Audio Artisan

Bloomsburg

Posted

By Jaclyn Price

Alden Sparks, a senior sound recording major has had an unconventional education at CU–Bloomsburg. 

Coming to Bloomsburg as an undeclared student, Sparks found her love for songwriting during freshman year. Pushing herself out of her comfort zone and allotting herself time to explore music led her to the music program. 

“My experience with choir in high school didn’t give me the confidence to explore songwriting and strengthen my skills,” Sparks says. “Coming to Bloom let me explore the music program and made me realize I had a knack for it.” 

“I have taken voice lessons with Dr. Alan Baker for six semesters. In my lessons with Dr. Baker, I learned how to sing opera. Learning opera has been the best experience for my voice because it has helped me develop my voice so much,” says Sparks. “My range is a lot wider now and I know how to properly breathe while singing. Both of these things help me sing better in any genre.”

Sparks, a theater technician for Arts in Bloom and a tenor in Husky Singers, has excelled in the fundamentals of sound recording. Much of her time is spent ensuring the technology in Haas Center and Carver Hall’s Gross Auditorium is running smoothly and connected to the center console. 

Sparks has had numerous academic projects that build upon her skills. A favorite of hers is the Electronic Music class, where she produced music inspired by cut tapes. “I took random samples, reversed, and pitched them to create a unique sound,” she says. “I was able to create an ambient forest sound with bears growling and wolves howling.” 

“One of the weirdest projects I had to work on was to put audio over a cranberry sauce commercial,” Spark says. “In my Music and Production class, we learned the importance of music and its effect on consumers. I decided to put a song from SpongeBob over the commercial to get my theme across.” 

How sound functions in day-to-day life is a concept Sparks ponders often. Sound and society together are important to the senior since there are many misconceptions about her field. 
“Sound is everywhere. Think about the music that plays while at your favorite coffee shop or grocery store,” Sparks says. “Someone like me had to install a speaker or produce the music. Sound is everywhere.” 

“Something challenging in this field is how male-dominated it is,” Sparks said. "I always feel the need to overachieve and prove myself. It’s a very techy place, being a creative person makes it a little harder to grasp the machinery.” 

At an internship in the summer of 2023 at Oxford Recording Studio in Philadelphia, Sparks came to love the production side of the music industry. “It was such a fun experience working with musicians and figuring out how to piece together music.”

Sparks recorded one of her own songs while completing the internship. “It was an awesome experience, I learned so much about my music and the industry.” Her song, “Unknown” is available on Apple Music and YouTube Music

“I’m not quite sure what I have in store for my future,” Sparks says. “I just want to be doing something. I came here to be a songwriter and I’m now on the technical side of things.” 

Sparks plans to surround herself with people in the music industry and say yes to any opportunity that comes her way, maybe even get a master’s degree. She looks forward to expanding her interest in art and getting better at crocheting and making clay figurines. “At the end of the day, I’m an artist, in any form.”

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