Introductions – Juan Rios

Hello Everyone!

My name is Juan Manuel, I am originally from Peru and I came to the US 10 years ago. It was pretty difficult because I did not know anyone and I have to build myself up to where I am now. I feel blessed. I am currently a Senior in the Music Technology Program at Stevens.  I am following both the composition and sound design and production concentrations. Also, I am trying to get a minor degree in Computer Science.

I feel very excited because this is actually the first time I am writing a blog, and I will try to do my best. I hope these lines can, somehow, bring you smiles, and be helpful in some way, or perhaps can give you some clues and answer to the questions that you have about Stevens. How is the weather? Well I commute, I live 10 min from Stevens and I feel pretty lucky because I really did not have any major consequences after Sandy or the last snow storm.

View from my window during the last snowstorm.

Perhaps you are asking yourself: What is a Music guy doing in an Engineering University? To me, music is just like math. It has measures, patterns, intervals, and other things found in mathematics. What really captivated me about this program was the interesting curriculum that Stevens offers. It is not a conservative music school, nor is it a straight audio engineering school. It is more than that. It offers you a mix of  both worlds: creativity, use of technology, and software design. In my opinion, the best of all is that, because the school is small, you get to have one-to-one conversations with your professors and advisors.

This is the control room of the Studio were we take sound recording classes; we go there every Monday.

Whether you are a composer, a producer, music technology researcher or a music therapist, a Studio is always a good thing to have. It does not have to be big (expensive) as long as it fits your needs and it is acoustically well-designed. That is one of the things that I have learned in this program through one of my favorite classes: Acoustics. I’ve just finished a “quadratic diffuser” for my own home studio. This helps to scatter different frequencies in different directions.


A “quadratic diffuser” I just built for my own home studio.

We get to compose music, record and mix an album or design sound for a movie. We also get to play a lot with electronics and programming such as is don with Pduino (a mix of Arduino and Pure Data). With this we are able to create new MIDI controllers, synthesizers, in order to control not only sound but also lighting or anything in a live performance. Yes, I am in love with my career. I have learned a lot, but two of the most important things that I have learned are that you never stop learning, and that anything can be less difficult once I change my attitude. Everything is really up to us. That is why it’s important to do what you love to do.

Hope to see you around! Thanks for reading!


PS. One more thing! Go to the Writing Center! You cannot imaging how helpful they are. Especially for me that I am not a native English speaker.

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