Rock 'n' Research Puts Adam's Teaching On Sound Footing

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Rock 'n' Research Puts Adam's Teaching On Sound Footing

Date posted: 12 September 2012

Rock concerts aren't usually a site for serious academic research but a University of Derby expert is combining his work for big name musicians with raising the level of audio engineering.

For nearly ten years,from the age of 18, Adam Hill, now a Lecturer in Electronics and Sound, has mixed study with working part-time for concert and event specialists Gand Concert Sound, based in his native Chicago. Over that period he has mixed and managed sound systems at concerts for stars including The Black Keys, The Stone Temple Pilots, Alice Cooper, The Allman Brothers Band, The Roots and many others.

Amongst the hard work Adam, who joined the University in February (2012), finds time to turn his rock and roll experiences into genuine academic research.

He said: "I was working over the summer at the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, which mainly features indie rock acts. I also used the time to do research on improving the performance of subwoofers, speakers used for low-pitch audio frequencies, which I plan to do a paper on in collaboration with the guys at Gand.

"The great thing about having continued to work in the industry, with Gand Concert Sound, throughout my academic career is that I can do real research which feeds back into my teaching. I can also give students a true picture of what it will be like for them when they start their careers."

While Adam has mainly worked in venues around Chicago and the American Midwest he has also been behind the scenes at events in New York, Texas and at the Superdome in New Orleans, which regularly hosts American Football's annual Super Bowl.

He added: "A lot of people get into this industry because they think they will be partying with rock stars but it is very hard work. I've had jobs where you're leaving the venue at 3am only to be back to load in the next band at 6am, four days in a row.

"I have worked for some great acts, though.

"George Clinton, the 'Godfather of Funk', recognised one of my colleagues from 20 years before and even went to find some home movie film footage he'd shot of him back then. Wayne Newton, who is a big Las Vegas entertainer, came and introduced himself to every one of the crew in the first five minutes of arriving at the venue and made the effort to learn all of our names."

Despite now being based on the other side of the Atlantic, in Derby, Adam is keen to continue working and researching when he can within the industry.

Gary Gand, founder and President of Gand Concert Sound, said: "Adam came to us green as grass and we put him through the toughest training there is, going on the road for rock 'n' roll bands. He came out the other side with a PhD and we are all very proud of his work."

For more information about the University of Derby's Music and Media Technologies courses see website

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