School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Man behind the music - Terry Herald

Music technology professor’s storied career includes scoring award-winning films and building a music studio in his home

Terry Herald at work in the music studio.

terry herald, music, conducting, composing, SMTD, CAS, technolgoy

icon of a calendarApril 8, 2024

Share this story

OU Music Technology professor’s storied career
In recent years, Terry Herald, shown here conducting, has helped the School of Music Theatre and Dance at Oakland launch the Bachelor of Music Technology program

Music hasn’t completely taken over Terry Herald’s life, but it’s taken up a large chunk of his home. That’s because when Herald was building his house, he included space for a custom music studio.

Just take a few steps into Herald’s home and you will be standing in the control room of the studio, which overlooks a two-story high recording studio.

Herald, who is a music audio technology lecturer at Oakland University, uses the studio to record various artists, Oakland students and his own music. Herald decided to build the studio after he realized how much he was spending on studio rental fees at the time.

“I looked at what I was spending annually for studio rental and I thought, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ I could build my own studio for this and offer my own take on what a mix should sound like and not rely on someone else’s perspective,” Herald said.

“We went to an architect and said, ‘We'd like you to design a home to these dimensions and then I want a wing of the house to be dedicated to audio. Just give us a blank slate.’ Then I went to my friend who is an acoustic designer and he helped collaborate with me on how to use the space with the dimensions I have.”

Herald said his wife is very supportive of having a music studio in their house and is even known to make scones for some of the musicians.

“We bring in a lot of good people,” Herald said. “She’ll bake goodies and bring them in for the transitions or breaks. It’s very much a family friendly atmosphere.”

Herald has composed music for several films, including Air Force One: The Planes and the Presidents, and Journey to Justice. He’s worked on television productions for CBS Sports, Monday Night Football, the 1994 Olympics Up Close and Personal, Dateline, Bob’s Jobs and Mr. Wizard’s Teacher to Teacher program for Nickelodeon.

He’s worked with flutist Alexander Zonjic and has been featured on the PBS special: The Music of Alexander Zonjic.

“I started working with jazz guitarist Earl Klugh, who is a Grammy-award winning performer,” Herald said. “I became his music director and arranger. Films then started coming my way. I learned the craft in many ways just by doing it.”

Herald was working part time at Oakland University when he built the studio and then went full time in 2005. In recent years, he helped the School of Music Theatre and Dance at Oakland launch the Bachelor of Music Technology program.

“In music, there’s traditionally been two degree paths: there's been a performance degree path, and then there's the music education degree path,” Herald said. “This is a third path that's designed to make musical people employable in a broad spectrum of industry needs.

“The students have to take all the regular music classes, the theory sequence, the history sequence, and then on top of that, we add in all of the technology from acoustics and understanding sound. We teach recording technologies, computer integration and interactive music. We give them a taste of pretty much anything they can encounter for a career path.”

Herald said the program is so popular they’ve had to implement a waiting list because there are a limited number of spots.

“It was a real need for the school,” Herald said. “A lot of people are coming to the program and are finding good jobs after graduation, sometimes where they interned.”

Herald’s students enjoy working with him because of his expertise and the passion he brings to music.

“My favorite thing about Terry is how he is always so excited and encouraging towards his students, and the projects they are working on and want to do,” Oakland student Kaeli Lowe said. “He is willing to step aside to let his students learn. This helps me personally gain confidence and learn in a real-life setting.

“Having a professor who is willing to let students take control and put trust into students to do things on their own is one that I often don’t experience in my other classes,” Lowe added. “Working with Terry makes me feel confident that I have picked the right degree and can see myself moving forward in my career.”

Oakland student Joel Butler said Herald’s experience and knowledge make him a great professor, but what really sets him apart is his commitment to helping the students.

“If a student has questions, he takes the time to make sure he answers them well and in a way the student will understand,” Butler said. “His vast knowledge and experience make him a good audio engineer and composer, but it’s also his kindness and people skills. Not only does he know the technical side and what to do to end up with something good, but he also knows how to talk to people and interpret their input and feedback into an even better end product.”

Herald is involved with nearly all the music students as they need documentation of their performances so he records their recitals and concerts. Herald said he continues to be inspired by the great students in Oakland’s music program.

“The biggest pay-off of this job is working with the kids that come through the program,” Herald said. “They're young, they're excited and they're enthusiastic. They're taking these classes because of a love of music and that's just really inspiring. Each one of my classes we begin by every student submitting something for us to listen to, and evaluate and talk about how it works. They have broad interest in music so it’s exciting to see them start to implement some of their own creativity and their own musical ideas. It’s really an inspiration to me and keeps me wanting to stay in the business.”

Link to Terry Herald's website

Share this story

" class="hidden">渤海证券