Music Maker encourages students to pursue their dreams

By CulverPride, Culver City Crossroads

March 8, 2022

Culver City High School graduate Ian LeCheminant recently spoke to CCHS students in Introductory Music Technology and AVPA Media Music classes and told them to follow their dreams.

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Ian, Class of 2011, was a student in the first Media Music course ever offered by AVPA. One class project in particular stays with Ian, assigned by Chris Thomas, who was the first music and media theory teacher.

“The course started as a theory class and turned into a course in the art and craft of film scoring. We learned about film scores through the lenses of composers who helped tell the stories Chris provided us with a list of films organized alphabetically by composers We had to choose a film and write about each piece of music in the film, called “clues” in the media industry, as well as their function and their purpose in the story being told. I chose Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator at the suggestion of Chris, who thought I would appreciate Hans’ approach to music. His maximalist production value applied to a huge Wagnerian orchestra and a hybrid orchestral style really inspired me and reminded me of my roots and my love of rock and heavy metal.

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Ian works as a freelance media composer, music producer and technology consultant and has a versatile skill set, taking on various roles within media rating teams. Assisting with audio repair, sound mixing, data management, project management, sample development, music editing, video editing, and remote recording sessions, it does it all in the end goal to help tell the best story possible through appropriate and tasteful synchronicity. music, sound and images.

Ian recently completed his work as a member of the music department on Encanto, reporting directly to Oscar-nominated composer Germaine Franco (Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Tag, Little, Coco), where he was the project partition technician. He has worked on several projects as part of Germaine’s team, including the interactive theme park Kung Fu Panda: Land Of Awesomeness and the films Curious George: Go West, Go Wild, The Sleepover and Work It.

Her work in interactive media, with the project Kung Fu Panda: Land Of Awesomeness, changed her view of the critical role that music can have for an audience’s experience outside of the cinematic realm. Ian took this experience and extrapolated on the opportunities for music composition in all kinds of entertainment, letting CCHS students know that interactive video games, augmented reality and virtual reality all need music. He encouraged students not to be afraid to pursue their interests and reinforced the idea that all the designers they look up to were once high schoolers like them.

“I don’t have a degree in what I do. I didn’t even plan on doing what I do. It kind of happened over time,” he said. “I just knew I wanted to work professionally in music to some extent. I kept an open mind and just said ‘yes’ to the different opportunities as they came up and I always tried to do the best job possible for the project. I use what I learned at CCHS every day in my work.”

With very little money to buy his own equipment, he used the school computers.

“I stayed after school whenever I had the chance because I didn’t have any computer equipment at home,” he said. “I also said ‘yes’ to all the AVPA filmmakers who had just learned how to work with composers for the first time and how to use original music for their films, not pre-recorded music. is how you really learn this craft through endless collaboration, trying things out, and working with your peers.”

After graduation, Ian’s former teacher, Chris Thomas, gave Ian his first paid job. “I took care of his cats while he was traveling for work. He gave me access to his studio as a team, and working with people who are in the business is the best way to break in. »

Ian left the students with some final advice. “Try to write music for the area that interests you the most. If you like movies, try that. If you like video games, try that.”

AVPA Music Media Professor Jack Aron, who invited Ian to speak with Music Tech and Music Media students, took this opportunity to share with Ian about AVPA/CTE’s upcoming video game design journey, which will be available to CCHS students beginning in the 2022-2023 school year (subject to Board of Education approval).

Ian went on to recommend that students mark with a few still images, the script and/or key story points in mind when they start working on a project, to pay attention to the story in its together and not to get too carried away with technical details. synchronize the music to the picture when you start working on a new project.

“You need to have good content, themes and motifs that move the story forward. Write freely first, draw inspiration from the film’s story and your collaborators, then work on syncing your music with the movie. How you tell the story with the music is the most important thing. You should always be aware of the character’s journey and development, and make your music reflect that.

Ian’s final piece of advice was that in addition to having great ideas for music, you have to be able to sell it to directors and producers.

“How you present your demos is very important in this line of work,” he concluded. “Chris Thomas always told us to approach our demos as if they were going to be heard by our favorite film composers, to elevate your work to that level, to be detailed and thoughtful with the notes you put on the page and in the computer. Working under Germaine Franco has only reinforced that, she is a master of her craft.”

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