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Author Topic: Need recommendation on schools for audio education  (Read 4320 times)

Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Need recommendation on schools for audio education
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2011, 02:39:52 pm »

My standard reply when people ask these questions:

Go to college, get a degree in business or management if you want to run a sound company; electrical engineering if you want to work for a manufacturer designing consoles and speakers and what not; or design and production if you want to be out mixing shows. I tend to think the management and business degree is the better all around option. I started college as a music performance major, and ended it as an arts management major (think non-profit and grant writing stuff), with some IT classes thrown in for good measure (actually computer and networking skills are starting to become a fundamental skill set in our industry).

One of the biggest problems that I run into when dealing with the younger and less experienced guys that want to do this work is their lack of critical thinking and reading comprehension skills. Believe it or not, but sitting in a theatre history class reading Shakespeare will absolutely help you to understand that technical manual for that new console or matrix DSP unit that you have to learn for next weekend's gig. The guys that we have here locally who have gone to college and come up through the ranks working the occasional call are worlds better technicians and stage hands than those who have avoided college like the plague only to work as much as possible. In my experience, I don't see that the "just on the job training" approach produces anywhere near the quality of technician or engineer or just run of the mill stage hand as people like to purport it does.

My suggestion is to go to college, major in business or management (maybe even find a program that does production management or arts management), work with the school theatre department, AV club, or TV station, work the occasional IA call at the arena or local performing arts facility on the weekends and do summer stock theatre or something like the Vans Warped tour over the summer. When he gets out of school, he will have a well rounded education, and experience, and be much better prepared to make a living for himself and his family.
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Justice C. Bigler
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Rick Earl

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Re: Need recommendation on schools for audio education
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 10:42:52 am »

Hello - my son is entering his senior year of high school and is interested in music production/audio technology education. Anyone have any thoughts on what avenues of education are good?

Working at a university I might have a different view.   Prior to  working here I had a solid 25 years touring and working with production companies.   Degrees meant very little to me when hiring, as it all boiled down to; can you do the job right?   A good recommendation meant more than any resumeí.  Work ethic, a solid knowledge of the job and the ability to play nice with others goes a lot further than book smarts when it comes to this industry.
Today, it is much hard to do anything without a degree.  I donít think it really matters WHAT field the degree is in as much as the paper itself. (Of course for some areas that is not true, I am not sure I want an English major operating on my spine).
I am pretty fond of our Music Technology program here.  The philosophy is a solid background in music and technology, but in an environment that teaches the students to think and figure things out for themselves.   Internships expose the students to professional companies and practices and the curriculum has the students supporting the music department in the studio and for live events.   A degree from here or any school will not guarantee a job or success, which is more dependent upon the studentís drive and desire.  It is what a student puts into their education that determines what they will get out of it.   We have graduates who have succeeded in the field and others who have not (and probably never will).  There are very few surprises there too; we are pretty good at predicting the outcome. 
We are successful in this industry because we work hard, we seek out knowledge and we are determined to make things happen.    A determined student can do the same.  They need to find the school that fits their learning style and enroll.  If they truly want to be part of this industry they need to seek out as many opportunities as possible to participate.   Those who work hard and actively seek knowledge and experience generally succeed, those who passively want to be taught and are worried more about just grades and getting by, usually donít. 
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Sam Zuckerman

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Re: Need recommendation on schools for audio education
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 03:22:56 pm »

Just have him get out there and do it. I really got into the business by working on my high school's theater productions. Nothing like being tossed behind 10 wireless mics, amateur vocalists no processing and a reverberant room prone to feedback in order to learn.
Unfortunately, inexperienced people put into such situations with limited or poor mentoring often seem to be as likely to learn as bad habits and misconceptions as they are to learn anything worthwhile.  Whether it is in formal education or on the job training, the quality of the teching and mentoring can have much to do with the value of the experience.
Very true. I had a fairly good mentor back then but he wasn't there all the time. I can't even begin to think about how many articles I read when I was in high school in order to improve my mixing habits. In my own opinion I didn't get any good until recently.

Of course I was not telling someone to get thrown to the wolves all alone. A teacher is needed. When I train new people at work I give them a quick overview of what they need to do then have them go do it. I like to see how someone will react first day on the job with little help. Trial by fire can be effective but it doesn't work for everybody.

My standard reply when people ask these questions:

Go to college, get a degree in business or management if you want to run a sound company; electrical engineering if you want to work for a manufacturer designing consoles and speakers and what not; or design and production if you want to be out mixing shows. I tend to think the management and business degree is the better all around option. I started college as a music performance major, and ended it as an arts management major (think non-profit and grant writing stuff), with some IT classes thrown in for good measure (actually computer and networking skills are starting to become a fundamental skill set in our industry).

One of the biggest problems that I run into when dealing with the younger and less experienced guys that want to do this work is their lack of critical thinking and reading comprehension skills. Believe it or not, but sitting in a theatre history class reading Shakespeare will absolutely help you to understand that technical manual for that new console or matrix DSP unit that you have to learn for next weekend's gig. The guys that we have here locally who have gone to college and come up through the ranks working the occasional call are worlds better technicians and stage hands than those who have avoided college like the plague only to work as much as possible. In my experience, I don't see that the "just on the job training" approach produces anywhere near the quality of technician or engineer or just run of the mill stage hand as people like to purport it does.

My suggestion is to go to college, major in business or management (maybe even find a program that does production management or arts management), work with the school theatre department, AV club, or TV station, work the occasional IA call at the arena or local performing arts facility on the weekends and do summer stock theatre or something like the Vans Warped tour over the summer. When he gets out of school, he will have a well rounded education, and experience, and be much better prepared to make a living for himself and his family.
This is what I'm doing. Majoring in theater production and spending as much time in the sound booth as possible. I also managed to land a job at the student union doing tech work. In the summer I work the local festivals.
And as much as I hate reading Shakespeare it does help a lot.
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Re: Need recommendation on schools for audio education
¬ę Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 03:22:56 pm ¬Ľ


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