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Music Production students work with notable producers in Masterclass Series for unique, experiential learning in the music industry

For college students working toward entering a niche industry like music, experiential learning goes a long way. Learning from a music industry legend in a professional studio makes the experience even more meaningful.

The annual MDIA Masterclass Series provides Ohio University students with the opportunity to work side-by-side with a notable music producer. Each masterclass takes a group of students from the School of Media Arts and Studies to a different studio across the country. Participants work as a team in apprentice roles during recording and mixing sessions. The students travel with a faculty member and the groups are small, allowing them to bounce ideas off each other, collaborate, personally work with producers and bond with peers who share their passion for music and have chosen the same career path.

This year students had the opportunity to attend one of three classes:


Chicago with Steve Albini

In mid-December, OHIO students traveled to the Windy City to work in Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio. Albini is a distinguished engineer and mixer who is passionate about analog recordings and capturing authentic ambiance. The Chicago-based producer was back in the headlines recently since he was the producer and recorder of Nirvana’s final studio album “In Utero,” which celebrated its 30th anniversary this fall. In addition to Nirvana, Albini has collaborated with iconic artists like Pixies, Foo Fighters, The Jesus Lizard and many more in an impressive portfolio spanning more than 1,500 albums. Albini is also a musician himself as the lead guitarist and vocalist for the grunge band Shellac. He was happy to be a masterclass mentor and quick to recognize School of Media Arts and Studies Director and Associate Professor Josh Antonuccio’s vital role in making the masterclass series possible.

“Very bright students, thoughtful questions and a genuine thirst for information and comprehension, and they are lucky to have [Josh] as a steward and advocate,” said Albini. “I admire all of you.”


Students sit with producer Steve Albini in Electrical Audio Studio.


Providence with Jim Eno

Jim Eno has hosted and taught OHIO students as part of the masterclass series for nearly a decade. This year, the class took place in Eno’s Providence, RI, Public Hi-Fi studio. Eno is an acclaimed producer and drummer for the rock band Spoon. The band was nominated for a Best Rock Album Grammy in 2023. He has worked with countless artists including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Mendes and the Jonas Brothers, to name a few. One of Eno’s audio engineers at Public Hi-Fi, OHIO alumnus Grant Eppley, was a student on the first year of the masterclass trip. He has been working with Eno ever since.

“This year marked my ninth year partnering with Ohio University to teach my production masterclass, and as in every other year, the students did not disappoint,” said Eno. “I continue to be impressed by the level of enthusiasm and drive the students show during these classes. I enjoyed working alongside them on real-world studio situations, and know they are going to make great additions to the engineering and production fields.”

As an additional surprise, Eno welcomed legendary mixing engineer Tony Maserati (Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys) to do an in-depth conversation and mix evaluation with students.


Music Production Masterclass students and Jim Eno in a large recording room at Public Hi-Fi Studio.


Brooklyn with Joel Hamilton

Students attending the Brooklyn masterclass spent a few days with Joel Hamilton in Studio G. Hamilton is a Brooklyn-based record producer, engineer and musician who boasts Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations. He has collaborated with Rick Rubin, Paul McCartney, Danny Elfman, The Black Keys, and Norah Jones among many other music industry giants and has contributed to soundtracks such as the film “Charlie, Victor, Romeo” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Hamilton is also a multi-instrumentalist and part of the band Book of Knots. He was impressed with this year’s masterclass cohort.

“The group of students that came to Studio G Brooklyn this year were an inspiring bunch of people, with individual interests being voiced through thoughtful questions and great discussion,” said Hamilton. “I feel honored to be a small part of their personal trajectories in the music business, and I sincerely hope that the perspective I brought to their learning process will feel valuable throughout their music careers.”


Music Production Masterclass students pose with producer Joel Hamilton and trip organizer Josh Antonuccio.


Experiential Learning

Through the exclusive classes, students apply what they’ve learned in OHIO’s Music Production Recording Industry (MPRI) program in a studio setting and build upon that knowledge with expert guidance. The young artists and producers learn about the creative process, audio engineering, music technology, and mixing and production techniques from those who have successful careers in music—masters in their field. Students record artists curated by the producers using high-end equipment and produce their own tracks in the studio, all while demonstrating an eager work ethic. As well, many of the students got to experience the new Dolby Atmos format in the immersive mixing suites in the studios they visited.

“These music production masterclasses offered invaluable hands-on learning experiences, allowing students to dive deep into session work and learn about the art of music recording directly from distinguished producers,” said Antonuccio. "The producers and their staffs provided amazing learning environments for in-depth explorations of the techniques and processes inherent to the studio.”

Eno, Hamilton and Albini not only provided students with technical insight but brought them confidence and peace of mind that they too can make it in the music industry. Those who attended felt the masterclasses will put them above other young producers in the job market. Conversing with the legendary producers also provided a better understanding of the industry and the career options available. 

“I just cannot recommend this masterclass enough,” said Junior MPRI student Eamon Armstrong. “Every time you asked a question it was answered holistically. I really enjoyed being able to learn with my MPRI peers, who all have the same passion for music production in an environment outside of Athens.”


Other music industry experiential learning opportunities at OHIO include:

February 12, 2024
Alex Semancik