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Choosing a recording school, Really Need Help !

Member for

21 years 2 months
I'm trying to choose a recording school to go to in the next few months but I live in India so I have nothing much to go by except for the websites of the schools. I want to go to a good school with great equipment, faculty, internship and placements. Cost is not really the factor, cause I can try for financial aid (I'm a U.S. citizen). I was really impressed with Fullsail, Ex'pression for New Media, Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, and Los Angeles Recording Workshop. I know that the length of the course in the first 2 is about double the length of the course in the second 2. Does this extra training in the first 2 make a lot of difference ? Is anyone here a graduate or a student of any of these schools or any other good schools ? I really need suggestions and help because no one here knows anything about recording schools. Thank you so much.


Member for

20 years 4 months

audiowkstation Sun, 09/16/2001 - 05:17
Once you choose the area in the US or wherever you decide to go, get your place together and settle in. A grant for school or self finance, get comfortable living quarters. Before you settle on a school...look at this post and think about it.

You do have options. Many of them.
Part 1
One of the best options is to "can" the idea of going to a formal School and to look up a major local or semi local recording studio, hang out with them and create a dialog. Get in there...even if you are just taking out the trash. Get to know the Owner and Chief engineer. Learn the basics, learn the patchbay, learn the mic placement techniques, be a gopher. Learn all you can and make yourself a valuable asset to the studio. Help when you can and come in regularly. Don't get in the way and don't ask too many questions at first. Just observe and learn. Within a few months, you will probably be doing duties like archiving, helping with invoicing, follow-up calls... etc.

Learning this business is so much more than just learning the equipment. You have to have hands on experience from the well seasoned vets in this. As a Studio owner, I spend as much time listening to music as I do producing, mixing, mastering. I keep my translation sharp. I spend a huge amount of time on the phone, on the computer, doing paperwork, lining up gigs, staying in the mix of the action. I have 2500 cassette tapes to archive to CD's that will probably never get done. Stuff I did in the 70's and backed up safetys' on cassette tape. Their is more work here than can be possibly handled and every studio I have ever been in that says they don't need anyone is just plain out close minded and cocky. Every studio I have ever been in (over 300) needs extra help. Their are not enough hours in the day. Get in there and be of assistance. One studio I visited had a bad attitude. I was out of town and needed to book some time. I was not "allowed in the "A" I asked..Can I use the "B" room. Once they saw me doing my thing...they said...why don't you use the "A" room. I said..this room is just fine, thank you...had cheaper rates. They wanted to hire me on the spot. They could not afford me.

You can print this post and use it. Go to your nearest studio and ask to meet the Owner or Chief engineer. Set up an appointment to come back and sit down and introduce yourself. "Hello, my name is...and when would be a good time to sit down and discuss something with you please? Then say...Here is my situation. Have them read this post. Ask if you can come in for a few hours each day on *their* terms as an intern. If they say they don't have an "intern program" just ask...let's start one, I am your first client.

I betcha that if you bring in a few projects to the studio, you will be behind the big board with a key to the control room witin 12 months...and getting paid.

I started at the top. I said...screw this, I am good at this, this is what I am going to do. 25 years ago I did just this and I was Chief engineer of a major facility in 2 weeks. I cannot promise the first studio will take you up on this but hell, it is worth a shot. If you run into a bunch of snobbish assholes, ask yourself: Do I want to work around these people?

People make a great with the best.

Part 2


How many times has someone spent 28K dollars or more going to a School to come out doing this:

1. Job at a tape duplication factory making 7.50/hr.

2. Financing their own equipment and building a project studio...and being about 2 years behind the learning curve than if they would have spent the 28K on equipment first.

3. Working with a bunch of assholes.

4. Getting fired because you said the wrong thing to the wrong person or your ideas were not appreciated or your ideas were used and you got no recognition.

5. Cannot find a damn job so you start part 1 and have already spent a load of money.

6. Find a road gig and blast your ears out to uselessness and by the time you are cannot hear shit.

I am 42 and I hear things that 21 year olds don't hear. I protect my hearing. I use to do house front at 114dB and then I put in the sonic ear valves because I knew the translation through them. It never came across harsh. FOH work is something I quit doing 20 years ago. I think 38 special was my last gig.

Two out of ten that graduate recording schools and colleges may find a decent job, most build their own studio and all of them spend a lot of money. Many of them owe their parents and change careers. I have seen it. I have also seen the finest chic at school make strait A's, get a job at the Weather channel and cannot mix at all. Horrible sound. (sorry Ladies, this was one example..I know plenty of Females who can mix great)

I know folks that make the top grades that graduate recording school, get a job at Disney, and they produce some of the most Sucky mixes I have ever heard. The ones who grow up through the ranks working with seasoned pros...either they have it pretty quick...or it is a lost cause. My first session was one of my best mixes ever. I was one with the board...and have maintained a learning curve to this very day. I taught at a major college for a little less than a year. The folks that mixed their ass off made bad grades...did not give a crap about the books. The ones who ace'd the books were tin-ears. They did NOT have it and graduated in the top of the class. Many folks in this industry cannot hear translation or remember how translation works. They simply make it easier for *me* to get more work. YMMV of course. You may get lucky. You will also find that what I say here is it or not.

