Music Production and Recording Arts Adjunct Professor Steve La Cerra recently wrote two columns in Mix magazine that described what it was like to teach during the fall 2020 term while Mercy adjusted to COVID-19 precautions. He is a regular columnist and tech editor for Mix, a respected national magazine for recording and sound professionals that publishes both in print and online.
In September, La Cerra’s column entitled “Mix Blog Live: Which Group Am I In?” discussed the first week of classes. He explained, for example, that in his Recording Workshop I class, he had to re-organize the class schedule so that small groups of students worked in the studio on alternate weeks in order to comply with the maximum in-person numbers permitted by New York State. To preserve studio time for hands-on learning, he assigned much of the course material for students to complete independently.
In his mid-November column, “Mix Blog Live: Holding My Breath”, La Cerra reported that the semester was going well and that he hoped he could continue teaching in-person. “The idea of teaching my students how to reamp a guitar track or mic a drum set online is not exactly appetizing…and it’d be a drag for them because they’ve been so excited about being in the studio.”
When Mercy decided to move most classes online in early December, La Cerra’s classes were granted an exemption with strict COVID-19 guidelines to remain in-person given their reliance on studio time in order to fulfil their graduation requirements. He was ecstatic because he knew that audio production classes would be difficult to teach remotely since many Mercy students do not have access to all the necessary equipment or technology at home.
La Cerra regularly draws on his experience teaching at Mercy while writing his columns for Mix. “Students are constantly teaching me about audio and about life,” he said. His work at Mix often enhances his teaching too: “I do product reviews for Mix, and that often gives me a chance to bring equipment to Mercy for the students to try. Or sometimes a student will ask if I have tried a certain audio product, so I might go to Mix with a request to do a review for that product.” He has also made connections through Mix who he later invited to visit his classes at Mercy.
Adjunct professors like La Cerra who are industry professionals and work in the field they teach enhance Mercy student experiences in the classroom. Through exposure to real-world scenarios adjunct professors reference in their classrooms, Mercy students are better qualified to excel their careers.