Meet Walter Chancellor: IPR’s first hire

Walter Chancellor – Instructor, Musician, Production Aficionado

Walter Chancellor

Often called the “epitome of cool,” no one represents IPR better than Walter Chancellor—for several reasons. For one, he was the first instructor hired by IPR founder Jack Robinson in 2002. For another, he’s almost always known he wanted to work in the media arts industry as a musician, and he’s become quite successful at it.

But perhaps most importantly, Walter is a teacher and mentor at heart. Even before he came to IPR, he was working with young people teaching music theory and basic sequencing at the Electronics Musicians Workshop.  There he met Robinson, and the rest, as they say, was history. Coming to IPR, Walter says, has taught him almost as much as he’s taught to the students.

CLASSES: Walter teachers the lab portion of AP154 – Desktop Production I

Walter guides students through a music production exercise in Apple Logic

“My skills have come up 70%, I’d say,” he said. “I always had ears for music, but coming to IPR really gave me a more accelerated rate of that progression.”

Walter credits fellow IPR instructors Brian Jacoby and Steve Price for increasing his skill set. He is certified in both Pro Tools and Logic and serves as an advisor to students in Pro Tools, Logic, audio production, and MIDI. Almost all first quarter students will have a class with Walter.

In fact, 2014 Winter Quarter valedictorian Roman Pinter said in his graduation speech that the most important thing he learned on his first day of class was “not to piss off Walter.”

Which Walter thinks is just great. “That’s right—tough love,” he said. “If you’re going to be here, be a real student. I tell students we’re going to have fun, but when it’s time to get serious and you’re messing around, I’ll call you out on it.”

Walter plays his saxaphone at an IPR event

ADVICE TO STUDENTS: “All you need are basic recording tools—but they don’t have to be shiny and brand new to express your inner talents. If it’s still intact, you can use it.”

That students are respectful toward him and each other and that he returns that respect is always a top priority for Walter, which might come from his time in the Marine Corps, he says. He also values hard work. Classically trained at the age of 8 years old, Walter plays saxophone, flute, and keyboards, and has been playing professionally since he was 13. He’s produced 26 albums from 2002 to 205, he says, and he was producing and releasing albums just about every month. He tries to impart the importance of work ethic onto students, he says, by asking if they want to just cross the finish line or win a medal.

Walter himself has won a few awards throughout his career, the most notable a platinum record for playing saxophone on Prince’s Emancipation album. In fact, Walter says one of the proudest moments of his career was playing saxophone at Paisley Park while Prince, Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone, and Chaka Kahn all watched him through the recording studio glass and broke out clapping when he finished.

Walt changes it up with Soprano sax at Funk 101

3 ARTISTS ON HIS IPOD: Miles Davis, Claus Ogerman, Bruno Mars

But even working with the best in the business hasn’t changed Walter’s mind about his purpose in life. Sure, he always knew he wanted to be a musician (even as he went to Grand View College in Iowa to study liberal arts), but to him, success isn’t selling a million records. It’s helping keep music at a high level and loving what he’s doing.

“My success is through my students, so I’m constantly succeeding,” Walter said. “Seeing them do well and get awards—that’s success to me. They’re an extension of me and everybody else at IPR. It’s a collective success, which is why I like this school … we create one strong element of energy.”

NONMUSICAL HOBBY: Cooking—especially BBQ


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