The music industry masterclass: Brooklyn with Joel Hamilton

Aspiring producers gain confidence and a new perspective on their field.

Acadia Hansen, '26 | February 12, 2024


“It has been one of best experiences of my life,” said junior Marco Aprea. 

For Aprea, winter break was more than just time off from classes and college life. Instead, it offered an exclusive opportunity in New York to work with a professional music producer, something that Aprea said completely changed how he thinks when it comes to music. 

The Brooklyn-based Music Industry Masterclass took six OHIO students on location with producer Joel Hamilton. Hamilton is a renowned music engineer who has worked with notable artists including Rick Rubin and Paul McCartney, Danny Elfman, The Black Keys, and Norah Jones. The students, who all major in music production and recording industry, worked in apprenticeship-type roles while learning the ins and outs of music production and engineering. A common theme in the feedback from participants was that the experience changed the way they thought about music. 

Before leaving Brooklyn, students in the masterclass took a few minutes to describe their experience. Here's what they had to say.

The annual program is a part of the masterclass series out of the School of Media Arts and Studies in the Scripps College of Communication. Participants earn three credit hours toward their major. 

Kellen Thomas said he found that working with a professional record producer helped him to feel more confident about a career in the industry. 

“Joel and his assistant Justin…really made me realize that being in the industry is 100% possible as long as you put in the work and pay attention to the details,” Thomas said. 

A student plays piano
Students stand behind a sound engineer as he works at the large soundboard in front of him

John Landry is a senior. His experience in Brooklyn helped him to learn more about the elements of music production and to trust his ears rather than his eyes. 

“At the end of the day, it is music,” he said. “I think it was an incredible experience and I would really recommend it to everybody that cares to get this detail oriented about mixes, production, engineering, and learning the kind of person it takes to keep going with this path.”