Behind the Podcast: Episode 3

Who: Megan Arns, Assistant Professor of Percussion, University of Missouri; co-host of the @ percussion podcast (and about 6500 other professional percussion activities)

Location: her office at Mizzou

Device: Unintentionally recorded on my computer through built-in computer microphone (more on that later); intentionally recorded on my professional USB microphone

Length of interview: just under 2 hours over 2 days

When recorded: May 10 and 11, 2016

Analysis:  An in-depth look at an up-and-coming percussion colleague.  She did great!  Me?  Well…

Pre-amble: I thought Megan would be up for this.  I was right.

Additionally:  we booked the interview about a week earlier than we did it, although she ended up having to put the time later in the day.  Earlier in the day, I got a text from Megan asking me to push the interview to a few hours later in the day.

When I arrived, she explained to me that she had a lesson she had to teach in 45 minutes, so we may have to cut the interview short and possibly resume on another day.  That was going to be fine, if it came to that.

Then she explained the reason why we had to delay:

“I just got off the phone with the Dean of the College, and my position has been upgraded to tenure track.  It took all day, but it’s now a reality.” 

She was in great spirits, and she should be.  She got a competing offer from another excellent school, and she leveraged it into a permanent position at Mizzou.  Like a pro.

And the interview started.

It was a pleasure getting to know her better through the interview.  She’d had even more experiences than I was aware. 

I was most interested in going in depth with her time in Amman, Jordan.  She’d spent at least 3 separate trips there, including a full year teaching and playing there.  I was happy to hear her get to talk about not just playing and teaching, but the food, the safety, where she lived, traveling, the dissolution of the orchestra…all those things that are ancillary to her job but make for full lives and are of peak interest to me. 

Percussion talk is fine, but I’m more interested in stories. 

The microphone issue:

When I typically open up GarageBand, I get this:

 Opening screen.

Opening screen.

When I plug the microphone in, I SHOULD get this screen:

 The choice is apparent.

The choice is apparent.

Which leads to this:

 And we're in business!

And we're in business!

Sooooo….I thought I was all set.


I apparently moved a little too quickly and didn’t check everything out.  So I plugged in the microphone, set it up…but never verified the appearance of screens 2 or 3.

So a microphone that should be balanced right between us ended up being 1 foot away on my lap and about 8 feet away from Megan.

I got it right the second day.  Balance was much better, as was the fact that it didn’t sound like I was eating the microphone.  Jeb!...


Post-game analysis: Getting a little better asking questions.  Would be nice to stop stammering like an unprepared lout.  But I also need to stop with the damn whispering.  Is this some sort of game show?  A game of telephone?  Did it a couple of times…made sense in the room, but doesn’t work for an audio podcast.  I’ll improve. #petespercpod