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Author Topic: the future of live audio training ?  (Read 5847 times)

Tom Young

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the future of live audio training ?
« on: April 10, 2013, 04:20:35 pm »

In the latest edition (April 2013) of AudioMedia magazine there is a brief article about the live sound training program at Brit Row.

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/newbay/audiomedia_201304/#/30

More at Brit Row's website:

http://training.britanniarow.com/about/

I think most of us are aware that there is no longer the training ground that existed (for many of us) in the 1970's and through the early 1990's due (primarily) to the shrinking of the live music scene. At the same time, many of us observe that while the new systems are far more "turn-key" and require less troubleshooting and set up, gone also are the opportunities to learn the inner-workings of equipment and other tasks that provided us with much of the knowledge we have accumulated over the years and which continues to inform what we do and how well we do it.

So maybe here in N America the larger sound companies can adapt what Brit Row is doing. Maybe they can partner with contracting companies and consulting firms. Maybe get manufacturers involved.

And to everyone's benefit.

Just a thought.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 04:31:01 pm by Tom Young »
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Tom Young
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Robert Healey

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the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 05:19:43 pm »

It seems like the general consensus is that classroom training is useless in live audio and work experience is the best way to learn. I thought that too until I took Bob Coffeen's Electro-Acoustics class at the University of Kansas - now I just think students need to find the right teacher and supplement their education with plenty of practical experience (or supplement their practical experience with a little bit of good classroom education).
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Art Welter

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 09:48:49 am »

I think most of us are aware that there is no longer the training ground that existed (for many of us) in the 1970's and through the early 1990's due (primarily) to the shrinking of the live music scene.
So maybe here in N America the larger sound companies can adapt what Brit Row is doing. Maybe they can partner with contracting companies and consulting firms. Maybe get manufacturers involved.

And to everyone's benefit.

Tom,

Although the (paying) live music scene has shrunk somewhat, the opportunity to learn on line, and actually ask questions of real pros was not nearly as available 30 years ago.
While I had only a few mentors in the 1970's & 80s, now one can find many more than that on line regardless of where in the world you live.

All I ever got from apprentices was a clean floor and coffee until they realized that they would not be mixing arena shows in six months  :).
With 18 applicants paying 6000 pounds apiece, with the possibility one or more which may get a job, seems Brit Row will derive the primary benefit  ;).

Brit Row will capitalize on the lottery system, while taking a bit of the wind from the Full Sail...

Art
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 09:51:20 am by Art Welter »
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Rick Earl

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 11:16:16 am »

I am proud to be part of a university program that I think offers a lot to help prepare students for a job in both live sound and studio work if they so desire.   

We have formal training on basics of signal flow, gain structure, recording  and live sound techniques.   Additional classes in the physics of sound, music theory, music business and aural skills.   Students also must complete further requirements for the university in  general liberal arts studies.    They are  required to do an on campus and an external internship.    On campus we have multiple events a year that range from typical corporate type events to concerts in different venues.  We obviously have our procedures down, but try to let them know that they may differ with another company.   Off campus internships have included  major studios, sound companies, broadcasters, festivals and manufacturers.

I have taken students on some of my freelance work to experience large festivals, less than ideal environments and the opportunity to see other systems and methods of deployment.

None of this was available when I was coming through the industry, but it gives students a good foundation,  the ability to think and synthesize and adapt instead of rote recall of procedures.

Of course, the desire for students to learn and try to gain more knowledge is a big factor to their success.  For the most part those who have graduated from the program are finding work in the field.

They also end up with a BS from an accredited university that can serve them well in the future, especially in the current job market.


 
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 11:20:57 am »

but this leaves you with a problem and that is what is there background and can they show the why and how it works explanation.  I have been very fortunate to have found a few good mentors to work with and I have been sharing some of this experience with others.  This site and the forum adds to this and has proven very helpful.  I feel some have been also putting up the walls to protect their position and clients. 
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Matthias Postel

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 12:29:23 pm »

Hi everyone,
@Tom: Thanks for picking this up and starting a debate.

As was mentioned in the article, Brit Row have for many years organized their own in-house training with work experience accompanied by classes. What we’ve done now is to offer this more broadly and in a dedicated way. The difference to on-the-job training and to sweeping floors/making coffee is that our trainees will go through an intensive, practical programme that has been designed by the industry for the industry and will be delivered by working engineers and technicians. Over 12 weeks participants will spend full days with integrated theoretical and practical learning and practice. 

