MCTS Santa Barbara-Music Tech For Music Educators

Music Production Rules!
Professional Development. A masterclass for educators in Recording, Music Tech and Audio Engineering

Alan Parsons

Date: July 25th, 2019
Country: USA
Venue: ParSonics Studios
Event: MCTS Level 1
Leaders: Alan Parsons / Julian Colbeck
Engineer: Noah Bruskin
Event Manager: Terry Shields
Event Producer: Julian Colbeck


The first class in our inaugural series of master classes to be held at Alan Parson's state-of-the-art studio in Santa Barbara is designed especially for Music Educators.

This full day of Professional Development combines invaluable insights into teaching music production, with approaches, lesson plans, projects and more, plus a hands-on module where Alan will demonstrate the simultaneous recording of acoustic guitar with vocal.

This action-packed day is divided into a number of individual sessions on specific aspects of teaching music production. We'll be adding details on some guest session presenters over the next few weeks.

Who should attend? Are you an educator with an existing music production or music tech program? Are you a band or choir director looking to develop a music production or music tech program? Are you an educator who's currently running a video course? Are you an engineer or recording studio that's considering offering classes? We want and are expecting a wide range of attendees, from middle and high school through to community college and university levels. The mix will be part of the learning experience.

What will I get out of this? First, you'll get a Certificate Of Completion signed by Alan Parsons to show you have completed an industry-authorized training session on best practices for teaching music production. You will mix with and hear from professionals who work in the industry. You will get specific insights into software and hardware that the industry recognizes, trusts and uses. You will get to know a select team of people you can turn to for advice and training in the future. You will be able to take notes, pictures and video to show your students when you return.

Two additional master classes are being held at ParSonics on 26th and 27th of July, one a mix session, the other a full recording session. If you'd like to attend either or both of these as well we're pleased to offer discounted 'multi-day' tickets. Please click here for details on the class 'In The Mix' (July 26th) and here for details on the class 'Life's A Long Song' (July 27th).

The Sessions

Session 1 Journey Not Destination A look at the pedagogy, and realistic goals and expectations for your students
Session 2 Inspiration How to ignite the passion
Session 3 CTE Vs VAPA Joining forces. It’s all music!
Session 4 Finding The Funding Money is there if you know where to find it
Session 5 Certification
Session 6 Are All DAWs Made Equal? What are the best choices in 2019 and does it matter?
Session 7 Show Me The Results How do your students find jobs in the industry?
Session 8 Recording Acoustic Guitar With Vocal Alan Parsons personally sets up a live session from the ASSR video series

The Venue

ParSonics studio is situated on Alan Parsons' at his Tres Vientos Ranch in the hills above Santa Barbara. This state-of-the-art facility has a 32-channel Neve 5088 analog console, 5.1 monitoring through B&W 802 Diamond Loudspesakers and a selection of microphones collected by Alan over his 40+ year long career such as his Neumann U47 FET (Field-Effect Transistor) and British Coles 4038 ribbon mics as well as interesting newer items like the Neve RNR1 ribbon mic, personally given to Alan by Rupert Neve. Talk about bragging rights!

A Life In The Day
What it’s like working in the studio with Alan Parsons

The key ingredient in any Master Class is hang time with the Master. Not hang time in terms of swapping jokes or sharing the peanuts but considered, observational hang time where you’re able to pick up on the vibe, the pacing, the approach to the day’s proceedings.

These days it can seem everyone has the same information available to them and to some extent we have. How to mic a snare (“use a 57”), how to record upright piano (“point a pair of AKG C12’s at the back from a foot and half away”) but exactly where to point the 57 on ‘this’ snare, how much stereo to shoot for on the upright are the details on which the devil bases almost all his levels of success.

The beauty of MCTS events is that there’s time and opportunity to ask and get answers, to live and learn. And also to contribute.

Validation is often quoted as one of the most valuable take-aways from an MCTS. “I was just going to suggest a little boost at 12k” said one Attendee. “And then Alan comes up and says ‘I think we need a little more at 12k’ and I was like YES!” Hearing can sometimes just be believing in yourself. At the other end of the spectrum are those “You’re right but I’d never have thought of that” moments like when Alan stunned a session in Buenos Aires by physically EQ-ing the left and right overheads and not simply ‘copying’ left and right settings and reminding them: “Recording is about how it sounds, not about how it looks.”

