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Author Topic: Education  (Read 2681 times)

Ever Cruz

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Education
« on: January 02, 2020, 06:10:39 PM »

Happy New Year!

I don't know if this is a dumb question or if this is the place i should be asking the question...

A LITTLE BACKGROUND:

I'm a 21 year old from Houston, TX and recently became the leader of the audio & Production team of my church. My church is a 19 year old Hispanic church with about 250 people attending every Sunday and to be completely honest we have never had any professional help when it comes to our audio or production. Our Pastor (who's also my father) hasn't put too much thought into it because 1. he doesn't know who or where to ask (i'm sort of in the same boat) 2. doesn't think it's a big deal and has put his focus on other things other than upgrading our audio and production systems. I don't put any blame on my pastor because I understand that keeping the lights on is more important.

This past summer I dedicated myself to making upgrades to our audio equipment by replacing old cables, adding a digital board, adding a digital snake, replacing our projector and projector screen. But I feel like i'm lacking technical knowledge on things like speakers and whatnot but found I actually love doing it and have wondered about careers in the audio and production world. I don't see myself abandoning my church for a bigger church because of both my roots within my church and desire to see it flourish more.

Q: Does pursuing a degree or certification in Audio & Production lead to a stable career with good pay and is pursuing a degree or certification even worth it?

If you read that whole thing thank you.
If you have any personal advice or stories feel free to comment, anything helps.

Thanks & God Bless
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brian maddox

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Re: Education
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2020, 06:37:20 PM »

Happy New Year!

I don't know if this is a dumb question or if this is the place i should be asking the question...

A LITTLE BACKGROUND:

I'm a 21 year old from Houston, TX and recently became the leader of the audio & Production team of my church. My church is a 19 year old Hispanic church with about 250 people attending every Sunday and to be completely honest we have never had any professional help when it comes to our audio or production. Our Pastor (who's also my father) hasn't put too much thought into it because 1. he doesn't know who or where to ask (i'm sort of in the same boat) 2. doesn't think it's a big deal and has put his focus on other things other than upgrading our audio and production systems. I don't put any blame on my pastor because I understand that keeping the lights on is more important.

This past summer I dedicated myself to making upgrades to our audio equipment by replacing old cables, adding a digital board, adding a digital snake, replacing our projector and projector screen. But I feel like i'm lacking technical knowledge on things like speakers and whatnot but found I actually love doing it and have wondered about careers in the audio and production world. I don't see myself abandoning my church for a bigger church because of both my roots within my church and desire to see it flourish more.

Q: Does pursuing a degree or certification in Audio & Production lead to a stable career with good pay and is pursuing a degree or certification even worth it?

If you read that whole thing thank you.
If you have any personal advice or stories feel free to comment, anything helps.

Thanks & God Bless

Hey Ever -

So, i'm a self-taught 54 years old audio guy that has made my living doing this for about 30 years or so.  I've also been very involved in the Church Production Community for most of that time as well.

When i was coming up, there were NO educational tracks to get into this business, so i learned what i could on my own and hustled a lot and i've done pretty well.  That being said, the first decade of so was GRUELING and it's still a tough tough business to make a good living in.

In the last 15-20 years there have been a number of degree programs sprouting up all over the country.  Some are good, but most are for-profit businesses that will take your college loan money and teach you only a small portion of the things you will actually need to know to make a living in this business.  IME, every person i have seen that went through one of these programs and succeeded would have still succeeded if they had simply hustled and learned on the job.  In most cases they likely would have gotten farther faster.  I've also seen a number of people so saddled with college loan debt that they lacked the flexibility to get the entry level positions that they were actually qualified for so they ended up in other lines of work.

Am i saying you should NOT go to any of the available degree or certification programs?  No.  Although i will say that if you have to take on thousands of dollars in student loans to you should absolutely NOT do it.  The burden of debt early in your career will hamper you in ways that cannot be overestimated and should be avoided at all costs.

