Recording Arts Schools

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dr_Willie_OBGYN, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Aug 24, 2005
    Pacific Palisades, CA
    Home Page:
    These recording arts schools typically charge $30,000 for tuition. How many graduates are actually working afterwards? And think of the equipment you could buy for 30K... You could buy a Shadow Hills Compressor, a Manley Massive Passive Mastering EQ, work station, etc and learn by doing.

  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    Gear doesn't replace knowledge and experience.
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Here's a relevant thread, "Get Rich in the Music Business", from 2013 on the topic of the schools.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    In the grand scheme of things, 30 grand is chump change for college tuition these days... what you really mean to ask is whether these graduates would have job opportunities after spending that money on tuition...

    And the answer is.... no.

    The past several years has shown us more than just a few studios - some of them million dollar rooms like The Hit Factory - closing up shop and calling it quits.

    Perhaps there are still opportunities in multimedia audio - film, video games, etc. But I don't believe that 50K a year jobs for first - or even second - year graduates are abundant... more like 12k (if you're lucky) as an intern somewhere, in which your first three to five years will see you nowhere near a control room - other than to clean up. You'll see a lot more of the coffee and break room than you will the actual studio.
    You'd probably make more money at McDonaWendyBurgerChickenKing.

    When I'm asked from younger people how to go about starting a career in audio, most of the time I tell them that if they really want to make money and have a career with security, then audio production is nearly the last place that they should be looking.

    If you want job security and a decent paycheck, look to the health care industry... Nursing, Paramedics, Research, Pharmaceuticals... Teachers are also in high demand right now.

    Do the audio for fun, maybe as a little side business. But to rely on this business as a main form of income these days is, well, short-sighted, naive... and foolish.

    But then again, so is someone who has no knowledge or experience in audio going out and spending 30 grand on gear...

    IMHO of course.

    pcrecord likes this.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Here's my take. Most that teach, don't do. Those that do, don't teach. And what kind of audio work do you think you're going to do for a living? This is a trick question, ya know. I mean if you're going to go for some higher education? Some mathematics is required. I was never good with math but... to get a bachelors degree, from any respectable university today, is going to cost you the better part of 80-$100,000. That's what we used to pay for a house. And that requires a solid good paying jobs for 25 years plus, to pay off that one and only debt. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to do a little research, to find,that there is nothing out there to find. So the universities and the entire system of academia would lead you to believe, you need to spend that kind of money with them, so they can stay in business and you can look for work. I think Best Buy is hiring? Where you can put that recording degree to good use, selling lots of smart phones and video games. That's where the money is. Video games. It's bringing in more money than the recording industry and movie companies combined. And you could just buy your samples to make that crap. And you don't need a college degree, to then get wealthy. You just need to hit the lottery. That's simple enough if you buy enough tickets. I mean why don't billionaires just purchase all of the lottery tickets to become bigger billionaires? It's great to always win.. Ask the universities.

    There's a sucker born every minute...
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    you would do better to find a pro studio in your town and book time there and get them to give you one on one training. you won't get a degree but you will learn to do a session and then mix it at a substantial savings.

    i used to take on student/interns from one of those schools in Arid-zoneia and another one in SF .... not one of them came prepared to do a session on their own. most of them i had to retrain completely because they came away from the school with no skills. some i had to fire.

    these schools aren't there to really teach, they are there to run people through and then send them out. that's how they make money. i suppose they send the really good students to the big time rooms but not everyone is going to make that cut.

    i think the saying goes; those who can, do. those who can't, teach.
    DonnyAir likes this.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    LOL Actually, I think the saying is "those who can teach, teach. Those who can't, teach Phys Ed." ;)

    I absolutely agree with Kurt regarding the "get them in and get them out" model of most recording "schools". There's no way you can learn what you need to learn in the short time you are there... plus, you have to battle, beg, borrow and steal for even just a few precious minutes of lab time in the control room.

    As a studio owner back in the 80's and 90's, I had more than just a few interns from places like The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio, and I spent so much time "unlearning them" that I was the one who should have received the paycheck as the instructor. It amazed me what they thought they knew to be accurate, what they had been taught as being accurate, and further, the most basic fundamentals that they had absolutely no clue about.

    And it wasn't their fault!
    These students had paid money to go to school and learn, and trusted and assumed - rightly so - that they were going to be taught what they needed to know. It wasn't until they got out and started interning at various studios that they found out how little they had actually learned, and worse - that in many cases, what they had learned was wrong.

    There are a few that are the exception(s) - Berklee and Middle Tennessee State both offer valid 4 year programs in Audio Recording and Production, but, neither one are cheap, and you still have to consider whether or not you can get a job after spending the money for 4 years of tuition at one of these schools - which I can assure you is gonna be a damned sight more than 30 Large.

    I have an engineer friend who - while successful now running his own business - spent the first 3 years after receiving his BA in Audio Engineering from Berklee - working at a book store to pay his rent and well as that very hefty student loan.

    I'd say that Kurt's idea is probably the best approach... find a studio - a PRO studio - and hire the engineer there to teach you. Pay as you go, and as you can afford.

    Private study won't get you the piece of paper, ( but let's face it...these days, that piece of paper means very little, anyway ) but it will give you much more knowledge, as well as plenty of hands-on time with some very nice gear (which is part of the reason why both Kurt and Myself recommended hiring a PRO studio, because you probably won't find that "nice" gear in a basement studio)

    I can personally attest to the benefits of private study. I studied privately, and it was absolutely the best move I ever made in terms of learning this craft of ours.

    I learned more in 3 weeks of private one-on-one study than most audio school students ended up learning in a year. Of course, I had a fantastic instructor - a pro studio veteran with major album credits - who had access to several PRO rooms where I could learn hands-on using very nice gear, and that made a world of difference. Beyond the technical side of things, he also taught me how to relate those things to the artistic side, and he never let me forget that ultimately, regardless of the technology implemented, that it was the music that mattered the most. ;)

    It wasn't cheap. I worked a full time job and a part time job to pay for it - but it was absolutely the best education in this field of study that money could buy.


  8. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Those who can... do.
    Those who can't... teach.
    Those who can't teach... sell life insurance.
    Those who can't sell life insurance... run for public office.

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