Skip to main content

Hello, just registered, but a long time reader and looking for a little advice from some musical minds.

I am 26 years old, have been playing music at some capacity or another since age 5, have 10 years experience in bands, touring, recording, releasing records, booking, promotions, and gigging my ass off, own and operate a small Pro ToolsHD studio out of my dining room, make almost no money but work on stuff I enjoy or am involved with, produce a few young artists and help develop their talents, and except for piano lessons as a child I have no formal training, and I am looking for a life-long career as a record producer in this music business.

I have been offered the chance to have my tuition funded at a school or music program of my choice to help in the advancement of my career. I have looked into SAE, LA Recording Workshop, and a few others around town (screw M.I.), but am having trouble deciding if my direction should be towards engineering and the technical side of things, instruments and music theory and improving my musical ability, or more towards music business and that sort of thing. OR is there a place where I can get an equal balance of all three?

I am hoping to enroll soon and get started by the fall. Also, I kinda need to stay in LA too, so Berklee and the like are out of the question.

I am at a crossroads in my life and need some guidance. Any info, insights, suggestions, warnings, or recommendations anyone of you might have will be greatly appreciated.

I'm consistantly impressed with the amount of knowledge to be gained simply by reading through these boards. Thanks in advance for your help!

Topic Tags


pr0gr4m Tue, 06/13/2006 - 13:25

The occupation you pick in the music industry is very important. A musician would obviously focus on learning an instrument, theory, and that sort of stuff. An engineer, at first, needs to know the technical aspects of the equipment, how it works, how to use it.

Now a producer is a different sort of beast. Musicians and engineers can be taught. But I don't really think the same holds true for a producer. Generally, producers (the good ones - and some bad) are ex-musicians or ex-engineers or ex-music industry people who have learned through experience that they gained over time. They've spent time in bands and in studios and have aquired knowledge that simply can't be taught in a class. My point is that you can't really learn what a producer needs to know from a school.

To try an illustrate my point, imagine this: If you were in a band and you were shopping for a producer, what would you look for? You might want one who is familiar with your type of music. Then you would probably want one with a lot of experience. On top of that, you may want one who has lots of good connections. These are things that one gets from being in the business for a while.

There's is always the alternative where you might want a new fresh sound and you would try to go with a lesser known producer, but even then you would want to know what he's worked on. You probably wouldn't want to leave it in the hands of some green recruit fresh out of FullSail.

Basically what I'm saying is, if being a producer is your goal, don't expect to come out of any school and be a producer. The skills you learn, whether they be artistic (musical) or technical (engineering) will definitely be beneficial, but that information alone won't make you a producer.

The alternative to a school would be to work at a studio. It's the best learning experience you could have for this business.


One thing I didn't touch on was talent and creativity. Good musicians have it as do good engineers and I feel it is a must for any producer to have it as well.

Suggesting which way for you to go is tough. If you are looking to start up a label, you definitely want to learn about the business...but I don't know how much of that you'll learn about at those schools. I think they focus more on recording engineering rather than the actual business.

If you are looking to be a producer for hire, experience is what you need. You may want to work with new bands who need musical assistance in which case you'll need a good background in music. But if you want to work with more established groups that have no problems with sounds or writing, then the technical info is what you need.

Then there's the hip-hop producer. They are really more like song writers creating beats, loops and basically writing thge songs for the artists.

I know this didn't give you any direction to go, but I hope it helps you to decide.