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The annual Music Production Symposium was upon us once again this week. A hugely important event within the music production department, it allows third-year and masters students to give in-depth presentations regarding their research projects.

This year, the Symposium’s guest speaker was none other than Jan-Olof Gullö. Flying over from The Royal College of Sweden, his keynote speech was an eye-opening investigation into the lyrical content and back story of Deep Purple’s seminal Smoke on the Water. His speech highlighted the little-known (and highly eventful) story of the records’ recording and production process. With many behind-the-scenes photos and facts, it gave students valuable insight into the track’s history.

Following this, it was time for the music production students to share their research projects and findings with their fellow first and second-year peers. The subjects being spoken on were as diverse and as fascinating as you could imagine.

From subjects regarding the equipment and instruments, we know so well, such as an in-depth investigation into the use of the 1176 FET Compressor and the design philosophies of Fender and Gibson.

Music production techniques themselves were investigated, with the use of technology and how it affects composers’ creative processes. The music industry was spoken of, with copyright infringement and the history of the British charts both looked at.

Students analysed the benefits of the “Bedroom Studio” in relation to more professional environments, and investigated harmonic complexities in popular music.

All of these projects have been concieved by the students themselves. They demonstrate both the diverse interests the students studying music production at York St John University as well as the freedom they are given to choose the direction of their studies.

As the formal presentations drew to a close, it was time for the time-honoured tradition of the informal networking session. This allowed students and lecturers to relax and chat about the day’s events. As with the subjects spoken about during the day, the chats in the evening were equally as varied and diverse. It also gave the students a chance to chat informally to Jan-Olof, who joined the group in experiencing a small slice of York’s world-famous hospitality.

A fascinating and fun day, giving students an outlet for their research, and getting invaluable feedback from fellow students, tutors and world-renowned professionals within the world of music production.