The Orion

Student makes waves in sound recording world

Tom Sundgren

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Chico State recording arts major Spencer Sargent works on his current project in the studio. Sargent said that after he graduates this semester he will be moving to the Bay Area, which will offer a lot of chances to work on live sound gigs, but he ultimately wants to work in post-production. Photo credit: George Johnston

Staring intently and relentlessly at a computer screen, a hard-working student spends countless hours practicing the art of recording audio.

Ever since high school, Spencer Sargent was captivated by the dynamics that come along with recording arts. Whether listening intuitively to water dripping from a kitchen faucet or going to a studio at 2 a.m. to chip away at editing previously recorded music, Sargent uses his ears precisely for the love of sounds.

Before arriving at Chico State, Sargent thought about attending a technical school. But when he saw most schools cost about $80,000 a year, he decided he couldn’t afford it.

“I eventually looked at some public universities,” Sargent said. “I came to Chico State and did the tours. The main instructor at the time was Keith Seppanen, who did all the tours, and I loved his personality. He showed all the equipment here, and I thought it was amazing. It seemed like a really good school, so I applied right away.”

Throughout the three years Sargent has been at Chico State, he has had both great amounts of fun and challenging times in the recording arts program.

“There is a sense of owning your craft and collaborating with all of these people within your major that all have different backgrounds,” Sargent said. “These are going to be your future contacts when you get out of the program, and you know, that is just really awesome.”

In the recording arts program at Chico State, students have to complete various tasks and hours of skilled work outside the classroom. When starting the program, the class “Audio 2” allows students to do group projects where they record bands.

Sargent has been working hard ever since he began the recording arts program.

“This semester there is a bunch of stuff going on,” Sargent said. “I’m in the mobile recording class. That class is about mixing a lot of stuff. I think it is about coming out with finished products by the end of the semester. That is what it kind of is like in the real industry. You are given a bunch of things and a deadline that it’s due.”

Going through the program has changed Sargent’s views about the music industry today.

“I used to want to only record the underground music scene,” Sargent said. “But now I find that if you just get a job, it is about producing good audio and doing what the musician wants. It depends on what you want to get into. I’m kind of more interested in the audio for video production side.”

After Sargent graduates this semester, he will be embarking toward many possible audio jobs outside of Chico.

“Immediately there is a lot of live sound opportunities for me,” Sargent said. “When I graduate, I will be living back in the Bay Area. I’m looking into some small, live sound gigs at venues in San Francisco or Oakland. My end goal is to do post-production sound.”

Tom Sundgren can be reached at [email protected] or @tomsundgren on Twitter.

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Student makes waves in sound recording world