Independent Artist Program

MI’s Independent Artist Program provides the technical knowledge and professional skills you need to survive as an independent recording and performing artist in today’s music world. Experienced instructors guide you through the complete creative process from songwriting, arranging, recording and production to marketing and promotion. Use your personal laptop audio workstation to record and mix live vocals, instruments, samples and loops into finished tracks, then showcase them on your self-designed website. Whether you are a singer, DJ, producer, rapper or instrumentalist, MI prepares you to take control of your future.

All programs include:


Personal Digital Studio

Train directly on your laptop audio workstation as you learn to sequence, sample, record, edit and mix – the world is your studio!


Original Recording Production

An experienced Project Advisor guides you as you write, arrange, record, produce and mix your final recording project.


Musical and Creative Development

Learn techniques for evaluating and improving your songwriting, arrangements, and recordings in workshop-style classes.


Independent Artist Career Skills

Learn how to manage your own career as an independent artist and assemble a complete industry-standard press kit to help you publicize your live shows and CDs.


Independent Artist Program required courses include:

Independent Artist Project

Recording Project I/II

DIY Music Marketing

Recording Techniques I/II

Apple Logic I/II

Song Writing 1

The Business

Your Career Plan

Visual Media I/II

Elective Courses include:

Private Lessons

Song Analysis

Songwriting Techniques I/II

Artist Development I/II

Music Internship

Synthesis and Sampling I/II

Intro to Music Publishing

Scoring for Film and Television

MI is an authorized Apple training center for Logic audio software. Logic is one of the industry’s most popular programs for digital audio production, editing and sequencing, used by major production companies, post-production facilities, studios, arrangers and composers. When you complete classes in Logic as part of the Audio Engineering, Independent Artist, or Keyboard Program and pass a Logic certification exam, you receive a certificate from Apple and will be listed on Apple’s website as an authorized Logic expert.

Independent Artist Program Overview

Independent Artist Program Performance

As an Associates of Arts students in instrument performance programs (Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard Technology, Vocals) you may opt for a combined course of study which is a combination of the performance program and a music industry program (Audio Engineering, Film, Guitar Craft, Music Business, Independent Artist)

Enrollment in such programs is dependent upon admission approval and space availability.

Associate programs are vocational and do not include General Education requirements or specific preparation for study at the Baccalaureate level.

Artist Certificate

MI’s Independent Artist Program, leading to the Artist Certificate, is designed to equip creative musicians with the skills required to write, record and market their original music. As the centerpiece of the program, you apply skills learned in core classes to produce recordings of your original songs, create an Internet presence, develop a marketing and career plan, and design promotional media.




Recording Project 1

Begin planning and creating your final Independent Artist project, including two or more original songs, artwork, an Internet presence, a press kit and a marketing/career plan. Apply all of the knowledge and skills developed during the program with assistance from Project Advisors who are experts in areas, including songwriting, music production, audio recording and graphic design. Initial assignments include producing song demos and creating a production schedule. One one-hour private Project Advising meeting per week plus assigned studio time for one quarter.


Recording Project 2

Complete and submit all elements of the final project, including final mixes, press kit, artwork and career plan, to the faculty panel for review and evaluation. One one-hour private Project Advising meeting per week plus assigned studio time for one quarter.

Recording Techniques 1

Learn to produce professional recordings in a project-studio environment. This portion of the course focuses on recording fundamentals and the process of tracking and overdubbing. You learn how to record your original songs using the school’s studios, as well as your own home setups. Specific topics include project-studio terminology, mic choice and placement, EQ, compression and vocal production techniques. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Recording Techniques 2

Building on the foundation of Recording Techniques I, this course focuses on the mixing and mastering process. You learn how to turn basic tracks into dynamic and professional finished products. Topics include effects, mixing, mastering, buying equipment and home-studio setup. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Apple Logic 1

Apple’s Logic Studio is a powerful music production package designed for music creators and producers. This Apple-certified course, when combined with Apple Logic 2, is equivalent to Apple’s own Logic 101 course. Topics covered include working with MIDI and audio, virtual instruments, effects, drum programming, time stretching and working with loops. This course is equivalent to VOCAL-113. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Apple Logic 2

The second level of this Apple-certified course focuses on using Logic as a mixing and mastering tool. Topics include effects, automation, scoring to picture, third-party plug-ins, and mastering using Logic’s companion program, Waveburner. Upon successful completion, you are eligible to take Apple’s Logic Pro Certification Exam. This course is equivalent to VOCAL-213. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Visual Media 1

Learn to design CD artwork, flyers, posters, and promotional merchandise and Internet banners using Adobe Photoshop©. Emphasis is on creating exciting and expressive designs that directly support music marketing campaigns. Detailed topics covered include Adobe Photoshop© basics, image manipulation, color theory, photo retouching, filters and elements of effective design in promotional materials and packaging. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Visual Media 2

The Internet has opened up an enormous opportunity for musicians to promote themselves directly to music fans. This class focuses on the technical skills needed to promote music online. Topics include creating banner ads, building a website using Apple iWeb, electronic press kits, creating and spreading playlists, podcasting, blogging, video editing basics and customizing social networking sites. Two lecture hours per week for two quarters.


