Alper Tuzcu is a 3rd semester student at Berklee. He is from Istanbul, Turkey. He plays guitar and is a Contemporary Writing and Production major. 

Where am I?/ Donde estoy?

As we are walking the small cobblestone streets of the El Carmen neighborhood, it is already nighttime in Valencia. We are on our way to see our friends in the Master’s program, who are going to play some music at one of the best local jazz venues in town. We are speaking English and kind of being “loud tourists” around the relatively quite neighborhood. As we walk in to the venue, we hear a familiar tune, Summertime, with the groove mixed with Indian melodies. The next song is a flamenco song, with more microtonal and Indian melodies over and around it. We hear a jazz song with Mediterranean grooves on the rhythm section. 


I think it is safe to say that I did not expect so much openness for different cultures and to see such mix of cultures here in Valencia. I did not expect to meet with people from so many different places, cultures, and countries. Moreover, I did not expect that the Valencian community to be so open to musicians and to give so much value to us.


Last week I mentioned about the Recording and Mixing classes I am taking as a part of the brand new Music Technology Minor, available for undergraduate students at Valencia. As a part of these two integrated classes, we have to do two projects throughout the semester. The first of these is to make a singer-songwriter project. This is going to be a multi-track, industry standard, cutting edge song, using the state of art studio facilities at Valencia. So for most of the week, I was writing a new song for this project. Now that the song is over, our task is to create a demo for the song with just vocals and a piano or guitar for next week.

This week in the Recording class, we also had to create an elevator pitch for our songs. So on Thursday, when we came to the class, we stood up in front of the class and made an elevator pitch to Chris Wainwright, one of our co-instructors of the course. Assuming that it was an elevator pitch, it had to be short, provoking and effective. We were also filmed/recorded during the pitches to create extra pressure. I was the first one to give a pitch, and I talked about the lyrical content, as well as the main inspirations for writing the song. Moreover, the instrumentation and the sound I want to get out of it. I think I was too excited about the song, I ended up talking a lot without realizing so it went out of the borders of an elevator pitch. So next week, we were asked to revise our pitch and present to our instructors once again.

In the Mixing class, which happens right after Recording, we have looked further into different mixing styles, as well as a history of mixing since stereo music. We also use a lot of Pro Tools in this class, which is great for learning because it is the industry standard program for recording and mixing for most of music that is released today. This class is mainly based on listening to a lot of music and understanding the priorities. Our co-instructor, Ian Kagey used painting as an anology for mixing, as it comprises of the foreground, background and the middle ground. There are different components that create the painting, so it is the same with mixing with different instruments in the background, foreground and in the middle.