Program Overview

New for 2020! In this creative and engaging Summer College program, high school students will learn the fundamentals of field recording and sound design in a recording studio and field environment. Topics include but are not limited to: microphone techniques, proper use of field recording equipment, Foley art, sound design for film, creating soundscapes, and editing. The techniques that students will acquire in becoming familiar with this technology have use in real world applications such as film, animation, gaming, music and more. This course introduces high school students to the tools and practices of sound design in a recording studio and field environment. Students will experience the full production process, from microphone technique and sound creation to editing sounds for use in video. In this course, students will start with taking an idea from the conceptual stages all the way to having a final product.

This course is hands-on and experiential. Every day we will investigate different techniques of sound design. You’ll see and hear for yourself how these techniques influence the material we produce, and ultimately affect your audience. The world of sound design and field recording is a vast and fascinating place. This is a great course to get you started, or to refine your techniques if you already work with sound.

Program Objectives

  • Learn how to properly use field recording equipment
  • Thoroughly comprehend Logic Pro X and the various sound design plug-ins
  • Work together in a group in order to come up with new and interesting ideas
  • Explore the Syracuse University campus and surrounding areas in order to record unique sounds that can later be manipulated
  • Utilize the editing software to sync your sounds up with video
  • Bring your portfolio to life!

Learn more about Field Recording and Sound Design:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session III: July 25 – August 7, 2020
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: Noncredit
Grading System: Pass/Fail

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

Apply Now!

Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $3,560
  • Commuter: $2,746

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Requirements

What to Bring

Students are not required to bring in their own equipment, audio programs, or projects as we have well-equipped workstations that will keep us busy. If you do have the means, feel free to bring your projects, ideas, and field recording equipment. This course runs on your creativity. You may also bring your videos, films, animations, songs, and game projects, if you would like to work on sound for those or to even just show the class your work. Bring anything you would like to make noise with, and we’ll show you how to record it and what to do with your recordings. I’m happy to consult with you before you come to Syracuse if you’re still not entirely sure what to bring.

Student Expectations

Your attention is necessary during our instructional time. Be sure to manage your time wisely in order to complete projects in a timely fashion. Be respectful of your peers, the equipment being used, and the studio rooms.

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

This class runs Monday through Friday, for the two-week duration of the program. Instructional sessions are taught from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Then your knowledge is put to practice during the required creativity sessions from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., where students will record sounds out in the field, design their own sounds in the studio, create soundscapes and/or sync their sounds to video. Additional studio time can be [and is encouraged to be] scheduled with your T.A. any time after 4:30 p.m. until curfew. This time is typically used in order to continue refining a current project, or to work on something completely new and experiment with new techniques.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Students visiting Subcat Studios
Students visiting Subcat Studios

Field Trips

Students are scheduled to go on a trip for an interactive tour of Subcat Music Studios, which is a professional recording studio located in the center of Downtown Syracuse. Students will be required to meet in class the morning of the trip and take the Connective Corridor shuttle down to the studio together.

End Event

On the last day of class, Friday, August 7, students will meet and have a presentation of their Final Projects. The morning session of this day will be used in order to make any last minute revisions. Presentations will begin around 12 pm. Parents are invited to join as well! Presentations typically take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours to complete.

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave on Friday, August 7 after 4:30pm upon the completion of the final class. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bios

Michael Ahearn

Michael Ahearn is a prolific sound engineer, specializing in live sound, sound design, audio production, recording, mixing, and mastering. Michael was previously a Teaching Assistant for the ‘Sound Engineering & Audio Production’ Summer College course for four summers in a row, and took lead as the Professor a couple summers ago. He is overjoyed to teach the new ‘Field Recording & Sound Design’ course this summer. He has also taught multiple semesters of the Intro and Advanced courses of ‘Audio Production and Recording’ at Syracuse University, through the Computer Art and Animation program in VPA’s Department of Transmedia. He was also the live sound engineer of the Turquoise Tiger night club at Turning Stone Resort Casino for over 3 years. He enjoys writing his own music, such as electronic music, soundscapes, and indie pop rock. Along with coding his own instruments and effects in Max, a node-based audio/visual programming language, he has also been known for turning his Xbox 360 controller into a MIDI effects controller for live performances.