Student initiative launches to build community-wide recording studio in Dixon


Courtesy of Tyler Margaretten

A blueprint of the recording studio, drawn up pro bono by Michael Howard, an Architect Emeritus that sits on the Board of Advisors.

Between a cappella groups, the marching band and independent artists, the sound of music is always flowing through Tulane’s campus. A new student initiative is moving to create an on-campus recording studio to house New Orleans’ and Tulane’s vibrant music scene.

USG Vice President of Finance Tyler Margaretten, and juniors Dani Smolley and Oskay Taskin are currently working on establishing the new studio, which will be located on the second floor of the Dixon Hall annex.

The studio will provide aspiring musicians on campus with a high-quality, acoustically-isolated booth for professional-level audio recording.

Margaretten said he believes that once the studio is complete, it will benefit a wide variety of students on campus by giving them better access to audio recording opportunities.

“Student organizations will have a chance to have access to one of the highest quality recording studios that the city of New Orleans has to offer,” Margaretten said.

Last year Smolley and junior Oskay Taskin founded Tulane Studios, a student organization intended to connect students interested in the music industry. While running the organization, Smolley realized its members would benefit from a high-quality recording studio and initiated the project to get a recording studio on campus. He connected with Margaretten to work as business partners.

“[Tulane Studios] is a student organization that we started as a platform just for musicians to collaborate and get together,” Smolley said. “We decided to try to build a studio, and we’ve been working pretty hard to get a studio built through the Tulane Studios organizations.”

Along with Tulane Studios, the intended users that will benefit from the recording studio include members of student organizations such as a cappella groups and jazz bands, as well as any other students on campus that are interested in recording audio.

TU Tones Music Director Claire Demorest said she expects the addition of the recording studio will provide more resources for students interested in the music department at Tulane.

“There are a lot of students that are here right now that have a history of music and gave up because the program and the department [at Tulane] doesn’t have a ton of resources to support students who have that interest,” Demorest said. “I think that if we have this kind of pull for students … we will attract more students who will put that kind of love and resource into the music department, and it can become what it has the potential to be.”

Smolley and Margaretten are still working to secure the funding sources necessary to finance the project. Currently, the studio has funding allocations of $150,000 from USG, $250,000 from a private donor and $20,000 from the Newcomb Department of Music. Smolley and Margaretten are currently seeking around $100,000 more to complete the financing of the project.

To obtain the remaining funding, they are starting a campaign via WaveStarter, a new funding platform designed specifically for Tulane organizations that works similarly to programs such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe.

Through WaveStarter, students, alumni and others with a vested interest can support the cause by donating money for the new recording studio. According to Margaretten, the WaveStarter campaign will be crucial to raise sufficient funds for the project.

Smolley and Margaretten said they have been impressed with the results of their project and feel satisfied with their progress.

“I think it’s amazing that student projects can go this far and raise hundreds and thousands of dollars, and have interest in academic departments and the alumni network,” Margaretten said.

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