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Students in the SOTA music program can choose to study audio production where they can acquire a clear understanding of the fundamentals of sound, their physics, and how they apply to the creative process of audio production, music recording, and live performances.

Students receive hands-on experience creating audio productions, music recordings, and livestreams in conjunction with other students at SOTA and other colleges within the university. This cooperative process enhances the student’s experience and overall learning while fostering interpersonal skills and leadership in the community.

The facilities at SOTA include several theaters, performance spaces, recording studios, and equipment resources coupled with intimate class sizes and individual instruction to actualize each student's full potential. Student projects include musical recordings, audio for video and film, sound reinforcement, and livestreaming of performances.

The ever-changing landscape of recording and media technology requires a teaching approach that empowers students' flexibility and adaptation. Rather than focusing on how to use a specific piece of equipment or software package, students receive the theoretical background that will help them approach novel situations and the latest technology with confidence and expertise. Students can apply their knowledge and skills to develop their own techniques and creative solutions.

Composition: Commercial Music/Audio Production Track

This track is ideal for students who aspire to work in the commercial music industry as a composer, arranger, and producer and allied fields of audio production in studio and live music settings. The track provides significant training in music theory with experience both in traditional and commercial approaches.

Minor in Audio Production

Students focus on the application of technological skill sets required for a career in music production and audio engineering, preparing them for opportunities in the field and fostering collaborative efforts among various disciplines in electronic media, music performance, public relations, audio engineering, and sound production. In contrast to the B.M. Composition: Commercial/Audio Production track, this minor should be considered as a complement to other career pathways, including Entrepreneurship, Business, Marketing, etc. Please note music minors cannot be paired with a music major.



We strive to provide our students with the necessary resources and tools to achieve their goals. SOTA provides access to facilities on campus, including multiple theaters, studios, recording equipment, and instruments that allow students to complete their coursework in pursuit of the degree. In addition, recording bundles are issued to incoming audio production students so they may continue working at home or other locations.


  • Three live performance theaters
  • Three production studios
  • Multiple recording spaces
  • Network audio and video


Students who choose this track work with faculty across multiple music disciplines.

Ashley Sheperd

Ashley Shepherd, B.M.


Raised in the heart of the Midwest, Ashley Shepherd has played music since early childhood. Starting with trumpet and tuba and on into rock and jazz with guitar and his main instrument, the bass, he draws from a wide stylistic palette for writing and producing music.

While living in Boston and going to Berklee College of Music, Ashley worked in several area studios including the venerable Newbury Sound with artists such as Aimee Mann and Tony Z of Room Full of Blues. Returning to his hometown Cincinnati, Ashley started working on major label recordings for Legend Entertainment and Ligosa Sound Studios including hits by Blessid Union of Souls, George LaMond and many others. During his 10 years at Ligosa, Ashley recorded and produced many albums for local, regional and national acts as well as composing music for film and television, garnering credits from the NFL and Oprah to Seinfeld and Craig Kilborn. After leaving Ligosa full-time and working in audio post-production at Lightborne (, Ashley’s client list grew to include Puma, Buffalo Trace, Proctor and Gamble and NASCAR.

Ashley continues to produce artists, sound design and original music for all types of media and to that end has built a multi-room recording facility located in a turn-of-the-century church in Newport, KY. Audiogrotto features two 5.1 surround control rooms and several recording spaces including the main sanctuary with 30 foot ceilings and inspiring masonic stained glass. Ashley is also a published technical writer (Pro Tools for Film, Video and Multimedia, Plug-In Power, Nuendo Power) and contributes manual content for Steinberg’s Nuendo software.

Kurt Sander

Kurt Sander, D.M.A.


Kurt Sander's compositions have been performed in 15 countries on five different continents. Much of his choral and instrumental work takes its inspiration from the sublime dimensions of the Eastern Orthodox faith and the richness of its artistic traditions.​

His sacred choral work has been recorded and performed by professional ensembles throughout the world including Cappella Romana, the Kastalsky Choir (RUS), the Cincinnati Camerata, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa (CAN), the St. Romanos Cappella, the Clarion Choir, Archangel Voices, the Patriarch Tikhon Choir, and The Orthodox Singers (RUS) and the PaTRAM Institute Singers.

In 2017, he received a commission by the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM) for a new English-language setting of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. This 90-minute work was recorded by the PaTRAM Institute Singers under the direction of Peter Jermihov and released as a 2 CD set on Reference Recordings label in 2019. The CD of this work was nominated for a Grammy in 2020 under the "Best Choral Album" category.

Sander was one of five featured composers on the collaborative composition "Heaven and Earth" which was commissioned by the St. John of Damascus Society and will be recorded in 2021 by the renowned choral ensemble Cappella Romana under the direction of Michael Boyer. The CD is scheduled for international release in 2022 on the Cappella Recordings label.

Sander has also acquired notoriety for his chamber and orchestral writing. He was recently named a finalist in the American Prize for his song cycle "Ella's Song" about the life of St. Elizabeth, Grand Duchess of Russia. Other instrumental works have been performed by the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Brasov Philharmonic (Romania), the Pleven Philharmonic (Bulgaria), the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Synchronia, the Corbett Trio, the Solaris Wind Quintet, and the St. Petersburg Quartet.

​Sander currently serves as Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition at Northern Kentucky University. He holds degrees in composition from Northwestern University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Cleveland State University where he studied with Bain Murray, Alan Stout, Rudolph Bubalo, and Andrew Imbrie.

Sander's music is published through Musica Russica and Media Press, Inc.


Career Opportunities

With the explosion of media through the internet, it has become apparent that everyone needs an online presence in some form. This creates career opportunities for those who have expertise in media creation. Understanding how sound and music fit into this equation is an asset in the modern world. Creators who understand and utilize the emotional and narrative power of sound and music will be sought after by a whole array of potential clients. This opportunity will manifest itself in any number of the following descriptions.

Job Titles

  • Audio producer
  • Audio engineer
  • Audio mixer
  • Music editor
  • Sound designer
  • Music supervisor
  • Sound supervisor
  • Production mixer (film set)
  • Film composer
  • Game audio producer
  • Broadcast mixer
  • Live sound reinforcement
  • System tech
  • Beat maker
  • Video post-production editor
  • Foley artist
  • Mastering engineer
  • Forensic audio expert
  • A/V Install designer
  • Worship media producer