Do what you feel is best. I hope this opens some light on the subject and you gain something from it.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 09/16/2001 - 14:51
Thanks Bill and Slick. Bill, are you serious that only 2 out of 10 grads get a job in the industry ?
That was really shocking. Even from a place like Fullsail ? Wouldn't the percentage of people who stay in the industry by starting out straight as an apprentice be far less ? Could you really learn the basics properly and get a good theoretical grounding on the equipment by being an apprentice when you can't even ask much questions ? I understand that knowing the equipment is only a part of it and that you don't really learn other real world aspects in a recording school, but I thought that you could get a good theoretical grounding in a school and then in the internship learn more about the real world. Another thing that I wanted to ask is approximately what percentage of students get hired in the same place that they do their internship ? Thanks a lot.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 09/17/2001 - 11:41
Slickshoe, I have a few questions for you that would really help me. When did you graduate from Fullsail ? Where did you do your internship ? Did you get a job straight out of school ? If so, where and as what and how much salary where you getting (If you don't mind me asking.) ? If not, when did you get a job and again where, as what and what salary ? Also what is your present job,where and what salary are you are you getting ? I hope I'm not asking too many questions but this kind of insight really helps. Living in India, except for this forum and websites of schools, I have no other sources of information. Thanks

Member for

20 years 3 months

Marching Ant Wed, 09/26/2001 - 12:46
Hi dimefreak.

I think that Bill's advice, although thoughtfull, is a little misleading. Shure, only 2 out of 10 people get a job, but he forgot to specify. 2 out of 10 get a job in the music industry, 5 out of 10 get a job in the radio/broadcast industry and 9 out of 10 get a job in the post production/location audio industry.

I got into this buisness about two years ago. I did exactly what Bill said to do. I went to a post production studio to get a foot in the door. Within three weeks I was a mix engineer and chief foley engineer and getting paid well. I learnt to use their console well, and learnt pro tools as well. After about a year of that, I got restless beacuse I really wanted to be in the music engineering business.

I went to a recording studio nearby. I used my connection at the post production studio to get a foot in the door at the studio. Shure enough, within 3 weeks I was engineering demos for bands and working in most of the studios. I learnt to use their equiptment very well. In the back of my mind was the idea of going to school, but I felt that I had learnt soo much in a year of being in the industry that I didn't need to go to school, but then something happened. The studio refurbished the studio that I used on a regular basis. They gave it all new equiptment, and a completely different console, and everyone had to re-learn to use the console, and the rest of the new equiptment. It took me, and everyone else a few weeks to get used to the controls and learn to troubleshooting it. One of the employees at the studio was there when the console arrived, as was I. Once it was setup, he and I sat down to figure it out. Within an hour, he was able to work every aspect of it, and, within two hours, he had a band in there recording a demo on it. I couldn't figure out how he was able to use it right away. He told me that he went to OIART ( or the Ontario Institue for Audio Recording Technology.
The point of the story was to point out that, yes you can learn a whole lot by going into a studio and being an intern, but you only learn what is available in that studio. You learn the console they have but could have no idea how to work any other console. The reason that my fellow employee was able to learn the new console really quickly was because at OIART, they taught him how to read a schematic diagram for a console. Every diagram for every console is drawn using the same priniples, which means that if you can read the diagram, you can learn the console, and troubleshoot the console, because all you have to do is look at the diagram, and follow the signal flow for what you need to do.

On top of that, they also teach you about MIDI, Auditory Imagery, Audio for Pictures, Studio Maintenance, How Microphones Work, Microphone use and placement, Recording Technology, Digital Technology, Music Theory, and a lot more.
In short, the teach you everything you need to know to be an audio engineer, and absolutely nothing you don't.
Also, every teacher is an Audio Engineer who work in the studio. The school is actually a studio, and the classroom is the control room. In labs, you do your own recordings with bands, or what ever you choose to do.
I am a student there now, and I am amazed at the amount of information I didn't learn after two years of being in the industry, that I have learnt in the first 2 weeks of classes. Ihe accept students from all over the world. The program is 11 months long and is extremely time consuming, as is the audio industry. Their hire rate is 100% if you graduate with honors, and 95% if you don't. The also have three people whose job it is to contact employers and get them interested in hiring a student after he/she graduates. Four of last year's graduates are working at Metalworks, which is Canada's most well known recording studio.
I would highly recomend this school, but in general, would highly recomend going to school.
You will learn things that a studio can't teach you.
Feel free to email me with any questions you have.

Member for

20 years 9 months

realdynamix Thu, 09/27/2001 - 04:26
Hey everyone, I just wanted you to read this article. To me this shows "The right stuff". Most of what I think is required for the job is the passion, regardless of where the training comes from, school, internship, or the basement studio. I admire this guy, and his humility, and his respect and determination. Please read!