hicks with organ, guitar, bass, drums, strings, horns and background vocals. The footage and mix from this event will be something that Jacob and all involved will be very proud of.”

On hand to help with the project were MTSU alumni Tevin Turner, John Bosworth and Caleb Kendrick; M.F.A. students Phillip Smith, Christian Hannah, Najah Gordon and Phoebe Seston; Recording Industry students Garret Hayes, Catherine Baron and Kristi Hoopes; and Media Arts students Vann Tate, Gus Simpson and Haley Smith. The recording was engineered by Tracking Room engineer and M.F.A. alumnus Matt Leigh. 

Keener, who is originally from Columbia, Missouri, began studying drums at a young age. Inspired by the instrument, he chose to attend the University of North Texas where he graduated with his Bachelor of Music before enrolling in MTSU’s MRAT program. Keener credits the faculty and curriculum in expanding his understanding of music, the entertainment industry and recorded media arts. He currently teaches Commercial Musicianship, an undergraduate class in the Department of Recording Industry, as a graduate assistant. His final project is inspired by a style of production made most famous by the Grammy-award winning band Snarky Puppy.

Crabtree hopes future MTSU students will have the chance to use The Tracking Room’s facilities not just for final projects, but for everyday courses.

“[It] was a great event at The Tracking Room involving dozens of students from Recording Industry and across the college, and it reminded me of the possibilities that we could pursue in the space,” he said. “ We could undertake large collaborative projects like [Keener’s] or run regular classes.”

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Categories: Events, Faculty, Students

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