Considering Recording School? Learn About the Expert Instructors You’ll Meet at Trebas

Posted on August 5th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

recording arts schools

Great teachers and insightful mentors can, and have, changed many lives. By sharing their experiences working in the industry, and teaching students the hands-on skills they need, the instructors at Trebas help each and every student graduate ready to launch their careers. These experienced and caring instructors have won awards, toured the world, and spent years working in Canada’s thriving music industry. They teach everything from audio in film and television to songwriting to modern production mixing and mastering and beyond. So whether you want to be the next great DJ, or become an audio engineer, Trebas’ many experienced instructors can help you achieve your goals. Many of them will even be able to give you advice based on their own experiences and careers in the industry.

Read on to discover the stories behind just two of the instructors you might meet at Trebas.

Murray Foster Is The Perfect Instructor For A Recording Course

There aren’t many people in Toronto who are more well-suited to be a Trebas instructor than Murray Foster. Foster has a music industry resume as long as Beethoven’s 9th symphony. He is the bass player for the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea, and was also a member of the Toronto satirical band Moxy Fruvous. The Great Big Sea have been nominated for many Juno awards and have become Canadian legends.

Foster has also produced shows for CBC radio and has recently used his skills for philanthropic reasons. In January 2012, Foster wrote and recorded thirty songs for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s DARE fundraiser. He really is proof that the skills you can acquire in recording school can go well beyond the recording studio, as the multi-talented man is set to direct a feature-length film called The Cocksure Lads which he wrote himself in addition to the entirety of the soundtrack for the film. With all his amazing experience in the field, Foster is the perfect instructor to give you real-world advice and let the best version of you shine through in your music. Foster currently teaches songwriting at Trebas. Check out the video below to see Murray Foster in action!

DJ Grouch Is A Toronto Hip-Hop Legend With A Lot To Teach In A Recording Course

Hip-hop is huge in Toronto. Since the dawn of the Toronto hip-hop scene, which saw the rise of hip-hop greats Kardinal Officiall and Saukrates, Toronto has been a hub for many top artists. DJ Grouch has worked with both of these artists, as well as a host of others. He has played at almost every venue in Toronto and has toured across Canada, the United States, and even Europe. DJ Grouch has recently focused on his production skills and released material under the name Pherenziks. At Trebas, students are lucky to learn from him when they take a recording course; he currently teaches audio engineering.

Hear DJ Grouch in action in the video below:

Trying to decide between recording arts schools?

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3 Critical Listening Exercises Music Production School Students Must Try

Posted on July 22nd, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto


Music production colleges

Critical listening skills are essential for music production school graduates

What’s the secret to becoming a top producer? While having extensive knowledge of different recording techniques and equipment is valuable, what really separates a good recording professional from a great one is critical listening skills.

In recording, critical listening is the art of analyzing various components of a mix, and evaluating how they fit into the overall soundscape. And while a ‘good ear’ comes more naturally to some people than others, there are a number of exercises music production students can do to hone their abilities and produce more polished, distinctive work.

Want to improve your critical listening skills? Read on to find out how.

1. Music Production Colleges Teach Students to Analyze the Elements of a Mix

One of the most straightforward critical listening exercises involves choosing a song and deconstructing different elements of the mix, analyzing how they contribute to the recording as a whole. In his book The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, Bob Owsinski suggests that every mix has six principal elements:

  • Balance: The prominence of each individual track in the mix
  • Panorama: How different tracks are spaced from left to right in the stereo field
  • Frequency Range: The prominence of the bass, mid, and treble ranges in the mix
  • Dimension: The sense of movement and space in the overall sound
  • Dynamics: Changes in volume, tempo, time signature, and key
  • Interest: Anything that makes a mix memorable, such a melodic hooks, tonality, or effects

Try listening to some of your favourite songs and note anything that you can pick out under each of these headings. Hopefully, you’ll begin identifying specific techniques that producers you admire use regularly, which you can then apply to your own work at music production school.


Music production programs

Students in music production colleges can listen to songs and note the different sonic elements


2. Music Production Students Learn How to Isolate Individual Tracks

While the first exercise can be very effective, it can often be difficult for beginners to identify specific tracks or instruments, particularly in heavily layered mixes. If you’re having trouble with this, try and get your hands on a master file of a multitrack recording, and listen to it through a mixing desk. Then try the following exercise:

  1. Mute every track on the recording except one, such as the bass line.
  2. Listen to the individual track in isolation to familiarize yourself with it.
  3. Listen to the full mix and try to pinpoint the individual track within the overall soundscape.

