A lot of the time, the student has no particular goal beyond “do this assignment.” So then the critique needs to get creative. I like to ask: If this track is a film or game score, what’s happening in the scene? Students have a lot of implicit knowledge in this area from their own media consumption, so I get wonderfully specific and unexpected answers to this, i.e., “It’s a bar fight in a domed underwater city.” Then we can figure out, how could the track more strongly convey the feeling of a bar fight in a domed underwater city?
Anyone who’s ready to take a deep dive into the world of mixing. You should be aware of mixing’s role in the music production process, but you don’t need to know anything about how to mix to take this course. You should be able to record audio at home and/or be comfortable creating audio in your DAW of choice. Once again, you can be a practitioner of any style of music, and you should get super excited when someone gives you a new song to listen to.