Whether you’re an amateur DJ or a classically trained singer, Steinhardt’s summer programs can help you hone your talents and prepare for a career in music production—without ever leaving your house. The Summer Institute of Music Production Technology (SIMPT) and Summer Electronic Music Institute (SEMI) programs are now open to rising high school juniors and seniors. SIMPT offers conservatory-style training for students who play an instrument or sing. Its sister program, SEMI, caters to those with an interest in electronic music and focuses on software instruments and technology.
While both programs offer a rigorous introduction to making music, you don’t have to be a professional producer to thrive. “At their core, these programs are for students who truly care about music,” says Spencer Shafter, associate director of summer programming at Steinhardt. “And because of that, we encourage everyone to apply.”
Change Your Tune: SIMPT vs. SEMI
SIMPT and SEMI run concurrently and have some overlap, but how do you know which one is right for you? SIMPT students learn songwriting, mixing, and mastering in a studio environment. The program focuses on original music creation, recording techniques and acoustics, and remote collaboration. You’ll also broaden your musical horizons through topics like experimental music and sound effects editing.
On the other hand, SEMI is for students interested in electronic music production. If you love to record and mix on your laptop, SEMI will teach you the ins and outs of electronic music composition and production. Specifically, you’ll learn to use platforms like FLC Studio and Ableton. Then you’ll go beyond the laptop to perfect your performance techniques and improvisation skills.
Prepare for an Unforgetable Summer
Both SIMPT and SEMI include lectures, discussions, and collaborative labs with Steinhardt faculty. SIMPT topics include microphones, field recording, and DIY recording studies. SEMI topics include sound design, video art, and live remote collaboration. Throughout the two-week program, all students collaborate on original works, culminating in a professionally produced original piece.
Additionally, students in both programs benefit from a variety of guest lectures and workshops. Past guests have ranged from professional songwriters to mastering engineers. For example, last summer Mikael Jorgensen (lead pianist for Wilco) taught creative music-making, while Isaac and Thorald Koren (The Brothers Koren) led a songwriting and music production workshop.
“The SEMI program gave me a good preview into the world of music technology,” says Will Cairns. He participated in SEMI as a high school student and is now an undergraduate at Steinhardt. “It gives students who want to learn more about their given facet of music technology the means to do so and offers an opportunity to expand students’ skills. I learned the nature of networking in the music industry. Through collaborating with fellow members, and mingling with SIMPT students in between sessions, I learned that collaboration is key to success. But most importantly, I learned to embrace uniqueness and creative freedom to better perfect my craft.”
Hit the Right Note: How to Apply
To apply to SIMPT or SEMI, you’ll submit an online application, recommendation letter, and prerecorded audition. For SIMPT, submit a video or audio file of yourself playing a musical instrument or singing. For SEMI, submit an audio file of an original composition. And if you have stage fright, take a deep breath: the number one requirement for admitted students is a genuine passion for music production.
Both programs offer performance- and need-based scholarships. While we welcome international students, be aware that all courses are scheduled in Eastern Standard Time.