Recording school question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DinosaurIII, Sep 18, 2006.

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  1. DinosaurIII

    DinosaurIII Guest

    I am only posting this question because I do not see my situation as being parallel to the last person who sought advice in this department.

    I am 23 years old, married, no kids. I graduated high school with honors. I have already done a year at a "traditional" university. I did not fail, I just had a tough time realizing what I wanted to do. I have been planning to go to one of these so-called quickie schools. I will be taking the AAS Degree program for engineering.

    Now not to uber-defensive, but before you jump to it:

    I do not assume that a two-year degree will teach me what two years (or even a single year) of real experience will teach me.

    I do not assume that I will ever be rich and famous. I may look like Rick Rubin, but I doubt I will be the next in line for that beard.

    I do assume that all I will get out of this school is a little experience using professional equipment (which is more than I have now) and just a foot in the door of the professional audio/sound/noise world (which is a lot more than I have now).

    I do assume that I will have to work my ass off and try my very hardest to become even a little successful in this field. I also learn quickly, which seems like a good trait to have, since this field seems to be largely apprentice/teacher led.

    I also know that I do not, and will never have, all of the answers. This is where you come in. Let me know what I have not thought of. Give me the best advice you can, based on your years of experience and tough breaks. I really appreciate any help. Thanks

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Dear Dave, I think most of your observations are quite valid and I agree with most of them. You are being quite realistic but here's where the fun begins! Talent in this business really doesn't mean much. Most of it is who you know and whether you are lucky or not. The rest depends on you. Marketing, self-promotion, self-respect, attention to detail and a musical ear makes up the rest. Technically competent? You don't need no stinkin' competency. You just need to know what buttons to push and whose.

    The popular music scene is the ultimate creative lottery. You have to play (no particular instrument) to win! But you must play often, never mind about perfection. Too many people work their productions into lifeless sterility. Don't do that. You will be able to record stuff for the rest of your life and each time getting better at it. There really is only one type of perfection and that is DEATH. It's the one thing in life that cannot be changed.

    Remember, George Massenburg dropped out of Johns Hopkins before he finished his degree. I don't think he's done too badly since? The "Quickie School" will probably give you a reasonable introduction to the recording arts and sciences and perhaps even that "Professional Equipment" stuff but you might be disappointed?

    Having an innate sense of music and technical intelligence is a big plus. Not everybody has it nor can everybody learn to be something they are not. That's where talent can actually help. Life can be quite frustrating so don't expect too much from yourself in the beginning. It takes time to gain experience. After 36 years in the business, I'm still learning new stuff. At Voice Of America, they want me to become a TV Technical Director and I want to do that really badly. I feel it is the next level in my professional career. But before I can do that I must become technically proficient with their computerized video switchers. That Grass Valley digital Kalypso video switcher is certainly putting me to the task of trying to not only learn it but to become technically competent with it before I can do a live show. That's like trying to produce a gold record without a band. It is like looking at a beautiful Steinway concert grand piano. There is a beautiful Rachmaninoff piano Concerto sitting on the instrument and I am ready to play BAD CHOPSTIX! Do think I will get a standing ovation??? Probably not anytime soon?

    So go for it dude! Things are much easier to learn when you are young. I was at my enthusiastic peak at your age and I was moving up quickly thanks to youthful enthusiasm. You are only young once.

    Oh to be young again.....
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    A teenager in a 51-year-old woman's body.
  3. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Once again I find myself agreeing with Remy. I guess if this is truly what you want to do, (and your insight into yourself and the business is a breath of fresh air 'round these parts) you may want to cosider a slightly different approach.
    How about contacting a local studio that has a great reputation/equipment and trying to meet with the head engineer/owner. Tell him what you just told us and ask what they would look for in a new graduate. Ask what skills the new graduates usually lack, ask what makes an AE stand out, find out what the bottom line salary in your area is, etc...
    Think of as many pertinent questions as you can and then do what they do in a business world - a gap analysis.

    See where you fall short, see what the school will provide, see what you will need to do on your own while attending school, before graduating and before getting a job.

    You may not be able to overcome all shortcomings -( we all can't be jp22/ walters/liquidstudios) but you'll probably be on your way to where you want to be.

    Good luck, and on a side note, I'd discuss the entire process with your wife before embarking on this trip. If children are in the future, your job will likely have you keeping odd musician/recording hours for quite awhile.

    My .02

  4. ezride251

    ezride251 Guest

    Dave, I also struggled with whether or not to continue to attend a traditional university. I almost dropped out to go to the Conservatory, but opted to go back and finish my degree first. It was a tough decision but a very good one. Much like you I was excited to learn all that I could, I was teachable, dependable, and a hard worker. Unfortunately it takes more than this to succeed in this industry. I am currently trying to figure out what this mysterious quality that studios look for is, and if I figure it out I will let you know. The point here is this. I believe it to be unwise to attend any recording school and expect that education to provide you a place in this industry which will allow you to sustain yourself, not to mention a family. That is what I did, and luckily I had a college degree to fall back on. Without it I would be in bad shape. The job market is extremely thin, and there is no substitute for a college degree. Believe me it is well worth all of the effort.
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