A group of Johnson City freshman is getting a break from their normal science class. Instead, this week's lesson is about what makes for a Grammy Award winning song. Their teacher happens to be a Grammy Award voter. Camille DeLongis has an inside look.
JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- Music composition, quality and clarity of a recording, how the final product is shaped in the editing process -- that's what judges consider when voting for a Grammy Award nominated song.
"In order for the music to sound that good, there's a lot that goes behind it. How well is it recorded, how well is it mixed, how well is it mastered? If those things don't take place, the song itself and the music itself just won't happen," said Johnson City High School science teacher Mark Buza.
Mark Buza is not just a science teacher, but he has a degree in music composition and since 1998, he's had the honor of being one of the 10,000 people who get to cast a vote for some of the most acclaimed artists and songs in the recording industry's most prestigious award show.
"It's really a thrill. I'm so happy that I've been privileged enough to be able to be a part of the organization and a part of the process. I really enjoy sharing it with the students because they get to see me in a different light," Buza.
For the past 20 years, Buza shared his Grammy voting experience with his students, as a way to teach them about science behind music and sound, and how the industry has evolved.
"After you learn it, then it's like you really hear things you never really focused on. Like 'oh, what [microphone] did they use, or was it clearer than this one?'" said Johnson City student Kayla Barnes.
Buza has composed and arranged dozens of pieces of music and logged hundreds of hours of recording time to become a member of the National Recording Academy. He says it's a dream come true to be able to live out his passion for music, and share it with his students.
"I hope that they took away an appreciation for the complexity of the process. Taking all of that in, and understanding it's not just someone walks into a studio and five seconds later the song is done," said Buza.
Buza has until the end of the week to listen and dissect hours worth of music, and submit his ballot. The 59th annual Grammy Awards are February 12.