Columbia College Chicago – Spring 2010
Introduction to Pro Tools for Producers
Columbia College Chicago 600 S. Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605
Arts Entertainment and Media Management
Department Phone Number: 312 369 7652
Class Time & Day: 6:30pm – 9:20pm Wednesday.
Building: 624 S. Michigan, room 704
Instructor: Robert DiFazio
Office hours: By appointment
Office location: 618 South Michigan Bldg., AEMM Dept. Office on the 7th Flr.
Course Description: Course provides an introduction to music production using Digidesign Pro
Tools software as it applies to the music producer. Topics include Digidesign hardware interfaces,
Pro Tools software use, time efficiency using the software, industry standard plug-in use, and
digital recording session organization.
Course Rationale: This course will provide students with the information and training needed to
understand recording studio practices as they relate to digital audio recording. The course will
present industry standard production techniques including audio editing, processing, basic MIDI
functions, and Pro Tools session setup.
Prerequisite Courses: Producing Recorded Music I, Producing Recorded Music II
Course Objectives: Through instructor lectures, audio and visual presentations, and hands on
exercises, students at the successful completion of this course will be able to:
1. Understand the components of a Pro Tools digital audio workstation.
2. Understand editing and signal processing and express these functions to a recording
3. Quickly maneuver through software based recording systems.
4. Develop money saving techniques for use in record production.
5. Use specialized software plug-ins such as Auto Tune and Sound Replacer.
6. Communicate critical thought about recording session concepts through the written word.
7. Use basic functions of a digital control surface.
Participation: Participation, is a major part of your grade. Students are responsible to engage in
class discussion. Participation will show the instructor that you have read and understand the
Pro Tools Reference Guide v7.4 (English)
Pro Tools 7.4 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts (PDF)
Getting Started with Mbox 2 (PDF)
Both documents can be downloaded for free under the support section at Digidesign.com
Note: Students are highly advised to purchase professional quality headphones in order to
complete take home assignments.
Course fee: $150.00
Conaway Center Statement:
Students with disabilities are requested to present their Columbia accommodation letters to their
instructor at the beginning of the semester so that accommodations can be arranged in a timely
manner by the College, the department or the faculty member, as appropriate. Students with
disabilities who do not have accommodation letters should visit the office of Services for Students
with Disabilities in room 520 of the 33 East Congress building (312.344.8134/V or
312.360.0767/TTY). It is incumbent upon the students to know their responsibilities in this regard.
Statement of Academic Integrity:
Students at Columbia College enjoy significant freedom of artistic expression and are encouraged
to stretch their scholarly and artistic boundaries. However, the College prohibits all forms of
academic dishonesty. For present purposes, "academic dishonesty" is understood as the
appropriation and representation of another's work as one's own, whether such appropriation
includes all or part of the other's work or whether it comprises all or part of what is represented as
one's own work (plagiarism). Appropriate citation avoids this form of dishonesty. In addition,
"academic dishonesty" includes cheating in any form, the falsification of academic documents or
the falsification of works or references for use in class or other academic circumstances. When
such dishonesty is discovered, the consequences to the student can be severe.
Grading: A – 90 to100pts, B - 80 to 89pts, C - 70 to 79pts, D - 60 to 69pts, F - 0 to 59pts
Peer Teaching – 10pts
Midterm Paper – 10pts
Final Paper – 10pts
Quizzes – 15pts
Participation - 15pts
Independent Project – 20pts
Final Exam – 20pts (10 written questions / 10 hands on activities)
Peer Teaching Assignment: Each week, one student will be assigned to give a 5-10 minute
summary of the previous week’s reading assignment. The student should do their best to
understand the material in the text and creatively explain what they have learned. The student
should also bring enough questions for each of the students in the class to answer at least
one. Questions should be based on the reading assignments assigned the previous week.
Quizzes: You will have four take-home quizzes that you will complete with a partner. You must be
prepared for each quiz by reading the assigned material, as well as studying notes from previous
lectures. The quiz will primarily cover the most recent lecture as well material covered throughout
the semester. There will be questions and tasks that you must complete using the provided mobile
DAW stations (you will be allowed to check these out for one week). It is your responsibility to be
prepared to show the knowledge you have learned from the readings and lectures. There will be
NO make-up quizzes so please turn in your assignment on time (the following class).
Midterm Paper: The Midterm paper layout should be in accordance with this syllabus and
Chapters 1&14 of A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations Sixth Edition-
Kate L. Turabian. (Available in the bookstore and library). This syllabus takes precedents over any
conflicts between the syllabus and the manual. This paper must include a title page. Table of
contents is optional. Also required are footnotes (not endnotes) and a bibliography. The format for
footnotes and bibliographies must be in accordance with A Manual for Writers of Term Papers,
Theses, and Dissertations -Kate L. Turabian.
Your Mid term paper must be at least 5 fully typed white 81/2” by 11” (no three hole punched
paper) pages, double spaced, 12 point, Times black font (no bold or italic except for emphasis of
nouns and titles), unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. Margins must be between .05" and
1” all around (the last content page must also reflect this margin requirement at the bottom),
bottom margins are measured from the last sentence on the page, not from the page number.
Additionally, when using footnotes, the 1” margin is measured from the last line of the footnote.