Bottom line:  Audio & Production are still very young career fields and there just isn't an established guaranteed path to success in it yet. It's not like being a lawyer or accountant where as long as you go to school and get the required degrees you're going to be able to find work in that field.  It's also a difficult place to make a living in.  Everyone wants to play with expensive sound systems and mix music and hang out with talented famous people and do cool work.  Which means you're competing with a LOT of people and that means it's HARD.

I'll close with an encouragement.  There are a LOT of ways to make a living in this field that are not readily apparent and that often offer far more stable career paths.  Corporate A/V, Equipment design, System Design and installation, just to name a few.  Personally, I started in the biz doing lots of music production, but now I make my living doing audio for corporate events.  It's not as exciting as touring with Taylor Swift, but it pays the bills and i'm still learning and being challenged and that's what it's all about.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Education
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 07:55:56 PM »

For the immediate short term I would look at bringing in a real audio pro (not the guy who runs sound at the corner bar for free beer) to go over your system all the while going over with you the how and why things are connected in certain ways, what all the mixer functions are and how to use them and when not to use them.

Have them come out on rehearsal night and a service or two.
Consider it a system check up and a learning experience all in one.

Caleb Dueck

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Re: Education
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2020, 08:42:29 PM »

For the immediate short term I would look at bringing in a real audio pro (not the guy who runs sound at the corner bar for free beer) to go over your system all the while going over with you the how and why things are connected in certain ways, what all the mixer functions are and how to use them and when not to use them.

Have them come out on rehearsal night and a service or two.
Consider it a system check up and a learning experience all in one.

Big second to this, as long as it's a company that specializes in larger church systems.  The money you'll save from not buying the wrong gear before buying the correct type - will way more than make up for the cost.

As long as they have experienced people, say previous life as a large church tech director and extensive experience mixing - schedule a day for them to bring a multi-track recording and teach you the basics of, well, everything.  Take great notes, and do it again the next month, and the next.  Three sessions of this, if by an excellent teacher, will put you ahead of a year of college - and allow a couple others to sit in.  All for significantly lower cost. 
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Education
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2020, 04:26:57 PM »


Q: Does pursuing a degree or certification in Audio & Production lead to a stable career with good pay and is pursuing a degree or certification even worth it?


It could...  It might...  Stable career?  Odds are against that, in this Industry and most others nowadays (sigh).

There are no guarantees in this world, but a degree could increase your chances of success; not only in filling in gaps in knowledge and exposure to multiple systems, but in getting a foot in the door.  Programs that have solid reputations usually have graduates recruited by employers.

That said, a degree shouldn't cost an arm OR a leg.  Search for Community/Technical Colleges in your vicinity.  If you'd consider a school in North Carolina, I have a great recommendation for you.

As to your Church's immediate needs, agreed, consult a Professional to get a long-term plan established.

Dave


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Jean-Pierre Coetzee

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Re: Education
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2020, 10:36:16 PM »

Regarding education, as others have said, it might be best to get in at the ground floor with a decent sized production company in your area, music events are great but you will probably benefit more from corporate work in a church environment.

A church mix and a live event mix isn't always the same with regards to music and music events can be a little gorilla sometimes where a gorilla corporate event is one that you might not be hired for again, unless it was under quite extraneous circumstances. Generally you don't want to have glitches and problems in corporate and you will likely learn about getting things right from the start there.

Working on higher end systems I find I tend to use a lot more studio based micing techniques if they will fit in a live environment, you would be shocked how much stuff you have no idea how to even listen for can make a massive difference and those guys have been getting it right for a long time. Pickup a copy of the Recording Engineer's handbook, even if just to get the section on micing instruments, not all of it applies to live but a decent amount of it does.

As a tech for church learn how to maintain drum kits, guitars, change keys on keyboards (the actual keys not the musical kind), change lamps in lights, how to position lights for optimal lighting on stage (google theatrical lighting), how to maintain and repair all sorts of stands.

