ASU alum opens music production school

CREATING MUSIC: Sergio Castillo, a senior business communications major and graduate student of the Sequence music program, records a track in the studio. Sequence was founded by ASU alum (and current CEO) Brandon Weinberger, who graduated in 2009. (Photo by Michael Arellano)

Two turntables and a microphone aren’t the only things needed to make a song anymore.

Brandon Weinberger, a 2009 ASU graduate in interdisciplinary studies, recently started his own music production school to teach students how to make songs using computer software.

“I’m helping release the inner artist in them,” Weinberger said of his students.

The school — Sequence Music Production — opened in August.


State Press Television
By Arielle Hurst

After graduating, Weinberger interned and studied at a DJ school in New York City called Dubspot.

“I learned a lot there,” Weinberger said. “It took my skill set to the next level.”

He learned the art of music production using the software Ableton Live, which to Weinberger is the “Photoshop of music production.”

He was in New York City for six months and came back to Arizona in June to find there were no schools that taught music production.

About two months later, he started his own school out of his home in Tempe.

“The courses are based off of teaching students how to create a track from start to finish,” Weinberger said.

At first, he started teaching practice classes to friends, and then started finding students.

English literature junior Sam Lowy was one of Weinberger’s first students and completed an eight-week course.

“I had no idea the knowledge of how sound works and how to make specific sounds,” Lowy said.

Lowy wants to continue taking classes with Weinberger.

“I have a large interest in music,” Lowy said. “It’s definitely one of the most interesting hobbies I’ve ever had.”

Weinberger promoted the school by handing out fliers and speaking to people at nightclubs. He later received callbacks, and students started filling the rooms of his studio.

His home studio is small, so he only has one to three students learning at a time.

“People get to come in and all the equipment is here,” Weinberger said.

There are more than 40 different courses about Ableton Live, including how to make and master a song, and each lesson is two hours at $15 an hour. So far, 10 students have completed or are currently taking courses, Weinberger said.

The length of the course depends on the skill of the students and the amount of time they have to attend courses.

“You can get all the information out of a manual, but I think that getting knowledge out of a human being is much more powerful,” Weinberger said.

There are three different workstations in the studio.

“I used to have a curriculum based around my schedule, and then I learned that people have work and school,” Weinberger said.

Students learn how to use Ableton Live and how to create a song to the point where it can be professionally released, Weinberger said.

“They comprise the track and from then on it’s an adventure,” Weinberger said.

Students come to class with their favorite song and enter it into the software and analyze everything from the drums to the guitar riffs to bass.

“I describe how drums are created and the different variations and then you would learn how to create your own drums,” Weinberger said.

Business and communications senior Sergio Castillo took an eight-week course with Weinberger.

Castillo saw videos of Weinberger’s music online and liked the music he heard.

He learned how to separate elements of a song and create his own.

“Then he taught me how to use that software with vocal recording and music recording,” Castillo said.

Castillo was a DJ before but is a yoga instructor at ASU and makes music for his classes.

When students ask where they can find the songs, Castillo has them download the songs or he will make a copy of the CD for them.

“In that market, it’s something new,” Castillo said. “If I could go pro with that, that’d be awesome.”

Each student has different skills, Weinberger said. In the first, he sits with students and figures out where they need to begin.

“With technology these days, you don’t have to be a musician,” Weinberger said.

He is the only teacher at the moment, but is thinking about hiring more instructors.

Reach the reporter at mpareval@asu.edu