Our Program

Our Program, Applied Audio Recording, is a 30-week diploma course.  You will spend 600 hours at TARA, in any one of our 3 in-house studios.  During this time, you will be learning advanced, in-studio recording techniques from our faculty, as well as working by yourself on individual projects to get the real hands-on experience you can expect from TARA. This is more in studio time than most audio schools, but we believe that the only way to truly learn the skills required is with your hands on the gear.

We use top session musicians, lectures from industry guests, field trips and more to ensure that each TARA grad has a firm grasp of the skills needed to succeed in the audio world.

Our grads find careers in:  Live Sound, Radio, Theatre, Postproduction, Music publishing, TV, Concert productions, Composing, Jingle Productions, Sound For Gaming.

Our course is approved as a vocational program under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

Below are the topics covered, click on one for more details, or contact us if you would like a complete breakdown of our course:


An introduction to the course giving you some basics before we get into depth on each subject. It includes:

An introduction to a Studio – control rooms, consoles, microphones, connectors The theory of sound waves, propagation and acoustics Basic microphone techniques Tracking, levels and headphone mixes Signal Flow • Multi-track recording and mixing Session pre-production and organization An introduction to Protools

Signal Flow

You’ll learn how to set up a recording console for recording and mixing and be able to troubleshoot problems in a recording or live session, through an analysis of the electrical path of a signal. You’ll learn how the signal moves from microphones, through the console and recorder and out to the speakers.


You’ll have a pro drummer teach you how to get a pro sound. This popular subject module features a professional session drummer in an informal yet highly informative discussion/demonstration on the tuning, micing and recording of modern drum kits.

Guitar and Bass

The influence of the guitar in modern music is enormous. You’ll learn the best way to record guitars and amps to get the best sound whether you are recording or playing live. Professional session musicians introduce both electric, acoustic and bass guitar techniques, while experienced instructors demonstrate microphone choice and placements. You will look at the reasons for using and the functions of DI (Direct Injection) boxes.

Pre-Production and Recording a Rough

At this point in the program we introduce you to a typical band setup of drums bass and guitar. You will work with a real band on a real deadline.

You will witness typical interaction and time constraints particular to the high-pressure environment of session musicians and practice these skills when recording a real band during class time. Experienced instructors will show you techniques that have passed the test of time This is the beginning of a large-scale recording project that will see you produce a professional, commercially viable recording. Each week a new aspect of this recording, production, mastering project will be introduced.

Advanced Microphone Techniques

This where you start to explore more sophisticated microphone techniques, expanding on the knowledge you have gained to that point.
Subjects include Binaural, X-Y, MS and PZM configurations.

Electronics and Acoustic Theory Introductions

A basic introduction to electronics helps you learn how dynamic and capacitor microphones operate. Small Room Acoustics theory delves into how sound behaves in rooms and halls and aids you in studio design and set up.

Reverb and Delay

Here you will examine how Time Based Processors create the right space to make your mixes sound professional. You’ll hear of the development of artificial reverberation from humble beginnings to the present sophisticated digitized technology. This technique makes it feasible to simulate environments from actual concert halls to unusual acoustic spaces. You will also examine delay techniques including phasing, flanging and echo.

Compression and Expansion

You will discuss the reasons for, and effects of using compressors, gates and expanders to increasing and decreasing the dynamic range of the signal in your mix. Working with vintage hardware and current plug-ins, you will learn how to control attack and release, and set thresholds and ratios to get the sound and feel of a professional recording


Here you will get an in depth look at equalization, the benefits and drawbacks. The use of, and differences between Peaking, Shelving, High Pass, Low Pass, Parametric and Graphic are discussed. You will learn on vintage Hardware, emulated classics in software and standard plug-ins to add the right tone to your mixes. You’ll understand parameters and effect of Q, Bandwidth, Gain, Center Frequency, and Cutoff Frequency.

M.I.DI. / Sequencing

It would be an understatement to say the introduction of the MUSICAL INSTRUMENT DIGITIAL INTERFACE has revolutionized the face of today’s music. The simple concept of a common language for electronic instruments and related equipment quickly opened immense possibility regarding composition, performance, signal manipulation and editing.   You will learn computer based sequencing as it relates to music composition and be introduced to Apple’s Logic Pro software.

Benefits: Learn how to use hardware controllers in your DAW and be able to write and edit electronic music.


You’ll get your mixes sounding louder, clearer and more exciting, and also, learn when and why its best to take your work to a mastering engineer. A professional mastering engineer explains this complex treatment of the final mixed product. The process of executing specific mastering skills is explored. Loudness, frequency response and stereo spread are particular focuses. You’ll discuss various aspects in class and work through the concepts of basic mastering.

Live Sound

You will be taught by professionals working in the industry at venues in Ottawa and Toronto or on the road with bands. Topics covered include acoustics, gear set up, room tuning, feedback, monitoring for various venues and tools every live sound engineer should own.

Music Business Seminar

You’ll gain insight into the music business through a lecture series featuring speakers from such agencies as- SOCAN, FACTOR, Universal music, 604 Records, The Pilot Agency, HMV etc.

The series throughout the year will allow you to gain a greater grasp of the administrative side of the audio industry with respect to copyright, royalties, the structure and role of major and independent labels, the importance of publishing and how to find financing for projects through various agencies.


You’ll learn how to run a multimedia session. You will recreate sound effects (Foley), dialogue (ADR) and sound design in sync with original visual footage. Learn about time code and applying common Foley techniques. An introduction to sound design for film and games helps widen your education into postproduction. You will use these skills in a class project, recreating the complete sound track for a piece of film.

Independant Study Project

You will record one song, in a style of your choice, for presentation at the end of the year. The song will showcase the skills that you have learned at TARA. ISPs are worked on in lab hours with the guidance of instructors, but you maintain creative control of the project. Students are encouraged to record as many songs as they like, but only one will be presented.