Entertainment Business 1

This comprehensive course provides a foundational understanding of the music business as it exists today, including an overview of the DIY, independent, and major label arenas in which students will be working after graduation. Additional focus includes the types of business relationships that musicians are most likely to encounter and techniques for establishing realistic goals, preparing for the “long haul”, and staying motivated. This course is equivalent to VOCAL- 108. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.


Entertainment Business 2

Further exploration of the entertainment business with a focus on the independent artist sector of the industry and how artists and musicians can best exploit changing conditions to their career’s advantage. Topics include indie distribution deals, agents, managers, lawyers, starting your own company, fan base management, networking, alternate revenue streams, and more. This course is equivalent to VOCAL-208. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.


DIY Music Marketing

Essential self-marketing and promotional techniques used by modern artists to spread audio-visual materials across the marketplace. Topics include creating a presence on online music portals, DIY marketing strategies and techniques, identifying the target demographic, live show booking and an overview of current marketing tools. This course is equivalent to VOCAL-109. One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.


Songwriting 1

An introduction to songwriting through the study of the elements of contemporary song structure and style. Topics covered include a quick-start method to get you writing, general songwriting tips and techniques, foundational instruction on lyrics, structure, melody, groove and chords, and analytical study of contemporary hit songs. This course is equivalent to VOCAL-111. One lecture hour and one workshop hour per week for one quarter.



NOTE: Independent Artist Program students must complete at least five (5) of their seven (7) required elective units from the following list:


Synthesis and Sampling 1

This course covers the history of synthesizers, fundamentals of subtractive synthesis, sampling techniques and their application using Apple Logic software. Includes practical application of theory using the ES-1, ES-2 and Sculpture synthesizers as well as the EXS-24 sampler and Apple Loops utility. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Synthesis and Sampling 2

More advanced elements of subtractive synthesis as well as an introduction to FM and granular synthesis. You also learn to work with hardware synths and samplers, such as the Little Phatty, and Akai MPC. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.


Songwriting 2

Building upon the foundation provided in Songwriting 1, this course focuses on more advanced songwriting tips and techniques, further study of lyrical development, melody, groove and chords, as well as continued analytical study of contemporary songs. This course is equivalent to VOCAL-211. One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.


Intro to Music Publishing

An overview of music publishing from the artist’s perspective. Topics include copyright basics, how co-writers divide percentages in a composition, when the producer gets credit, protecting your compositions (PA and SR forms), what publishing companies can do for your career (song-plugging, advances, administration, marketing funds), and more. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Elective Private Lesson

Weekly one-hour private instrument lesson on bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, or vocals. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter; repeatable for credit.


Second Elective Private Lesson

An extra weekly lesson on bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, or vocals. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter. May be repeated for credit.


New Music Markets

Students explore ways of making money in new and different music markets, including getting endorsements, applying for showcases, grants, festival gigs, college shows and sponsorships. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.


Music Internship

Gain first-hand experience within the music industry by interning for a music-related company. Positions vary according to availability, but typically include music publishing, management, record label, promotion, or marketing. Specific responsibilities and working hours vary by position; minimum of ten weeks/three hours per week. Course enrollment is contingent on placement in a position. The MI Internship Coordinator will assist in placing students but cannot guarantee placement during a given quarter. May be repeated for credit.


Scoring for Film & Television 1

An overview of the TV and film industries as lucrative outlets for original music. Class covers the creative process of seeing a video and creating an audio track from scratch, including such factors as the equipment needed to get started, how to create tension and emotion in your music, considerations of time and space in a visual medium, and time code and sync tracks. Also covers the business side of how to create industry interest in your music, developing your reel, royalties, contracts, points, credits, and dealing with music supervisors. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Scoring for Film & Television 2

In this writing-intensive course, you learn to score a variety of scenes from comedy to drama to documentary with an emphasis on composition and revision. A guest director will provide you with experience in integrating the composer’s individual voice with the director’s objectives for his/her film. Two lecture/lab hours per week for one quarter.


Introduction to Pro Tools©

An introduction to the primary features and basic user interface of a Digital Audio Workstation. Using the latest version of industry-standard Avid Pro Tools© software, you learn how to use a computer for digital recording, editing and mixing by creating an actual song using Avid Pro Tools© software for recording, editing MIDI sequences, mixing, and mastering. Topics also include software instruments, DSP effects, and working with Rex Files. One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.


Artist Development: The Songs

During intensive one-on-one sessions, you and the instructor work on developing original songs from ideas to finished arrangements. One private lesson-rehearsal hour per week for ten weeks plus final presentation. May be repeated for credit.


Artist Development: The Show

The Songs and permission of Artist Development Coordinator. You and the instructor and develop live performances of original material written during “The Songs” with concentration on stage presence, movement, audience rapport, image, song sequence and entertainment value. At the conclusion, you present your best live material for evaluation and screening by a jury of guest experts. Selected students qualify for an additional video-recorded Industry showcase. One private lesson-rehearsal hour per week for ten weeks plus jury. May be repeated for credit.


Ableton Live

Learn to use Ableton Live software as a tool for creating, producing and performing music. You learn to create a live set, record and manipulate audio, edit and record MIDI, use softsynths and plug-ins, and how to incorporate into spontaneous live performances. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

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