Technology Meets Art at PAA

February 13, 2020 | Education | Liesl Vistaunet

Technology is giving Portland Adventist Academy students a way to enhance their creative expression in art, design and music.

In the digital media lab students build skills in photography, videography and graphic design. In the art studio, students can see their digital designs come to life with the help of 3D printers and a plasma cutter. And in the recording studio, students get to capture their music forever in time.

Music teacher Jeremy Long guides his students through fundamental building blocks of music and sound before learning to record in the school’s industry-standard recording studio.  

"Equivalent to learning the names of the strings on a guitar," says Long, "knowing how to use different kinds of microphones to capture sound is essential to an aspiring audio engineer." 

Daniel Ramos, a PAA senior, joined Long’s class with a solid foundation in music and the ambition to learn how to produce music with advanced technology. 

“The technical aspects of recording was definitely the most difficult thing to learn,” says Ramos. “But it was also what helped me create the sound I wanted.”

“The studio is an exciting yet daunting place with endless possibilities and a seemingly equal number of obstacles,” says Long. “But my students have done a fantastic job crossing that technical threshold.”

“When I see their eyes light up as they've figured something out,” says Long, “I try not to hover because that's when the studio becomes a musical playground, and I don't want to stand in the way.”

For Ramos, it was 90 hours of work and play that resulted in an original song and a collection of arranged songs he submitted as his senior project.

“Danny is an incredible musician with remarkable self-discipline,” says Long. “His senior project is an astonishing work of art. And, amazingly, it was his first real project in the studio.”

Long wasn’t the only one impressed. Ramos’ project was given a rare perfect score after he presented his work to a panel of adjudicating teachers who recognized the purpose of his project.

“I’ve always loved music,” he says. “I’ve seen that music lets Jesus speak into our lives. I’ve seen Him speaking to others, and I’ve felt Him speaking to me.”

Opening the doors of the recording studio finally allowed Ramos to capture the music that stirs inside him and to ultimately share it with others for the glory of God.

His original song, entitled “Surrender,” is an expression of a personal struggle and a mission to help others with similar challenges.

“I often catch myself trying to handle and control all aspects of life — academics, athletic success and even relationships with others," he says. "It was only when I surrendered my entire being and realized that victory is only found in Christ that my relationship with Him changed for the better, inspiring me to write this song.”

You can hear Daniel Ramos’ song “Surrender” on his SoundCloud page

Read more on the Portland Adventist Academy's website