Why This Matters: A former student at ASC’s Studio 345, music production teaching artist Kell Gober empowers his students to create their best sounds with confidence.
By Lillian Parker
Dedication to craft is the hallmark of a great artist, and dedication to students is the hallmark of a great teacher. Zykelrenion (Kell) Gober dedicates himself to both.
For the past three years, Kell has been helping students at ASC’s Studio 345, a free, out-of-school arts program for CMS high schoolers, create their best sounds through his role as a music production teaching artist.
A former Studio 345 student himself, Kell uses his personal and academic experience with sound engineering, recording, producing, singing and songwriting to empower his students to take ownership of their music.
“I want to be able to give students the knowledge I got whether they can pay for it or not,” he said. “I’m willing to share whatever I know. That’s really why I came back to Studio.”
In the music production class, Kell primarily assists students in the recording studio, but he aims to work one-on-one with every student regardless of who signs up to record.
He asks his students questions and facilitates an ongoing dialogue that teaches them to think and speak about their work with confidence. With students’ taking an active role in creating their unique sound, Kell and his class strive for quality together.
A devoted music lover for as long as he can remember, Kell grew up alongside family members who worked in the industry while he sang in the choir, wrote lyrics, engineered sounds and produced tracks.
During a chorus class his senior year at West Mecklenburg High School, Kell learned about Studio 345’s music production course and immediately enrolled.
“I knew college was around the corner,” he said. “Studio 345 brought that extra bit to push me to become a sound engineer or a producer.” Kell participated all three trimesters of his senior year and graduated in 2013.
After completing high school, Kell began his undergraduate studies at Full Sail University and earned his bachelor’s degree in recording arts in 2016.
While at Full Sail, he transformed his interest in music into an in-depth study of sound. He explored how sound works and how to manipulate sound to create desired effects, learning the ins and outs of sound design and engineering with the latest technologies.
What ultimately drew Kell back to Studio 345 as a teaching artist was the same commitment that brought him to Studio 345 as a student – his unending love of music.
“Studio had always been on my mind since I left [in 2013],” Kell said. “I had never actually worked doing what I loved. I always felt like a student, never like I had the chance to take ownership of the sessions or the music I was making.” He returned to Studio 345 to give students that opportunity.
According to Kell, the most important lesson he and his students teach each other is adaptability. He helps his students channel their musical inspirations into a sound all their own, developing their versatility and confidence while preparing them for real-world studio recording.
On the flip side, Kell says his students help him remain current in his productions and keep him up to date on music trends and new artists.
“I learn from them what’s the latest thing,” he said. “They come to me with who they like, who they’re inspired by. They bring these artists to my attention, and I think, ‘Okay, this is what’s trending. How do I give these sounds to my students?’”
“I never saw myself being a teacher,” Kell said. “I just want them to be great.”