Recording arts student Lizz Ladd finds collaborative environment, hands-on experience at LMU

LMU SCHOOL OF FILM AND TELEVISION | As one of the few major film schools with a degree in recording arts, Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television offers a hands-on discipline where students study both sound editorial for film and television, and music engineering and recording. 

Junior recording arts major Lizz Ladd shares her experience with LMU’s recording arts program, her favorite SFTV class and what she hopes to do after graduation.

Why Loyola Marymount University? 

I chose LMU mostly because of the location. I didn’t know for sure whether I wanted to go into film or music, and Los Angeles has both. I also wanted to get a four-year degree because I really value the education of the whole person, but most audio programs are at technical schools. What I have found, though, is the best part about LMU is the people. It’s such a collaborative environment and everyone just wants to work together to create something meaningful. All the people in the recording arts major I would call some of my best friends. 

What project or artist inspired you to major in recording arts? 

The summer before my senior year of high school I spent the summer at Syracuse University doing a summer program in recording arts. This was the first time I got to work with a bunch of like-minded, passionate students and create music. We recorded a few covers and also wrote, recorded, and mixed an original song. It was my first time getting to work in a studio. I thought it would be so cool to have a job like that. 

What genre of music do you prefer? 

It’s hard to say. It depends on the kind of mood that I’m in. I listen to everything from rock to country to pop to indie to Irish-punk. If I had to pick, though, I always love listening to film scores. There is so much emotion that goes into the music and without it, films wouldn’t be nearly as powerful. 

When did you discover your passion for recording arts?

It was kind of a discovery over time. I was a band and choir kid, and played trumpet in jazz band, concert band, and orchestra for 10 years before college. I have always loved live concerts, musicals, and listening to albums. I even made music videos with my cousins when we were in middle school. Music has always been a central part of my life, and when it came to trying to figure out what I wanted to major in, I knew I didn’t want to perform or teach, so I started looking into more “behind-the-scenes” stuff. That’s when I found recording arts and knew that’s what I wanted to do. 

What project are you currently working on? 

Currently I’m working on an animation for a senior thesis. This includes recording all of the voice actors, editing it, and creating all of the sound design. It’s a lot of fun because you get to be more creative than working on a live action film. I will also be recording a garage rock band live in our studio class later this semester. 

What has been your favorite SFTV class and why?

I love our Live Studio Recording class with Matt Linesch. We’ve learned all about how to use the API console, outboard gear and microphones that are in the studio. We do listening exercises each week where we bring in a song from different decades and analyze the production of the song. This is training our ears so that when it’s time for us to record our bands later this semester, we’ll have a vision of what we want it to sound like and we’ll know what to do in order to get that sound. It’s a mix between learning both the technical parts and the emotional parts of music recording, both of which are crucial. While most of our classes so far have been more technical based, this class reminded me of the power of music and why I wanted to go into music in the first place. 

What do you want to do when you graduate? 

I know that I want to move back to the east coast after I graduate. There is a big live music scene out there, so I might look for opportunities in a venue or freelancing. There’s really a lot of different areas in audio to go into like broadcasting, post production audio, studio recording, live production, podcast producing, audio visual technology, forensic audio, acoustics, etc., so chances are I’ll end up doing a couple of different things. But that’s what makes it exciting!

If you could work with ANY musician or filmmaker in the world- who would you choose?

I would love to engineer an album by Vampire Weekend. They explore a number of different genres in their “Father of the Bride” album, including R&B, soul, country, folk, rock, art pop and baroque pop. They use dark lyrics against bright instrumentals, and they create really beautiful music. As a music engineer, it would be fun to work with a band as creative and unique as Vampire Weekend.