All of this was also motivated by frustration about existing education options which – at least here in the UK – do not prepare aspiring sound people appropriately for work in live sound.

@Tom: Indeed, technology has shifted substantially in recent years. From our point of view, it is a shift in the kind of skills required, but not necessarily a reduction of the amount of skills or knowledge required. Agreed, an entry level technician is probably less likely to be confronted with the inner workings, but at a more advanced level and in the context of a busy rental company there is still a lot of work “under the hood” that some people might develop towards. Mind you, this initial programme is preparing for work at an entry technician level. It does not claim to produce “engineers” (certainly not within  a 12-week course).

@Robert: That’s our thinking. “Classroom training” by itself is of not much value. Hence, our approach to have it fully integrated with practice.

@Art: Absolutely, online resources and potential contact to (more or less) professional people through the internet is fantastic and is certainly contributing to improved awareness and practices, especially at the amateur level. However, it can’t replace actually doing it respectively being taught practically.
As our trainees will have an edge over those who are following other paths or who have not been trained, we will see many of them going into good opportunities. The one guaranteed placement is another difference to other education options and demonstrates BR’s confidence in the quality of this training programme.
The fact that this is a dedicated programme with dedicated facilities and professionals spending considerable time with 100% attention for the purpose of training (in fact over 500 hours of organized activities) means that it does have a cost which is very visible as there is currently no government subsidy. Of course, this is a commercial activity, which requires investment, just like the audio rental business does.

Coming back to Tom’s original point and Andrew’s article: We think it’s a good concept  :), made possible by the expertise and resources behind it.


Matthias Postel
Managing Director
Britannia Row Productions Training

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Doug Fowler

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2013, 12:59:51 pm »

Hi everyone,
@Tom: Thanks for picking this up and starting a debate.

As was mentioned in the article, Brit Row have for many years organized their own in-house training with work experience accompanied by classes. What we’ve done now is to offer this more broadly and in a dedicated way. The difference to on-the-job training and to sweeping floors/making coffee is that our trainees will go through an intensive, practical programme that has been designed by the industry for the industry and will be delivered by working engineers and technicians. Over 12 weeks participants will spend full days with integrated theoretical and practical learning and practice. 

All of this was also motivated by frustration about existing education options which – at least here in the UK – do not prepare aspiring sound people appropriately for work in live sound.

@Tom: Indeed, technology has shifted substantially in recent years. From our point of view, it is a shift in the kind of skills required, but not necessarily a reduction of the amount of skills or knowledge required. Agreed, an entry level technician is probably less likely to be confronted with the inner workings, but at a more advanced level and in the context of a busy rental company there is still a lot of work “under the hood” that some people might develop towards. Mind you, this initial programme is preparing for work at an entry technician level. It does not claim to produce “engineers” (certainly not within  a 12-week course).

@Robert: That’s our thinking. “Classroom training” by itself is of not much value. Hence, our approach to have it fully integrated with practice.

@Art: Absolutely, online resources and potential contact to (more or less) professional people through the internet is fantastic and is certainly contributing to improved awareness and practices, especially at the amateur level. However, it can’t replace actually doing it respectively being taught practically.
As our trainees will have an edge over those who are following other paths or who have not been trained, we will see many of them going into good opportunities. The one guaranteed placement is another difference to other education options and demonstrates BR’s confidence in the quality of this training programme.
The fact that this is a dedicated programme with dedicated facilities and professionals spending considerable time with 100% attention for the purpose of training (in fact over 500 hours of organized activities) means that it does have a cost which is very visible as there is currently no government subsidy. Of course, this is a commercial activity, which requires investment, just like the audio rental business does.

Coming back to Tom’s original point and Andrew’s article: We think it’s a good concept  :), made possible by the expertise and resources behind it.


Matthias Postel
Managing Director
Britannia Row Productions Training


Matthias -

Please change your display name within your profile to display your full name.

Many thanks....

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Matthias Postel

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 01:02:49 pm »

fixed.
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Jared Koopman

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2013, 01:29:44 pm »

Recently came across this http://mastermixlive.com/. Any of you have experience with these guys?
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Art Welter

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2013, 10:40:40 am »

Hi everyone,
Over 12 weeks participants will spend full days with integrated theoretical and practical learning and practice. 

Mind you, this initial programme is preparing for work at an entry technician level. It does not claim to produce “engineers” (certainly not within  a 12-week course).

The one guaranteed placement is another difference to other education options and demonstrates BR’s confidence in the quality of this training programme.

