hiphop1Don’t look now, but Saint Viator students are producing their own hip-hop tracks. And they’re getting credit to do it.

Through the new Digital Music and Production class, students are composing their own music and lyrics, establishing the beat and vocals, before laying bass and drum tracks. But they’re not doing it alone.

Through a unique collaboration, Saint Viator students have partnered with their counterparts at the University of Illinois who are taking Music Technology with Associate Prof. Adam Kruse. The U of I’s Music School, and in particular its Music Technology program, has an international reputation for its use of electroacoustic and computer music composition.

hiphop5“That’s been the best part, partnering with a student from U of I to help guide us along and give input when necessary,” says Maranda Devaney ’18. “As someone with no musical background, this has been a great experience.”

The class is open to students of all grade levels, with or without musical experience.

Cailyn Currie ’18 says she is interested in possibly pursuing a career in music, so she was interested in learning more about the production of music as well as the business side, including learning about copyright laws and ethics as well as studio recording.

hiphop4“This course gave me a sneak peek at how music is produced,” she says, “and I really liked how we were able to work with the U of I students to create this song.”

Adam Domagal ’18 already produces his own music, but this class helped him polish his skills in arranging, sound design and mixing, he says.

“We recently FaceTimed with our partners to help us with the project as a whole,” Adam says, “but I have to say that it was the music production aspect that drew me to the class.”

hiphop2No matter the motivation, the course gives students who might not be involved in traditional band or choir, access to contemporary music and how it is produced, says Mr. Vince Genualdi, director of bands at Saint Viator. He graduated from U of I with a degree in music education, consequently, he describes this collaboration with his alma mater as a “win-win.”

“The Illinois students had an opportunity to mentor and guide a student through their composition project, while our students had the opportunity to work with an expert in the field,” Mr. Genualdi says. “It was amazing to see how our students, most of whom did not come from a music background, were able to talk about their compositions with a high-level musicality.”