Studio West Graduate Lands Job at Amper Music

Sam McCormick in Studio A at Studio West.

Sam McCormick in Studio A at Studio West.

Sam McCormick, a Recording Arts Center graduate and audio engineer, isn’t your typical twenty-year-old. Since his graduation from Studio West in 2016, he’s already found recording-industry success, having landed a position at the Los Angeles company Amper Music. Sam describes Amper as “an artificial intelligence music composer, performer, and producer geared toward content creators”—a way for video game designers, marketers, and app developers to generate high-quality music quickly. What’s more: all of the music generated by Amper is unique. “There are no loops,” Sam says. “All the samples are recorded individually and custom-edited by us.”

Sam’s official position at the company is as a sample developer. “My job is to record all the instruments in a way that we can implement into our system,” he explains—in other words, Sam turns sample recordings of live instruments into files that can be used to generate music. But his job doesn’t end there. At a startup like Amper, Sam is asked to bring a wide variety of skills to the table—and he isn’t afraid to put in long hours. “I’m involved with recording and music design, a lot of the editing, some of the mixing and mastering aspects, final delivery and labelling, and telling the system how to play these instruments,” says the young engineer. “We also teach the computer music theory, so I write some of the rules.”

Sam McCormick at work at Amper Music in Santa Monica, California.

Sam McCormick at work at Amper Music in Santa Monica, California.

Sam credits Studio West for the breadth of his audio-recording skills. “The program really prepared me for what I’m doing now,” he says, “and the cool thing about Studio West is all the hours you get to spend in a real studio, doing your own networking and your own projects.” Although Sam didn’t receive formal training in artificial intelligence music design, he’s been able to transfer the skill set he acquired at the Recording Arts Center to his job at Amper. But what’s the most useful thing he learned at Studio West? Sam emphasizes the strong foundation the program offers its audio-engineering students. “The Recording Arts Center really drives home the foundation of audio in general, like signal flow and file formats,” says Sam. “At the beginning of the program, they make sure you know your foundations just as well as you know how to work Pro Tools. My job is every aspect of what we learn at Studio West."”