Dec. 5th wrapped up the 2013 fall semester of Audio Electronics, an audio engineering youth program sponsored by After School Matters.
Benton House works with instructor Jaime Gartelos to facilitate Audio Electronics in Faurot Hall. Nearly every other day, starting around 5 pm, our mural room is filled with the sounds of teenagers chatting about their projects, strange noises of microphones and speakers being tested, and Jaime's speeches on everything from electronic theory and professional advice to what type of mics McCartney used to record Sargent Pepper's.
For the last day of class, after students were quizzed on vocabulary and electronic theory, the instructor pulled out some electronic kits and split the class into two groups. "The way this works," Jaime Gartelos explained, "We have different teams of students and we pick an exercise in our project manual, which is filled with different designs of snap circuits, and the team that builds the circuit the fastest picks the next exercise."
A unique feature of Audio Electronics is paying students upon completion of the course. "It helps the kids think of the class in terms of professional development, and also gives them incentive to spend their time after school learning and developing skills." said Jaime.
We asked the students: What were your parts of Audio Electronics this year? "Building the microphone." "Measuring currents." "Building a spring reverb." "XLR cables."
A student who had remained fairly quiet all class said, "Getting paid!"
"You haven't got paid yet!" Jaime said. There's thirty minutes left in the semester. "Alright guys, next exercise starts in 5, 4, 3, 2..."
The students began eagerly searching for the proper components and tools, scrambling to complete the exercise first.