VonKelemen’s mission is to provide universal access to education — not just in the professional audio and music business disciplines, but broader realms encompassing contemporary arts, technology and business. The school, an online-learning center that opened its doors in 2011, provides a comprehensive ‘Master Series’ every two months for students pursuing careers in the music industry. Each five-day session is conducted by highly regarded authorities, such as GRAMMY Award winners Rafa Sardina, Moogie Canazio and Sebastian Krys. Last month, BAE Audio’s Colin Liebich was invited to conduct a master series on the history, selection and usage of outboard equipment in the studio.
As the first manufacturer representative to be invited to conduct a Master Series at VonKelemen, Liebich had a clear message for students attending the sessions in Costa Rica — as well as those attending remotely from countries including Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Argentina: ‘use your own ears.’ VonKelemen is something of a ‘diamond in the rough’, since there are very few schools in Latin America where students can get a foundational education for careers in the professional audio and music business. VonKelemen recognizes this, offering no less than 12,000 online scholarships for students each year.
“All our programs are online — this is the most efficient way for us to make a big impact in Latin America,” explains Ángel Vidal, Executive Director of VonKelemen Foundation. “This year we are granting full scholarships for students in sound engineering, music production and composition.” VonKelemen features a fully appointed recording studio in Costa Rica where students can practice, complete projects and apply lessons learned in a professional setting.
Liebich, who in addition to his role at BAE Audio is also founder of Plastic Dog Recording, a Los Angeles-based commercial recording facility, covered topics including the history of the preamplifier module and transformer, and the selection and application of vintage style preamplifiers, EQs, compressors and other outboard equipment. The VonKelemen Master Series included hands-on applications of the BAE Audio 1073MPL preamplifier, the 312 Preamp/EQ and the 1073D. Under the tutelage of Liebich, students were thrilled to be working with premium quality gear, and recording applications included electric guitar, keyboards, cajón, shakers and vocals, among others. “More than half of them brought in their own projects, and I was very impressed by the quality of their work,” Liebich recalls. “On a scale of 1 to 10, these students were a 9+. They were all very driven and eager to learn — it was great to see the class have a measurable impact.”
As someone who has carved his own way through the music business, Liebich was also able to communicate with students at their own level of need: “I was the only host who was not a GRAMMY Award winning producer, mixer or engineer,” he says. “So I spoke to them as a peer — as someone who built and worked in my own home studio and who once shared the same aspirations that many of them have now. I think this helped instill confidence among them.”
Vidal is an enthusiastic alumnus of VonKelemen’s audio program: “I really liked the program here and it was economically accessible for me to complete,” he observes. “There are many people who are passionate about these fields as a potential career choice, but they often do not have the resources needed to fulfill their education. That is why VonKelemen grants these scholarships, so people have the opportunity to study what they want. Our industry in Latin America needs more trained professionals, including studio and live sound engineers.”
Vidal says that the reaction to VonKelemen’s Master Series is always the same: “The students are very touched — not just from the tech side, but they are challenged to do what they want to do, to follow their dreams. The experience is truly inspirational.”
For more information on VonKelemen’s programs, please visit http://www.VonKelemen.com.