UW News

June 15, 2022

Video: Improvised Music Project Festival’s new format focuses on recording process

For five days in April, jazz music echoed through the Meany Hall Studio Theatre.  

But the sounds of collaboration didn’t end there.  

In between playing, students and faculty engaged in listening sessions and conversations about the recording process. That was the format for this year’s Improvised Music Project Festival, held annually through the University of Washington School of Music. 

Close up of male student putting on headphones in a theater

Music student Beau Wood listens to a recording.

Typically, the project brings in guest artists to work with students and put on public performances. This year, the event had a different focus as recording engineer David Boucher offered students an in-depth experience focused on the performance and engineering sides of recording. The new format allowed students and faculty to gain experience with UW’s new mobile recording system. While teaching fundamental recording and audio skills, Boucher also worked with students and faculty to document new works and experiment with techniques. 

“You become a better musician by becoming a better recording engineer,” Boucher said, “and vice versa.” 

Boucher has credits as an engineer, mixer and producer. He’s worked with a variety pop and rock musicians, including Andrew Bird, Madison Cunningham and Rufus Wainwright. He has also worked on motion picture soundtracks, earning engineering credits on “Frozen” and “Encanto,” among others. 

Ted Poor, associate professor of jazz studies, is the faculty advisor for the Improvised Music Project. The program, which will return to its original format in 2023, is open to any students and faculty members across the School of Music. 

“Recording is about our ability to listen deeply and listen to greater levels of detail and respect that detail,” Poor said. “You get this other perspective that you can’t naturally have when you’re playing by yourself.” 

 For more information, contact Poor at tedpoor@uw.edu. 

Students sitting in theater seats listening to instructor demonstrating audio recording software on monitors

Associate music professor Ted Poor (left) invited friend David Boucher to lead a music recording intensive for UW Jazz students.