Local music engineer, producer, and instructor Jim Blair’s “Reaper Course” has gained international recognition.

Reaper is a Digital Audio Workstation and is used to record musical instruments directly onto a computer. Blair, a former VIU student, began teaching the course at Arbutus Music Education Centre in Jan.

Recently his class has been adopted by the Kailua Music School in Hawaii, and The Audities Foundation in Calgary. There has also been interest shown by music schools in both Texas and Costa Rica.

Blair has been a professional producer, engineer, and instructor for over 25 years. Blair is the owner of Ape Island Sound in Nanaimo where he has worked with Natalie Germann, Marty Shepard, Atlas Collapses, and many others.

Blair said that the endorsements he receives help keep hardware and software costs down, keeps him supplied with the newest technology, and also adds, credibility to the course itself.

When asked if surprised by the success of his course, Blair replied “not at all.” He says that because the program is inexpensive and runs well it is filling a void in the market.

“In my Reaper course, I try to emphasize real world recording techniques,” Blair says. “I describe classic recording methods, and try to show the class how the amazing power in the software must be used in combination with professional engineering methods. Powerful tools like Reaper are great, but they are used most effectively with a solid understanding of the basic audio recording skills.”

The course is a two hour class that takes place once a week for 16 weeks. The class covers everything from the basic navigation of the program to advanced recording and mixing techniques.

Riley Anderson, a current student in the program, says, “I’ve been using Reaper for a couple of years now and since I started Jim’s class my recordings sound way better and I have learned things I didn’t know how to do with the program.”

The students of the class have ranged in age from 16 to 60 all with different musical backgrounds.

The course costs $499 and anyone can take it. Those who already take lessons at Arbutus Music get a discounted price of $199.

For more information visit <www.arbutusmusic.com/page/reaperv4> or call the Arbutus Music Education Centre at 250-933-1900.

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