Summer will be here soon, and for Brandon Valdes ’18 of the Bronx in New York City, N.Y., that means an opportunity to participate in a selective summer music program for undergraduate students with a background in music technology and audio engineering.
Through his participation in the two-week-long New York University Summer Music Technology Intensive this June, Valdes not only will have access to some state-of-the-art recording facilities, he will engage in topics such as field recording, sound design, mastering, mixing, and physics of sound, as well as algorithmic composition.
Valdes hopes to use his bachelor’s degree in business administration to launch a career in music as a recording artist. A rapper/singer and a music producer, he said this opportunity means the world to him.
“I would love to create music for the rest of my life as a career,” he explained. “It has been a dream of mine to become a rapper and producer since I was a young boy, so this program is really a dream come true.”
Through the program, Valdes – who plays the keyboard and programs compositions on the computer using virtual instruments – will be introduced to the professional environment of musical recording as he learns new skills and studies how to mix music more efficiently.
After graduating next year, he hopes to find work in the field or continue in school to earn his master’s degree. Through contacts he will meet at the program, Valdes aims to land an internship at a New York City recording studio or finding a job at a record label. If he decides to head to graduate school instead, he plans to include the experience on his application to the Berklee College of Music.
Recently, he performed his own, original music at the Backup Spring Concert in the Campus Center. Earlier this month, Valdes performed in a Jazz Band concert – also on campus, in the MCLA Church Street Center. Next spring, he will serve as a teacher’s assistant for the “Advanced Recording” class. His other activities include holding a public relations e-board seat for the Latin American Society club.
Overall, his experience at MCLA helped Valdes with his successful admittance to this summer’s music program: Business classes prepared him to speak in a positive and professional manner, and marketing classes are helping him with a funding campaign to raise the tuition he needs to attend.
Valdes decided to attend MCLA because he wanted an experience different from those he might find in New York City, where he grew up.
“I always appreciated MCLA for its smaller size,” he said. “I can honestly say that I appreciate my professors. They all know my name and care to help their students as much as possible, unlike many other institutions. … Conversations with professors have played a big role in my academic success: I apply the advice that was given to me.”