New Recording Arts Class Offered at DHS

There have always been many electives open to the students of Durham High School like art and STEM. This year, thanks to the grant written by the band director Mr. Mathew Plummer and Mr. Dave Atkinson, a part of the life science department, a new option has been added to this lineup, the recording arts class is now being offered as an option for the student body.

Although originally expecting a chorus program, DHS’s principal, Ms. Robin Pedrett was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this new course, and the benefits that it will bring to the students taking it. She remarked about those benefits, “…Technology skills. So, their skills if they’re in that class, are going to far reach any other student who doesn’t choose to take that class, and on a whole different level.”

This brand-new elective, taught by Spanish I teacher Ms. Amy Arendt, goes through the different types of sounds a person can make with a variety of instruments, microphones, and online programs. With the help of the local music community, Arendt has been able to navigate and experiment with this different equipment. Including a fully operating whisper room, which is a small soundproof enclosure used for recording vocals and instruments, that is now located in the Student’s Center room.

Not only will the skills taught in this class be interesting things to learn, but they will also be quite useful, as the principal said, “…what I am getting is great technology and great technological skills for our young people, and then great avenues to careers in the industry.” The skills being taught in this program can help open doors to different careers, and create many opportunities for the students that participate in it.

Despite being restricted by the drawbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, and not being able to have all the tools to help in making the class easier, Arendt has been able to navigate through the course and equipment made available. So far, the class has been able to experiment with an online program called Soundtrap–a website that allows you to make your own music tracks. With this, students have been able to make podcasts and radio ads. The class has also focused on the uses and differences between different types of microphones. Although the class is mostly focused on technical things right now, there will be more hands-on teachings as the course continues.

“Eventually I would love to bring in local bands, live bands, touring bands… and have them stop in, and then speak to our students, but then also have our students record them,” said. Arendt, in regards to her ideas for future projects she had in mind for the class. “That would be the direction that I would like to move into.” However, with all the difficulties surrounding the pandemic that we’ve been facing lately, this would be something to expect to come in the future years of this course.