This can be a great way to train your ears to isolate specific sounds, and identify their place in an overall mix more efficiently. And thanks to the various projects completed by students each year, music production colleges tend to have large stocks of multitrack recording files available, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice.

3. Train Your Ears with a Blind Listening Exercise at Music Production School

Of course, you don’t need sophisticated studio equipment to practice critical listening. In fact, one of the most effective exercises you can do is to simply find a busy outdoor space, close your eyes, and listen. The lack of visual distraction will force you to pay more attention to the different sounds around you.


music production school

Blind listening in open spaces can help music production school students train their ears

You’ll be surprised by how quickly you learn to distinguish certain sonic characteristics, such as the direction sounds are coming from, and how far they are away from you. This simple technique can do wonders for your ability to evaluate certain elements in your mixes, such as panorama, frequency range, and dimensions.

Interested in working in the recording industry?

Contact us to find out more about our music production programs.

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Trebas DJ & Music Arts Professor Plays Halftime at NBA Quarter Finals

Posted on June 13th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

DJ Grouch backs Maestro Fresh Wes at the Raptors vs. Cavaliers NBA Finals

DJ Grouch backs Maestro Fresh Wes at the Raptors vs. Cavaliers NBA Finals

Along with the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, one of our very own instructors hit the hardwood at the recent quarterfinal round of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Oscar Betancourt, teacher at Trebas’ Audio Engineering and Production/DJ Arts training and Music Production program, was invited to perform a half-time set for a packed crowd at Toronto’s Air Canada Center. As DJ Grouch, Oscar backed the “godfather of Canadian Hip Hop” himself, Maestro Fresh Wes.

“I’m stoked and honoured,” wrote DJ Grouch when announcing this gig to his fans over Instagram.

It was an exciting opportunity for our DJ Arts instructor, but not out-of-the-ordinary: this month alone he’s also played impressive sets for both Lulaworld and CBC Music Festivals. It’s his hands-on experience and commitment to his craft that make him such a valued presence on Trebas’ Toronto campus.

When not rubbing shoulders with LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan, you can find DJ Grouch here in the DJ training studio introducing students to a range of recording techniques and state-of-the-art audio equipment. Those with an ear for high-quality track mixing and boundary-pushing soundscapes are welcome to come and join in.

Would you like to work with DJ Grouch and his fellow instructors at a top DJ training college?

Visit Trebas to learn about getting started.

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Trebas Success Story: Lu Slone

Posted on May 27th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

audio training

This week as part of our Proud of Our Graduates series, we’re introducing readers to Lu Slone. Lu took part in Trebas’ audio program, and turned their fierce determination and passion for audio into a career that is already packed full of thrilling experiences, lasting memories, and amazing opportunities.

Read on to hear Lu’s journey, and how they are already making their mark on the Canadian music scene.

How It All Started

Lu is anything but your average audio engineer! Growing up in the Maritimes, Lu was raised by Buddhist parents, travelled to 12 countries on three continents, lived in four Canadian provinces, and also learned to speak three languages.

Throughout those early years, Lu developed a passion for music. As Lu recalls, “I play many instruments (mainly guitar) and have been writing songs since I was 8 years old.”

From an early age, Lu has had a passion for music

From an early age, Lu has had a passion for music

That’s why Lu decided on a career that was anything but your typical 9-5 job, and decided to study audio engineering. “Being raised and socialized female, I was never particularly encouraged or considered a candidate for this type of job.” But that doesn’t mean that Lu shied away from a challenge—far from it! “I discovered it and fought for it myself, on my own terms. Because I identify as “gender-queer” (preferring pronouns “they” and “their”), most people don’t know any folks in the industry (or anywhere, for that matter) who identify as such, so that certainly makes me unique.”

Launching a Career with Trebas Audio Training

The first step to beginning their career was to find the right audio production college, and after careful research, Lu decided on Trebas.

“I liked the fact that Trebas is the first and oldest recording school of its kind in Canada,” says Lu. “The fact that there are locations in both Montreal and Toronto speaks to the Institute’s legacy and reach.” Lu also loved the hands-on approach at Trebas, saying that “the fact that the labs are held in real working recording studios in the city (Sonic I and Studio 306), rather than just an in-school set-up, felt like a leg up.”

Lu credits the hands-on approach at Trebas for giving them a solid foundation in audio engineering

Lu credits the hands-on approach at Trebas for giving them a solid foundation in audio engineering

That initial decision to go to Trebas paid off. As Lu remembers, “I walked into the doors at Dundas West in September 2012 knowing NOTHING about audio recording, production, acoustics, microphones, Pro Tools… nothing. In 2013 when I walked out the door, I had a solid foundation for everything that I needed to start working out in the real world with professionals…”

“I literally wouldn’t be working in this industry if it wasn’t for everything I learned at Trebas.” says Lu.

