Published on January 29th, 2021 | by TLV News


University of Mississippi Music Department: Amanda Fliflet Uses Gifts to Support Others

The University of Mississippi Department of Music continues to add technology to create opportunities for students, and one person is at the center of this important effort: Amanda Fliflet. Fliflet is spearheading several new projects in her role as Multi-Media Specialist, and each one is shaped by her desire to improve UM Music.

Upgrading Nutt Auditorium

At the moment, Fliflet is laying the groundwork to install new equipment that will allow the department to stream and record recitals from Nutt Auditorium—especially meaningful during the pandemic when safety protocols preclude an in-person audience. “Even after the pandemic is under control and we’re able to invite audiences into Nutt Auditorium again,” said Fliflet, “the families and friends of many students are too far away to attend recitals in person. Streaming technology can bring performance into people’s homes, wherever they may be.”

Charlie Miles, Amanda Fliflet, and Nancy Maria Balach discuss mic placement in Nutt Auditorium. Before Miles began work for the University’s IT department, he worked for UM Music, and he continues to be a resource for tech-related issues in the music department.

The new equipment will enable Fliflet to record performances, as well. “We’ll create a meaningful record for students,” she said. “We’re working to offer multi-angle live-streamed and recorded performances and a more professional product.”

Students need recordings of their own performances for graduate school auditions, competition entries, and workshop and festival applications. And once they begin careers in the classroom, music education students often use their own recorded performances to teach their music students.

After assessing the department’s many technical needs, Department Chair Professor Nancy Maria Balach organized an Ignite fundraising campaign. “Audience members, supporters, parents, alumni, and friends of the Music Department came together to support our students and faculty,” said Balach. “The success of our campaign is allowing the vision of the music department to move forward.”

“It will benefit our department for years to come,” agreed Fliflet, adding that once the equipment is installed, UM Music will offer a regular schedule of streaming concerts via Zoom Webinar. “I’m excited, and I think our students will be thrilled.”

Fliflet is also setting up a SoundJack system in the building. “SoundJack allows people in different parts of the building who need to stay separate for COVID-related reasons to make music together. Often there is latency or a lag with online meeting platforms, and this is detrimental in music-making.” SoundJack lets musicians make music synchronously, without lag.

When collaborators share the same room, in addition to mask and distance requirements, the room must be aired out sufficiently after thirty minutes of music-making. Allowing collaborators to be in separate rooms working through SoundJack means that they can practice together longer. Collaborative pianists can also move more quickly to their next lesson or practice session, serving more students in the process.

In the classroom

This semester, Fliflet is also using her expertise as an instructor for Music 347: Music Technology. “Fliflet is the perfect choice to teach a course that covers the technology a musician might encounter, whether they are a performer or a music educator,” said Balach.

“Knowing how to record, which microphones to choose, and how to mix is critical for people entering music-related professions,” Fliflet said. Her students will learn to use platforms such as Soundtrap, which allows musicians to record and layer tracks and mix them on their own computers or phones.

“These students are generation Z,” Fliflet noted, “and a lot of people will ask them tech questions simply because they’re young. We want them to have an understanding of the technology so that they can help others as well as themselves.”

Fliflet and Miles plan the location of the side-mounted cameras. “The improvements show how our department is thriving while creating a better experience for our students,” said Fliflet.

Making a difference

All Fliflet’s work is focused on supporting and improving the student experience, which dovetails perfectly with another project she has recently taken on: pursuing a doctorate in higher education. “Whether I’m working or teaching in the music department or pursuing my Ph.D., my focus is on students: how to benefit them, and what’s best for them,” she said.

Fliflet came to the University in 2016 as a graduate student and received her Master in Music in music education in 2018 before accepting the position of Multi-Media Specialist.

“Amanda is finding purposeful ways to connect her technical work to the academic,” said Balach, of Fliflet’s established and new roles at the university.

“It is a pleasure to encourage Amanda’s career interests and to watch an alumna of our program move forward in her career trajectory. She is an absolute asset to our department,” Balach said.

In her personal life, Fliflet’s uses her expertise to benefit others, as well: she is the sound producer for her church on the weekends. Whether she’s working in the department or in the community, the technology that she uses is to help and support others.

“That’s the purpose of the streaming technology, SoundJack, Soundtrap, and all our work in this area,” she said. “We want our students to be successful.”
Because of Fliflet’s hard work, we know they will be!

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The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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