Interview: Siena Tipton on the CIC Recording Studio

Siena Tipton ’18 and Amanda Goldsmith ’18 recording in the CIC studio.

The Oracle’s Ned Mattison ’20 met up with Sienna Tipton ’18 to talk about her experience taking one of this semester’s new class offerings, Digital Music/ Songwriting, with Mr. Manni. In this class, students write, record, and produce their own digital and professional-quality recordings in the new audio recording studio in the Chiang Center. 

Ned Mattison: What have you been working on recently?

Siena Tipton: We had to write a four chord piece, which we could write in any genre we wanted. I personally chose a song in the style of a 1950s ballad.


NM: What first got you interested in composition?

ST: I’ve taken some composition classes [before] and I wanted to continue.


NM: Was it hard to learn?

ST: I’m still learning a lot about Logic [a recording, editing, and audio production software program]. It’s different to write music on paper than on a computer because there’s a lot more you can do with it. It’s a lot of fun.

NM: Have you used the tech before the studio?

ST: No. Never used Logic before.


NM: Before taking this class, had you only written music on paper?

ST: Yeah, when I used to take composition it was on paper and a piano, none of this fancy technology.


NM: Do you sing anything you compose?

ST: Yeah. I sang the four chord piece.


NM: How many pieces have you written this year?

ST: More than ten. I’d have to check.


NM: Do you write more songs to play or to sing?

ST: We haven’t really gotten far enough in the semester to write what we wanted. [It’s been] all assignments. This last song [we worked on] was the first one I could write on my own. My songs are generally for singing [rather] than to play on the piano.

NM: What’s your favorite song you’ve written this year?

ST: We had a project where we had to rewrite “Mary had a Little Lamb” in a genre of our choice, so Amanda Goldsmith and I wrote ours in heavy metal and got to record our own audio, so this is my favorite thing creatively that I’ve done this year. [All of the instrumentation was done on Logic. Sienna and Amanda did the vocals. Click below to listen.]


NM: If you could make your own assignment for your class, what would the assignment be?

ST: Write a symphony. I’ve always wanted to write a symphony.


NM: Would there be any specific requirements for the project?

ST: It has to be performed by a full orchestra.


NM: How do you think having this technology has helped you grow as a composer?

ST: A lot of times in my life I’ve had songs stuck in my head but I didn’t know how to write them down because I didn’t have the paper or the materials to [do it]. With all of this technology, you can literally write a symphony in like ten minutes. So it’s great to be able to put my ideas somewhere.


(Copyright 2018 Ned Mattison)