Faculty Spotlight: Meet the New Leaders of Full Sail’s Audio Programs

Full Sail recently tapped three new leaders for its audio programs, which include Recording Arts Bachelor of Science, Music Production Bachelor of Science and Show Production Bachelor of Science.

They are: Brandon Egerton, Program Manager for the Recording Arts Bachelor of Science degree program; Russ Gaspard, Program Director for the Music Production Bachelor of Science degree program and Mark Johnson, Program Manager for the Show Production Bachelor of Science degree program. All three fall under the direction of Dana Roun, Director of Audio Programs. Read on to find out more about these program leaders.

BRANDON EGERTON: Program Manager, Recording Arts Bachelor of Science

Prior to joining Full Sail, Brandon Egerton worked for EMI Gospel Records for ten years, primarily as an A&R executive. At EMI Gospel, he managed and facilitated the label’s recording process and expanded the label’s brand into new markets. He was also involved in the creation, development, and promotion of more than 125 albums for artists including Aaron Neville and CeCe Winans. Brandon has received nominations for Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Awards as Executive Producer/A&R and has also participated on nine certified Gold-selling album projects.

What is the most interesting trend in music today?

Brandon Egerton: I love the fact that all music types have a legitimate voice now. For so long, labels (and I’ve been one of those guys) and other gatekeepers have controlled what gets marketed, played and sold. Now, that influence has shifted a great deal to consumers. I think that’s a great thing for indie artists especially. If you have a unique talent, great songs and the ability to continually grow your fan base, you can have success in this business. I believe that will eventually help to create more opportunities for engineers, producers, songwriters, managers and everyone else “behind the scenes”. 

RUSS GASPARD: Program Director, Music Production Bachelor of Science

Russ Gaspard joined Full Sail in 2002 to design and launch the Music Theory course. He wrote the course’s textbook, designed custom educational software, and assembled a staff of music teachers to bring musical understanding to all audio students. Russ was recognized for his contributions to the school with an Outstanding Educator Award in 2003. After being promoted to Department Chair of Musical Studies in 2009, he oversaw the expansion of the music curriculum serving on-campus audio degree programs. Prior to joining Full Sail University in 2002, he composed, recorded, and performed regionally with original music acts and toured extensively throughout the Southeast.

What is your favorite band, musician, or type of music?

Russ Gaspard: My first love was the real classic rock stuff like Hendrix and Pink Floyd. There’s so much to be learned about songwriting and production from that era. I had a later period as a guitar major where I was really into baroque music and Spanish romantic as well. Lately I’ve been exploring different types of electronic music and getting back into the acoustic roots and fusion too, like The Goat Rodeo Sessions. That’s one thing we have such a great opportunity to provide for our students in MPBS. It’s about exposing people to great music of all types. To build a solid career in this industry, we want to inspire a lifestyle of always expanding horizons and developing a greater musical range to draw from.

MARK JOHNSON: Program Manager, Show Production Bachelor of Science

Mark Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in live and broadcast audio mixing as well as touring and fixed installation sound system design and operation. He began his career at Opryland USA, serving as technical coordinator, sound designer, and mixing engineer and later joined Meyer Sound Laboratories, working as technical sales support manager and director of sales and marketing. In 2003, he went to work for Sound & Video Contractor Magazine as an editor, managing production, contracting writers, and determining editorial scheduling for two publications until 2009. During his tenure, the magazine was awarded a 2004 Gold Eddie Award.

What are you excited about when it comes to your program?

Mark Johnson: I’ve only been here a short time, so it’s still a period of discovery for me as I gain an understanding of where we are now. That said, the use of audio, video and lighting technology in live production continues to evolve both in terms of the tools we have to use, and how we use them. It is incumbent on us to make sure the students are as equipped as possible to use the technology at hand, and use it well, when they hit the field. I’m excited that we have a program that helps to prepare students for a professional career in an industry where previously there was little in the way of formal education. Full Sail grads are able to assimilate much more quickly due to a solid technical foundation and they don’t have to “unlearn” many of the misconceptions that would proliferate during the earlier times of the industry.