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Audio Education (part 2)

A young hopeful wants to get into the music industry. He or she thinks that a course would open the door to fame and fortune. It won’t - it will only open the door out onto the back street!


A young hopeful wants to get into the music industry. He or she thinks that a course would open the door to fame and fortune.

It won’t - it will only open the door out onto the back street!

Another young hopeful wants to get into a recording studio thinking that it will be full of glamourous exciting people living fast expensive lifestyles.

Dream on!

A musician has a unfulfilled passion to be a performer. He thinks that working as a recording engineer would be the next best thing to do.

Can this person compete with people for whom recording is the only thing?

A keen follower of a certain musical style expects a course to provide training in that style as though no others exist.

That style will be past its sell-by date by the end of the course.

A young person is forever tinkering with equipment, taking it apart to see how it works and successfully putting it back together.

Don’t be a recording engineer - be a maintenance engineer and get paid more!

A musically and technically aware person wants to work with people and equipment on demanding but rewarding projects and has the determination to start at the bottom and work up slowly to a fulfilling career as a recording engineer.

Is this you? You may have what it takes.

Recording engineering is popular, but there are other types of sound engineering too. In fact, when you take all the different types of sound engineering applications together, recording engineering is a very tiny segment. There are many more microphones used to pick up speech than for any musical purpose. Where a recording engineer requires an ability to operate the equipment in the multitrack studio and work successfully with musicians and producers, other fields of sound engineering tend to be more technical. For instance, if you want to be a PA engineer working on large projects (as opposed to the band down at the local pub) then you will need to be able to specify a system suitable for the venue, direct and assist in setting up, operate the system, and track down any faults that occur. As you might expect from this, recording engineers and PA engineers are two very different breeds of people, the former more musical, the latter more technical. If you want to go for the ultimate in technical sound engineering, then you should be looking at broadcast work, preferably live outside broadcasts. Here you will be involved in sound systems that will carry information or entertainment literally to millions. You won’t get the chance to say “Sorry, can we take that again?”.

Although I am concentrating on recording engineering for this article it’s also worth mentioning that there is a growing market for education in music technology, dealing with synthesisers, samplers, computers and software etc. And also, there is the business of music too. Where would musicians and engineers be without people to run the financial and managerial side of things?

By David Mellor Saturday April 28, 2012
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