Life After Graduating From Audio Production College

After completing their audio courses at Trebas, Lu worked diligently at advancing their career. Lu says that “I took whatever jobs, gigs and opportunities that were thrown at me, as well as seeking others out.” Those early opportunities included an internship at Dream House, where Lu gained “a firsthand experience in the music world; mainly hip hop/rap and rock recording”.

Lu worked on many different projects after graduation

Lu worked on many different projects after graduation

But Lu didn’t stop there. Whether picking up substitute gigs, setting up gear for conferences, working as an audio assistant for musical theatre shows, or even recording location sound for a short film, Lu continued to work tirelessly. That’s when Lu landed their second internship, “This time, at a post audio house that does mainly commercial work called Grayson Matthews. I learned so much more about this other part of the industry of audio for advertising.”

All that hard work eventually turned into a full-time position as an Assistant Engineer at Tattoo Sound + Music (TA2). But that’s not all that Lu is working on at the moment. Lu hints that “on top of all my 9-5 work, looks like I may be recording a weekly podcast called Exploit, ‘a podcast about hacking the system.’ Also, I just brought my friends in the band Danger Dean & The Laser Beams into the studio to record, and will be working on mixing and producing this song called ‘Saddle Up’.”

The future looks bright for Lu!

The future looks bright for Lu!

We have no doubt that the future is bright for Lu, and we look forward to hearing their next successes. Congratulations Lu!

Inspired by Lu’s story?

Contact us to start your audio training and begin your journey to thrilling career. 

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3 Apps Every DJ School Student Should Download

Posted on May 20th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

audio production college

DJing has become an international phenomenon, making cultural waves from the beginning of hip hop and vinyl ‘scratching’ techniques in the boroughs of New York circa 1970, to contemporary dance DJs playing to almost 200,000 people at festivals like Tomorrowland.

DJs used to have to carry around crates of vinyl records to play, but now DJs can access an endless amount of music from their computers and keep the music playing longer and with more precision. Modern DJ applications present to users a virtual reproduction of a regular DJ setup; two or more turntables and a mixer, which appears on the computer screen and is electronically connected to special computerized turntables, called controllers.

Keep reading to learn about the three best DJ applications that DJ school students might want to use during their careers.

1. Native Instruments TRAKTOR Pro: Gold Standard of DJ Applications for DJ School Students

Let’s start with arguably the most well-equipped DJ application on the market: Native Instruments TRAKTOR pro. This software has it all, for a very reasonable price. Costing $165 and working for PC and Mac users, this software is flexible, reliable, and able to take your skills to the next level.

This application enables artists with DJ training to mix on four virtual decks and can be paired with the TRAKTOR Kontrol S4, one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly controllers on the market. It lets you add effects, change tracks, tweak volumes, and get artistic with your mix with one product, right out of the box. Actually, the TRAKTOR Pro DJ software comes free when you purchase a TRAKTOR Kontrol controller.

Pairing TRAKTOR Pro with the Kontrol S4 can provide DJ school students a powerful package to DJ with

Pairing TRAKTOR Pro with the Kontrol S4 can provide DJ school students a powerful package to DJ with

2. Ableton Live is a Great Learning Tool For DJ School Students

Ableton Live has one of the friendliest DJ application interfaces available for DJ school students; it’s colorful, it’s interactive, and it is easy to use. Ableton Live wasn’t really originally built to be a DJ application, but it has begun to be utilized by professionals all over the globe to lay down some awesome sets.

This software begins to blur the lines between a live performance and a DJ performance, as it contains loads of built-in sounds that can be triggered through a keyboard or other device, so you can play a live-sounding instrument overtop of the tracks you’re spinning. Think that one house track needs a horn overtop? Add it. Keep in mind, because Ableton is naturally an audio production application, it does cost upwards of $500, which can be a bit pricey for students starting out their DJ training.

3. DJ School Students Know Serato DJ Started the Virtual DJ Wave

Serato DJ is an application that led the way in transitioning from physical vinyl DJing to virtual DJing. Although Serato has become less popular over the years with the emergence of a plethora of competing applications, it is still an extremely powerful tool to keep the crowd’s heads nodding. Coming in at a price of $130, Serato DJ is the most affordable application on our list, but is still highly capable. It is available on both PC and Mac.

Want to turn up the tempo in your DJing career?

Contact an advisor today to see how you can get things moving in audio production college.

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