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Mitch Benoff is a professor in the Music Production and Engineering Department. His focus on vocal production began in the days of analogue, developing for himself many of the comping techniques that have now become the norm in the digital world. Berklee Online's vocal production course is based on a similar course Benoff created on campus.
For decades, Benoff has split his time among various fields. As a producer, songwriter, and musician, he has written short film scores, musicals, music for off-Broadway, and lots of songs. He is the former owner of Downtown Recorders, home to much of Boston’s new wave and reggae scene in the '80s. His 3D sound company had clients like Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson. Benoff has also consulted on special effects concert lighting for national tours. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, he created large-scale art installations like his 400-foot–long Athens Olympic Meteor for the 2004 Olympic Games.
"My teaching style is project based. I spend as much time as possible in class reviewing students' projects at every stage of development. The whole class participates in the discussions. That way everyone gets to partake in eight projects, not just their own. We discuss musical elements (starting always with the song and the artist's identity), interpersonal working methods, organization, and how to both voice your opinion and hear others' opinions."
"I believe in being straight up and honest. Students want the bar set high. They appreciate the challenge and the call to excellence. At the same time, it is school. We use real-world models and goals, but the nice thing is that school is a great environment to make lots of mistakes and learn from them without professional repercussions."
"My goal is for the students to learn as much as possible about the production process and themselves, and to reflect on that; to be comfortable with their strengths and weaknesses; and to feel free to be open, honest, and collaborative."
"A good producer needs perspective above all else. You need to be clear about what you've been hired for, what the artist's real goals are, and what is possible and what is not within the confines of budget, ability, time, and personalities. And you need to be able to step back and know when to stop."
"You also need to develop the ability to call up your fresh ears and listen to something you've been working on for hours, weeks, or months as if you're hearing it for the first time. A good producer is the audience's advocate, making sure the artist, record company, or producer doesn't lose sight of the listener's experience. You should also be as well rounded and worldly as possible. The richer the person, the better the producer."