Pinkerton Audio Music Production Class First in State

Scott Hayward watched as one of his students, Brendan Logan, sat down at a drum kit set up on the stage of the Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy. Logan beat out a lively rhythm, which caused some of the students to put their hands over their ears. “That,” Hayward said, “is why we use a rug.”

Hayward, owner of the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, brings his real-world expertise to the school every week as the instructor of the new Introduction to Audio course. Hayward’s course teaches students the basics of music production, music venues and bedrock information such as setting up a drum kit.

The drum kit was the focus in a recent class as more than a dozen students gathered on music risers on the stage.

Hayward doesn’t skimp on equipment – he uses his own. “That’s just shy of 7,000 bucks,” he told the students about one drum set, “so be careful.”

The process for setting up drums is specific and must be done in a certain order, Hayward said, with Logan demonstrating. “You will set up and take down just as if you were on tour,” Hayward told the students.

There’s a big difference between left-and right-hand kits, Hayward said. But some elements are the same. “You have to connect the kit pedal to the beater,” he said.

One boy asked, “Why do you have a condenser mic in the drum?”

Hayward explained that some drummers want an “inside” sound. “You put a 91 inside,” he said. “The condenser allows you to get a larger sound from a smaller mic.”

Hayward described the two kinds of tom drums, the “rack tom” and the “floor tom.” “A smaller drum has a higher pitch,” he said. The rack tom sits on top of the kit and the floor tom on the floor.

“They are heavy,” Hayward warned. “You don’t want to slam them down.”

“This kit is set up for a righty,” Hayward said. “So the snare drum is on the left.”

Hayward and Logan demonstrated how to set up the cymbal stand, with Hayward warning that every drummer does it differently. They set up the “drum throne,” the name for the stool. “Each drummer sets this at whatever level they want,” he said.

“If we had a band here, we would leave it like this,” he said. “We’d let them figure out the height of the stool.”

The work was only beginning, he said as Logan sat at the drum set. “Why haven’t we set up the microphones? He still has to adjust it. To tweak it, test it, get it the way he wants,” he said.

That can take up to 45 minutes, Hayward said, noting, “And we’re not unloading it from the van, we’re already here.”

Logan then reassembled the kit as a “lefty” kit before he and Hayward began to take it down.

“Tomorrow you are all going to try this,” Hayward told the students.

After class Hayward said he has hosted several interns from Londonderry High School. A graduate of Pinkerton, he began to think about offering his services to his alma mater. He talked to a couple of people and submitted a course description, which had to be approved by the school and the state Department of Education.

“It is the only course of its kind in New Hampshire,” Hayward said.

Because he’s not a certified teacher Pinkerton assigned teacher Barbara Williams to him as a mentor.

He didn’t advertise, he said. “All we did was put it in the course curriculum, and we ended up with two sessions of 24 students each,” he said.

What does he teach? Concert promoting, concert production and presenting live music. “We talk about how a venue is set up, the people involved in that – the house manager, the sound guy,” he said. “We talk about being on tour and the key players there, the publicity person, the tour manager. And we talk about how the two interface.”

He teaches terms such as box office, front of house, “Roadie” and “Rigger.” “We also get into the science of sound, the decibels and frequencies,” he said.

And he discusses how to book a band, walking them through the contract process. “Since we book national bands at Tupelo, some of those contracts are 30 pages long,” he said.

The hands-on learning includes an actual recording session, he said. He rounded up students who play instruments and did a three-day session at Rocking Horse Studios. “We mixed it the next day,” he said.