If you need it in your state, get working at heights certification and certification to work on scaffolding, trust me if your roof is high enough that you need it for something you want to be able to help out a contractor that comes in so that you can learn first hand, this will also help getting jobs in the industry. I'm pretty sure that if there was a choice in your area between a stage hand that can't work at heights and one that can the one that can will probably get more work, same with one that can/can't do any lamp work(working on lighting rigs).
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Lance Rectanus

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Re: Education
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2020, 05:23:52 AM »

Curt Taipale has a Church Sound Bootcamp class in the Houston area on Feb 7/8.

This was the first formal education I received and I was awed.

You will also come away with a bunch of local contacts of fellow volunteer sound people.

It is definitely a good investment of your time and money.

https://churchsoundbootcamp.com/
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Steve-White

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Re: Education
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2020, 12:42:06 AM »

It could...  It might...  Stable career?  Odds are against that, in this Industry and most others nowadays (sigh).

There are no guarantees in this world, but a degree could increase your chances of success; not only in filling in gaps in knowledge and exposure to multiple systems, but in getting a foot in the door.  Programs that have solid reputations usually have graduates recruited by employers.

That said, a degree shouldn't cost an arm OR a leg.  Search for Community/Technical Colleges in your vicinity.  If you'd consider a school in North Carolina, I have a great recommendation for you.

As to your Church's immediate needs, agreed, consult a Professional to get a long-term plan established.

Dave

Everything that's already been said is spot on.  I have been in the business off and on for the past 40 years.  Did a 2 year Theatre Arts lighting and sound certification back in the 80's, then transitioned "out" of lighting and sound and into aerospace.  Now transitioning "out" of aerospace and "back" into lighting and sound.

Go to college - find the best theatre program in your area and get what you can there.  Then, if you want to pursue something more in the future, you'll be much better positioned to make good decisions for yourself - not meant to insult you.  But, yeah lots of programs are "businesses" and expensive.  A college ticket can take you any direction you want to go.

And +1 more to getting some experienced pro's to have a look at the church system and "consult".

I took a stagecraft class back in the fall of 1984 and found out that I really loved technical theatre for a major and went on with it from there.  If you have a "fire inside" to do this work, a formal theatre program will fan the flames.  :)
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Matthias McCready

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Re: Education
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2022, 02:02:15 PM »

If you get a degree and certification, it will be much easier to excel in this field. Because the certificate guarantees quality, you will be able to continue your career in this field. On the other hand, the cost of certification can be very high. The level of bureaucracy today is very high, so it is important to have a paper that will prove your skills. I take a lot of courses to improve my skills. Courses often assign essays, and I turn to the "best essay writing service reddit 2022" when I don't have enough time to write an essay. I don't mind spending money to save personal time.

This spam post is pure gold  ;D ;D ;D
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Education
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2022, 01:02:26 PM »

Right at 30 years ago I was asked to run sound at my church-close to the size of yours.  I had the advantage of a professionally installed system-even if there were a couple cost saving shortcuts (the hacks on the analog snake to eliminate RFI were ugly and took me a while to sort out).

In any case, a passion for getting it right, asking a lot of questions (some no doubt silly) of the guys (and gals) on here has served me well.  I did grab a couple of books recommended here and read them.  I have been amazed and very much appreciated the time the true professionals on here have taken to help me with things that no doubt seemed simple to them.  The brain trust on here is incredible-read and pay attention to who is talking before jumping to conclusions.  Technical questions like speakers/mics/methods?  This forum is gold

There is no substitute for taking time with your system outside of service times.  Play with it-play back music you know, etc.  figure out what happens when you adjust this eq setting or whatever.  Get musicians to come in a practice so you can experiment-experience and inevitable mistakes are less painful without a large audience.

Is there a place for professionals?  Most certainly-but one thing you will learn is that its not just about the electronics-the physical acoustics of your space are just as or more important.  From my point of view, a tech that is passionate about sound (and taking it a step further in a worship scenario-supporting the vision of leadership for the service) and learning from the right people that works with sound in a space every service week after week for years can accomplish more than a professional that you can only afford to have there for a week or two.

I'm sure I do plenty "wrong" and after 30 years I am still learning-but it has been and still is a rewarding journey.
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Steve Swaffer

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Re: Education
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2022, 01:02:26 PM »


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