Footnotes must be in a smaller font than the content font and be single-spaced. Page numbers
must be on the bottom right footer of each page except the first content page (no page number on
first content page). Papers are to be stapled in the upper left margin. You must have a cover page
for your Midterm paper. Your cover page must read as follows: line one: Your name, line two:
class name; line three: day and time of class; line four: assignment due date. This information must
be single spaced and centered in the middle of the page.
All papers, even when handed in late, must meet the requirements as outlined in this syllabus. Do
not turn your paper in with any type of folder or binder.
If any of the criteria are not followed, your grade for each breach (a maximum deduction of
two grades) will be lowered by one letter. Students will have an opportunity to re-write the
paper, for a maximum Midterm paper grade of 80 percent, if they are not satisfied with their
Additionally, your grade for written assignments may be based on content only, format/structure
only, following directions only or a combination of all three. This means that you must follow all
requirements at all times as is reflected in the syllabus.
Your Midterm paper must be handed in (not emailed) at the beginning of class on the date it is
due, even if you are absent —this means that papers will not be accepted during or after class is
over. If the due date is missed, you must turn in your paper at the beginning of the next class after
the due date. Late papers will be reduced by one letter grade. Any paper turned in after the late
date will be considered turned in but the grade will reflect an F. All writing criteria as indicated
above must be met in order to receive credit for turning in a late paper. Late papers that do not
meet ALL criteria will not be accepted.
For exceptional cases only, with instructor permission by email, you may e-mail your papers (only
as an attached "Word" file). It is the student’s responsibility to ensure their papers are turned in on
time. When using email, transmission and formatting problems related to Internet delivery, no
matter how it happens, cannot be used as an excuse for incorrect or late papers.
It is recommended that students keep a copy of all graded work. If for any reason a student's
paper is not returned by the instructor or TA, or a grade for a paper is not annotated in the
instructors grade book, it is the responsibility of the student to show clear evidence that the paper
was turned in and or graded. If this evidence is not provided, the required work will be considered
not submitted. We do not accept faxed assignments.
You are required to turn in every assignment and take the final exam before the end of the
semester. There are no incompletes given.
If your Midterm paper is not turned in or the final exam is not taken, the student will receive
an automatic F for the course.
Subject of Papers:
Midterm paper: will be a summary of the techniques and concepts that have been discussed in
class so far. This paper is meant to ensure that the student has been keeping up with the reading
and has been putting fourth a conscious effort to engage in the course. Please use examples of
real-life situations in which each concept would be used. Paper should be 5 -10 pages in length.
Final Paper: The final paper will be a 10 to 12 page version of the Midterm paper. Please include
any new topics discussed as well as ways in which you have used these concepts in your take-
home quiz assignments.
Final Exam: The final exam will cover material from reading assignments and lectures as well as
any guest lecturer discussions. The student must complete the exam within the class period. There
will also be a hands-on skills portion of the test in which the student will be required to demonstrate
their ability to use the Pro Tools recording system. The skills portion will be timed.
A schedule of Homework assignments will be delivered on week 2 once DAW
partners have been assigned.
Lesson 1 – Administrative, Conceptual Overview
Introduction to course, syllabus, papers, and text. Meet and greet, pick partners.
Introductions to DAWs
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – Chapter 2, 4 and 10
Lesson 2 – Pro Tools
Digidesign hardware, Session setup, Tempo.
File organization and backing up to CD.
Listening Lab 1
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – Chapter 6 and 17
Lesson 3 - Ins and Outs
Pro Tools inputs, outputs, and busses.
Listening Lab 2
Quiz#1 – Setting up Pro Tools Sessions and marker placement.
Reading: Pro Tools Manual - Chapter 7 and 8
Lesson 4 – Editing 1
Editing – Trimming, fading, and moving regions. Editing with speed. The Smart tool. Preparing a
session for mixing. Midterm paper.
Listening Lab 3
Midterm Paper Assigned
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – Chapter 10 and 18
Lesson 5 – Looping and MIDI 1
MIDI and Pro Tools, a useful tool for entrepreneurs and producers.
Listening Lab 4
Reading Ch 13 – Chapter 18 and 21
Lesson 6 – MIDI 2
Midterm Paper due
Listening Lab 5
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – Chapter 24, 25 and 26
Lesson 7 – Processing 1
Re-introduction to processors and why producers should know what they do.
Listening Lab 6
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – Chapter 27, 28 and 29
Lesson 8- Processing 2
Lecture: Pro Tools plug ins.
Listening Lab 7
Quiz#3 - Processing
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – 30, 31 and 32
Lesson 9 – Control Surfaces/automation
HUI and other controllers. Intro to automation.
Listening Lab 8
Make-up papers due
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – 34, 35 and 36
Lesson 10 – Automation
Listening Lab 9
Quiz#4 – Control surfaces/Automation
Reading: Chapter 38
Lesson 13- Sound Replacer
Sound Replacer overview.
Listening Lab 12
Quiz#5 – Bounce to disk and review for final.
Reading: AutoTune Maual
Lesson 11 – Autotune 1
Listening Lab 10
Reading: Chapter 39, 40, 41
Lesson 12 – Surround Sound
Hands on with Autotune
Surround Sound Lecture
Listening Lab 11
Reading: Pro Tools Manual – beat detective
Lecture – Using Beat Detective
Listening Lab 13
Final Papers Due
Review for Final
Notes to the syllabus
This syllabus may be amended as the course proceeds. Students will be notified of all changes.