“The recording process is great practice for what most musicians will
experience in the professional world,” said Taryn Hairston, who just
completed her first year as a UD student majoring in applied trumpet
performance. She came to UD from her home in Texas after working with
Clodfelter — via Skype lessons — while in high school. “I have just
started diving into DAWs and audio software, but I know for a fact that
learning how to engineer tracks will be a very useful skill in [my]
Although his students’ resources at home vary, with some having
limited space for recording or less sophisticated microphones, for
example, they have all been able to use a DAW program that is available
free of charge during the pandemic, Clodfelter said.
For Tyler Bouttavong, a graduate teaching assistant pursuing a
master’s degree in trumpet performance, DAWs aren’t entirely new. Before
starting graduate school, he taught music and performed for a few years
and was familiar with the recording process.
Now, he said, “To be recording audio and video for private trumpet
lessons and trumpet ensemble has been an incredible experience. … This
is such an important skill to have as a modern-day musician.”
Both Bouttavong and Hairston said they were nervous and a bit
skeptical about the transition to distance learning. They described the
interactions with other musicians as essential to the creative process,
but, they both said, students are continuing to find ways to collaborate
from their separate spaces.
“At first, I did not know how remote private lessons were going to
happen, but I was determined to make the best of it,” Bouttavong said.
“I always come into my online lessons determined to learn as much as
possible, and I always leave inspired.”
Hairston, a first-generation college student, admits that she misses
the in-person social aspect of performing with others, but she
appreciates the interactions that technology makes possible.
“My experience with learning online has expanded my appreciation of
teachers,” she said, describing her instructors as “more than
understanding” about the challenges students experience. “Though I
really chose UD because of Professor Clodfelter, I truly feel like I hit
the jackpot in regards to the rest of the staff and faculty.”
As for Clodfelter, he said he’s been impressed by his students’ ability to adapt and stay engaged.
“Learning to use DAWs is an important, real-world skill that they’ll
be able to use for the rest of their lives,” he said. “I give them
creative projects, and they’re learning to use the tools. We have some
wonderful, creative students at UD, and we’re getting some fantastic
To see how students and Clodfelter work with DAW-based lessons, view this video.
Article by Ann Manser; photos courtesy of Taryn Hairston, Tyler Bouttavong and Mark Clodfelter; video by Mark Clodfelter
Published June 3, 2020