It takes two to make education in the recording arts a hands-on experience. Ardent Records has recently partnered up Visible School, a Christian school of music and worship arts whose motto is See Yourself, See God, Be Visible to help the school expand its program.
"We are pleased and honored to be joining forces with Ardent to offer state-of-the-art training to our Audio Production students," says Visible School. "Working with Ardent will give our students the opportunity to learn in a professional environment from some the most respected producers and engineers in the business."
John Fry, who founded Ardent Records in 1996, gave an overview of the plans Ardent Records and Visible School have in adding to the schools curriculum.
"We had been talking to them about two things. One was helping them expand their program, because it was initially a one-year program: nine months of classes plus a three-month, summer, practical-application exercise of some kind. They had people saying, 'We want more.'
"Plus, while the Visible School itself has a uniquely Christian mission -- it's directed toward people who want to be in Christian music -- we also wanted to develop an independent path that would be very similar to the course content it presently has, but for persons who were not directed toward specifically working in Christian music."
Ardents clients include some of the best names in Christian and mainstream music: Dave Matthews, Skillet, Three Doors Down, Audio Adrenaline, ZZ Top, dc Talk, Led Zeppelin, R.E.M., Big Tent Revival, Al Green, and Jonah33.
Skillets guitarist Ken Steorts founded the Visible School in 2000. Before enlisting with Ardent label Skillet, Steorts worked as an intern in an Ardent studio.
According to Steorts, first-year students will receive a chance to spend 30% of their learning experience at Ardent while second-year students may spend up to 60%. This experience will also go in conjunction with that gained at Visible School and Visible Media Group learning centers, independently owned digital project studio Sounds Eternal, and Web design and new-media studio 818 Studios.
Steorts feels that the partnership between Visible School and Ardent Records will definitely be a plus. He says, "[Ardent] is definitely a more large-scale music environment and mainstream music. We do a lot with Christian music in our facility, but there's a lot more real-world experience at Ardent."
According to Fry, education is more important than ever considering the rapid influx of new technology that allow many people to record and produce independently.
"The fact of the matter is, there are an awful lot more people that want to do music recording and various kinds of video and media work in settings and for purposes that didn't exist in the past, says Fry.
"These folks really want or need to be able to do this work themselves, but they need to know what it is that they're doing. It's great for this equipment to be affordable, but it still requires skillful and knowledgeable use."