advise on career path

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by natron, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. natron

    natron Guest

    Hello--I have a question for those of you that are working (or have worked) in the larger facilities that hire interns. I have a nephew that seems to have a natural aptitude for engineering (his mixes blow mine away, and he hasn’t been at it as long). He also genuinely enjoys it, so I would like to see him with a career in the field. He began the audio program at the Art Institute in Seattle, but didn’t finish--he is skeptical that a degree from this institution will really help him get a job. Of course not having the degree hasn’t helped him find one either. As professionals working in the field, would you recommend that he finish his degree at the Art Institute before finding an internship, or rely on the skills he has already acquired (primarily in Protools) and continue to look for an internship? Alternatively, should he just take the PT training courses offered by Digidesign and get a certification through them? For employability’s sake, would you recommend training in post-production? Are their generally more career opportunities in post? What other approaches to a career in the field might he consider? Thanks in advance for your advice.
  2. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    In addition to anything anyone else might offer:

    Open up your wallet, and help him get travelling expenses together for NY.

    From Craigslist:

    Recording Studio Intern needed (SoHo)
    Reply to:
    Date: 2007-03-28, 3:48PM EDT

    If you interested in music engineering there is a good place to start. Most big studios make you an assistant in no less than a year or two. Here, if you are willing to work and you have the skills you could become an assistant sooner. In this studio we not only care about our future but yours too.
    We offer you studio experience, yes we let you stay inside for recording sessions and help with set-ups!
    It is a great studio with SSL G+ console, various outboard gear (neve, API, Distressors, 1176, etc) and big live room. Our client list includes Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bolton, John Patitucci, Sean Lennon among others. We won't consider applications without resume and cover letter.
    Audio degree or Audio school attendance prefered but not needed.
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    There are soooooooo many schools graduating audio "engineers" now that the market place is basically over saturated. I know of one really good engineer that graduated from a top two year school as an audio engineer and is now selling cell phones. I also know a student who worked here for a while. He was a very good student who graduated top of his class from a four year degree granting college and he has had numerous jobs none of which are able to utilize his skills as an audio engineer. The last I heard he was living with his parents and doing some dead end job. It is all about networking and finding somewhere that will take your nephew on and let him grow into his potential. If he can find a good internship then he can prove himself and if he does a good job then he maybe hired on full time. The problem today is more and more larger multi person studios going out of business and are being replaced by small single owner operators who really don't need anyone else to help them out. So the amount of internships available is dwindling not growing.

    Best of luck to your nephew.
  4. kooz

    kooz Active Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    not the beach
    Your nephew is correct to be sceptical about the ability of an education alone to get him started on a career in the biz. People with ears/the ability to mix are always in demand, but until you make a name for yourself, you're going to have to dig for work, and work to keep it coming.
    The real questions, as Thom. Bethel alluded to, are whether he has the necessary people skills to network, and the drive to do it (on his own).
    The "big" facilities are always going to be there, but they're looking for people with educations, people skills and talent. A little experience doesn't hurt either. The key factor is being able to connect not just equipment but people.
    Without the "warm and fuzzy" aspect, business/clients go away despite the quality of work or the equipment.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I will agree with all the assessments to this point. The people skills and the ability to market yourself is one step that many others will naturally lack.

    Since I have seen the facilities at Seattle Art Institute, I can tell you that they are are some of the better recording rooms in this sort of facility. Theres not many 'schools' that have an analog room with a Harrison 12 in it.( I certainly hope its still there!!!....If not I want it) I would say that the degree isnt that important but the training and the hours on the gear is. I believe they also delve into the operation of the gear as well as some other tech type of things. THESE are skills that will also advance you in this business quickly. Did I mention the people skills? It cannot be emphasized enough.
  6. natron

    natron Guest

    Thanks very much for your input (and for the info on the internship madtiger!). The responses seem mixed regarding whether he should continue to invest in school. I feel that he has the people-skills (of course I'm biased), and it's hard to imagine that the additional knowledge provided by the school would be a bad thing (though whether it justifies the expense is seems to be questionable). It's good to know that the school is fairly reputable. Another option is to help him set up a decent studio in his area (he is already doing a bit of work with a Digi002r, etc.). But I'm concerned that, with the ever-increasing quality and use of pro-sumer gear, there will be a continued shift toward dyi recording, leaving the smaller studios, well-equipped though they may be, struggling. Thoughts on this? Considering the current state of the audio engineering industry, which path do you see as most apt to lead to a successful career?
    Thanks again, NT
  7. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    He should definately look at audio post production. It's a (slowly) growing field, especially in the field of the internet.

    If he already has a lot of time invested in his degree he should finish up. Internships, although the competition is fierce, generally go to those who have a degree. Interning at a successful facility may not get him any future work, but will show him how a professional audio business is run so that if he does open his own one-man shop he will learn to work under pressure, avoid many of the major pitfalls start-ups encounter and have an understanding of what clients demand.

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