Staff Profile: David Kays


Courtesy of Lincoln Yearbook

Kays is excited to be introducing the Audio Engineering class, which will include three levels, as a CTE class.

This year, a new Audio Engineering class was started by music department teacher David Kays. The Career Technical Education (CTE) class focuses on learning and applying skills in recording, production and other possible careers in the music industry. 

“I’ve always taught my Performing Arts students that there are many careers out there in the music industry that do not require you to perform on an instrument or to sing, “ Kays said. “Not only does Audio Engineering and Music Production complement our existing music classes, but it also provides a platform to expand the kinds of music we explore and create.”

Despite kickstarting the class during the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have signed up for Audio Engineering this year. The feedback from students taking part in this class has been undeniably positive.

“I’m a singer-songwriter and have tried my hand at producing my own music. In doing so, I found that it was pretty much a whole different art in itself and I needed to learn a lot more to get comfortable with it,” senior Atharv Bhingarde said. “I found [out] that there was a new Audio Engineering class and thought that it would be the perfect class to learn the ins and outs of music and audio production and would make producing my own music a whole lot easier. I haven’t been disappointed.”

Kays pointed out that the digital revolution has led to the explosion of many industries, in turn providing many opportunities in Audio Engineering and Music Production.  

The opportunities for careers in Audio Engineering and Music Production are expanding,” Kays said. “Although this is a field traditionally dominated by white males, recently the number of women and BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color ] audio engineers are growing. The demand for women and BIPOC audio engineers is high, so now is a good time to begin exploring those possibilities.“

In the class, students are able to demonstrate recording techniques in the studio, mix audio and Musical Instrument Digital Interfacing (MIDI) tracks, create beats and more.

Audio Engineering is a CTE program of study that is supported by Portland Public Schools (PPS) and the state of Oregon, and although the class has only just been introduced at Lincoln, there are already plans to expand the program. 

“We are looking to grow the program so that there are three levels: Beginning Audio Engineering, Advanced Audio Engineering and Practicum Audio Engineering,” Kays said. “Next year we are adding Advanced Audio Engineering. In this class, students will not only be running sound at school events, but they will also have the opportunity to work with our community partners out in the field.”

While the Audio Engineering class is an exciting addition to Lincoln, Kays is a committed teacher who runs a number of other classes that students enjoy. 

“Mr. Kays is a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher,” said sophomore Jonah Byars, who took Kays’ Freshman Leadership and Inquiry (FLI) class last year. “The class was really enjoyable and an interesting alternative to the normal FLI class.”

Kays really enjoys teaching at Lincoln and hopes to continue to successfully support students in the coming years.

“I love teaching at Lincoln,” Kays said. “What makes it a great place for me are the people. Our teachers, administrators, support staff and students are so fun to work with and I am really looking forward to getting back in the building soon.”