The music industry is a robust and vibrant place. It’s filled with interesting people doing weird things. It’s a place where creativity and invention reign supreme. It’s a career path that many desire but few pursue with enough gusto and verve to be truly successful. But that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? You’re someone who’s passionate and dedicated to pursuing your dreams.
However, you realize that in the journey of becoming an audio engineer, it’s important to get the right education. To build up your skills and become a craftsman. To really dig it and delve down to the core of what really makes the things you love work. To examine and breakdown your favorite works of art into their most basic of building blocks, so that you can understand them and build it all the way back up.
When you’re looking for an academic institution to help you gain these skills it’s important to keep an eye out for a very specific list of key attributes. These things will help you to decide if this place really can help you to gain the skills you need to push through to the next level, or if it’s just a place that wants to take your money.
Audio Engineering School Must Haves
- Hands-on Training. Audio engineering is learned best with a practical, hands-on approach, not by textbooks. Make sure your school offers plenty of time to work on real equipment, and that you’re not competing with lots of students to get time on the gear.
- State-of-the-Art Equipment/Software. Technological advances are so fast these days that it doesn’t take long for equipment and software to become obsolete. Make sure your school is using the latest gear and up-to-date versions of software.
- Actual work experience. Learning in classrooms and on-campus studio simulations is not enough; you need time in a real recording studio in order to learn the ropes—not only for your education, but also because the studios will be looking at your work experience (not your degree or diploma). Make sure your school offers opportunities to get real on-the-job work experience.
- Personalized approach. A cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work when it comes to audio engineering. Make sure your school can tailor its curriculum to your personal career goals.
- One-on-one Instruction. Industry professionals agree that audio engineering is best learned one-on-one. Make sure your school allows for some personalized instruction from your teacher.
- Industry connections. No matter how educated you are, it is nearly impossible to land a job in the music industry without connections. Your audio school should have some way of helping you make these connections, or you could find yourself struggling to find work after graduation. (Note: of the top 10 things to look for in audio engineering school, this one is probably the most difficult to find.)
- Affordability. It is possible to get a quality audio education without taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt just when you’re trying to launch your career. Make sure your school offers a cost-effective tuition rate.
- Working on your own projects. As an aspiring producer/engineer, you no doubt have your own ideas for projects to work on, and there’s no good reason why you can’t build your resume while you learn. A good audio school will help you integrate your own projects into your studies.
- Good job placement. Don’t be fooled: a list of job openings offered by the school is NOT a good job placement policy. A good audio engineering school will go the extra mile, preparing you for interviews and even helping make introductions.
- Ongoing support. The music industry runs on relationships, and the relationships you make in the school should continue past graduation. Make sure your school offers a good support system for its alumni.
A Fully-Immersive Audio Engineering Education
At the Recording Connection, we strive to be able to offer all ten items on this list. We have a long legacy of finding positive environments within the industry that will foster the talent of up-and-coming engineers. We want to make sure that everyone involved has a great experience because we understand that that only leads to good things. If you and your mentor get along that means you’re going to be forming new connections and producing more work. It’s a winning scenario for everyone.
We’ve found that the mentor-extern training approach is the best way to build careers. Learning on-the-job gives you the chance to learn one-on-one from a working professional, practice on the latest studio gear, make real connections, and focus on your areas of interest while working on your own projects. All for a fraction of what it would cost to train you in a classroom. And because of the relationships you form, both with the school and with your mentor studio, job placement and ongoing support are built into the process.
It sounds like something that should exist, doesn’t it? A pipeline from the educational process into a real career trajectory. Every school should offer this, but they don’t. Which is why we went out of our way to build this into our curriculum. We believe that education is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s important that we help young people find their place in the industry. That should be standard operating procedure. But it’s not, for some reason. Which just means one thing: The Recording Connection is a cut above the rest.