Coming back to Tom’s original point and Andrew’s article: We think it’s a good concept  :), made possible by the expertise and resources behind it.


Matthias Postel
Managing Director
Britannia Row Productions Training

Matthias,

I agree, the potential to extract $432,000 pounds a year from 72 apprentices taught how to work at an entry technician level, while only guaranteeing 4 of them an entry level position is indeed a good concept for Brit Row.

After receiving approximately 12 pounds an hour per head watching to see who can learn the basics (presumably they load plenty of trucks, sort plenty of cords, etc.) you get to pick the 5.5% that actually have demonstrated potential.

Simply brilliant!

Art
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2013, 11:08:35 am »

Now start throwing in some Computer Operations training with backup.  Networking.  Cat 5 and 6 cable  Crimping and tool.  Fiber (single and multi).   Computer trouble shooting.  NAS.   OS X, Windows, Linux.   OS familiarization.  Dante, AES3/EBU, Ethernet.   wifi 2.4 and 5   
 
digital and you get the idea. 
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Tom Young

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2013, 11:22:52 am »

Simply brilliant!

Sure is.

Plus you get lower-level techs who you have trained as far as the basics plus your way of doing things. You probably also have a very clear picture of their work ethic, any personality quirks (positive and negative) and insights into any specialty interests or inate skills.

At the very least, you know that they know how to coil cable  ;-)
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Tom Young
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Brad Weber

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2013, 03:01:52 pm »

Now start throwing in some Computer Operations training with backup.  Networking.  Cat 5 and 6 cable  Crimping and tool.  Fiber (single and multi).   Computer trouble shooting.  NAS.   OS X, Windows, Linux.   OS familiarization.  Dante, AES3/EBU, Ethernet.   wifi 2.4 and 5   
 
digital and you get the idea.
Recently came across this http://mastermixlive.com/. Any of you have experience with these guys?

That is what I see as one of the greatest challenges for 'fast track' courses or programs, there is an increasing array of expertise involved but all the underlying basic physics, mechanics, acoustics, electronics, etc. as well as people skills, oral and written presentation skills, liability and contractual issues and so on are also still relevant.  How do you effectively cover all that in 20 weeks and if you can't, what is covered or not covered?


It's not so much those already in the industry thinking someone with a certificate from a 20 week program would know everything as much as whether those signing up understand that.
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Jared Koopman

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2013, 04:24:10 pm »

That is what I see as one of the greatest challenges for 'fast track' courses or programs, there is an increasing array of expertise involved but all the underlying basic physics, mechanics, acoustics, electronics, etc. as well as people skills, oral and written presentation skills, liability and contractual issues and so on are also still relevant.  How do you effectively cover all that in 20 weeks and if you can't, what is covered or not covered?


It's not so much those already in the industry thinking someone with a certificate from a 20 week program would know everything as much as whether those signing up understand that.

Of course all that "other stuff" is important, but does that take away from what someone could learn from these courses? Just because the course doesn't include contracts 101 does that mean all is a waste and not worth it? Certainly there is something of value in a program like this. No it doesn't mean a graduate will get a gig for an A list act upon graduation. As like you said, there are many aspects to this business not just "do you know what button A does".

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Brad Weber

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2013, 08:28:01 am »

Of course all that "other stuff" is important, but does that take away from what someone could learn from these courses? Just because the course doesn't include contracts 101 does that mean all is a waste and not worth it? Certainly there is something of value in a program like this. No it doesn't mean a graduate will get a gig for an A list act upon graduation. As like you said, there are many aspects to this business not just "do you know what button A does".
I wasn't implying that is wasn't potentially beneficial, sorry if it came across that way. Courses that focus on new technology can also be very useful for those who have been in the business for years and are expanding on an existing strong understanding of the other aspects.  However, I have seen too many "audio engineering" programs that seem to be heavy on 'how to' and a bit light on why you are doing something, or not doing something, in the first place.  And way too many graduates of such courses with little or no additional experience and knowledge that seem to think they already know all there is to know.
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Craig Leerman

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Re: the future of live audio training ?
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2013, 02:02:05 am »

Recently came across this http://mastermixlive.com/. Any of you have experience with these guys?

This is a new school that is starting here in Las vegas. The owner is Rick Camp, a seasoned touring guy who just finished a world tour with Jennifer Lopez.  Rick is a smart guy and the concept is to give a better audio education with a lot of hands on and smaller class sizes than the big schools. I think the first class starts this summer.

Craig
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