MCTS events are both hands-on and feet on the ground affairs. In fact knees on the ground as often as not. Alan is not averse to plonking himself down n the floor to nudge a mic a half an inch to the right so that it’ll escape the worst of the spill from a neighboring sound source.

There will be many moments in an AP session where the muse and the magic starts to flow. Often you’ve got to be quick and really pay attention to ‘what just happened’. Alan is not going to bang a gong (literally or figuratively) and either telegraph every move he’s making or make some big deal of it after. So much of what makes a great producer or engineer is taste and instinct that the observer needs to keep their wits about them in order to distill a particular moment into tangible lesson form.

Much of what Alan Parsons is all about he learned at Abbey Road, be it overarching concepts like ‘value for money’ or the particular such as miking a concert Grand piano. At all levels, benefiting from Alan‘s lifetime of experience in two day’s worth of work is an exhausting and exhilarating experience for everyone involved.

The control room looks through to a generous sized tracking room with adjoining iso booths.

The facility has its own luxurious green room and catering area; a spacious patio area overlooks the Pacific Ocean and can accommodate both dining and outside seminars.

ParSonics was completed in 2018 and was used in the recording of Alan Parsons' most recent album The Secret, released on the Frontiers label May 2019.

There is a wide range of hotels in Goleta, the Santa Barbara satellite city closest to ParSonics. We can personally recommend (i.e. have stayed there):
Ritz-Carlton Bacara 8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117-2474 • (844) 631-0595 Upscale resort with fine dining.
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta 6878 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117 • (805) 562-5996. Very pleasant facility a short drive from the studio.
Pacifica Suites 5490 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara (805) 683-6722 Professional mid price option.
Motel 6 5897 Calle Real, Goleta, CA (805) 964-3596 Only a 2-star but clean and perfectly acceptable.

The Artist

Alan Parsons was trained at Abbey Road Studios in London, working under the direction of Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick and Beatles producer George Martin. After working with The Beatles on Let It Be and Abbey Road Alan started working as a full-fledged engineer with Paul McCartney, Wings, George Harrison, and countless other artists who came to Abbey Road studios.

In 1972 Alan became the sole engineer working with Pink Floyd on Dark Side Of The Moon, a record which would go on to sell more than 45m copies.

Alan went on to become one of the most successful producers of the 1970s and 1980s, producing a string of hits with artists such as Pilot, Al Stewart, Ambrosia, Cockney Rebel, John Miles and of course The Alan Parsons Project, a concept created by himself and Eric Woolfson.

Post 'Project' Alan Parsons has continued to work as an independent producer with such artists as Jake Shimabukuro, Steven Wilson and Yes. Alan runs a highly successful touring band (The Alan Parsons Live Project).

In 2019 Alan won a Grammy for best immersive album for the re-mastered 35th Anniversary Edition of his hit album Eye In The Sky and also released his fifth solo album The Secret, much of which was recorded at ParSonics Studio.


Thursday July 25th 2019

  • 09.30–10.00 Welcome, Registration. Coffee and pastries.
  • 10.00–10.30 Session 1
  • 10.30–11.00 Session 2
  • 11.00–11.45 Session 3
  • 12.00–1.00 Session 4
  • 1.00-2.00 Lunch on the patio with Alan Parsons and other presenters.
  • 2.00–3.00 Session 5 / 6
  • 3.00–3.45 Session 7
  • 4.00–6.30 Session 8 Recording Acoustic Guitar with Vocal - A hands-on session with Alan Parsons
  • 6.45–7.45Q&A with light refreshments served
  • Only 5 Tickets still available

    Purchase your ticket for this event ($795)

    There are two additional events being held at ParSonics on July 26th and July 27th. If you are interested in attending either or both please follow the links for more details and discounted 'multi-day' pricing.

    All enquiries to or to KEYFAX NewMedia on 1-800-752-2780