By the time Andrew Kirk came across the Recording Connection and enrolled as a student, he had already had nearly a decade of experience in recording—but he knew he needed more. “It’s a tough industry to break into,” he says. Seeing how I never had any formal education, I had done a lot of freelance engineer work for a lot of different studios before, none of which paid very well. I had been considering, the last four or five years, actually getting a formal education. I would call myself street smart equivalent to using recording gear; I did not know the science behind it. There was a lot that I wanted to learn.

“What drew me to Recording Connection was comparing them to a lot of different schools,” Kirk continues, adding that he had seriously considered moving from Boston to Florida to attend Full Sail University. “Full Sail deals with hundreds and hundreds of students and they are just pumping out people with degrees into the industry without getting much actual real world recording experience, which is very important in this industry.” At the end of the day, he decided on Recording Connection because of the real-world connection. “I was going to be learning in a real studio, doing actual real work.”

The Recording Connection placed Kirk in one of the top recording studios in the world, where as a working student extern he got to participate in some high-profile projects. “I had the opportunity of doing voice over work for MTV, something that you would never be able to do while going to school for this sort of thing,” he says. “I got to work closely with an MTV producer and an MTV actress. I actually did voice over work, which I can put on my resume. I have experience with that now.”

Kirk attributes much of his success as a Recording Connection student to his mentor, himself a Recording Connection graduate who was already working in a top-shelf recording studio. “I actually loved my mentor because I connected with him a lot,” he says. We were similar age-wise and similar in interests. It worked out really well. Also, he was able to answer any question I ever had…Through the program he said I was asking questions that he had never heard before and never really thought of before, which is nice. He was able to answer them.”

Going into the Recording Connection program as someone with prior “street level” experience in audio engineering, Kirk understood the dynamics of the industry better than most. Now a graduate with honors from the program, Kirk has already been able to develop an impressive resume with his work experience as a student, and knows how to make the most of the connections he made in the program.

His advice to others who want to break into the industry? “What everyone needs to understand is that it is a tough industry to break into,’ he says. “Some people get lucky and have the opportunity to get right in working under a good engineer in a studio as an intern…For most of us that doesn’t happen. You do need to look at furthering your education some way…Through my research I found that one of the best ways is through the Recording Connection. They will get you in a studio. They will help you start making connections. From then on it is really all about you.”

— Andrew Kirk, Tampa, FL

Get your music production certification and build your music production and audio engineering skills by learning with an industry professional near you.