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Thinking of starting a career in sound

So I’m thinking of going back to school and training in Sound Design or in Studio Recording and Live Sound (as the local institute I visited calls the programs they offer).

I was wondering if anybody could offer me some advice or questions so I can figure out if this is really what I want to do, seeing as I’d be investing about a year of my life and $10,000+ in it.…

Thinking of starting a career in sound

Reply #1
So I’m thinking of going back to school and training in Sound Design or in Studio Recording and Live Sound (as the local institute I visited calls the programs they offer).

I was wondering if anybody could offer me some advice or questions so I can figure out if this is really what I want to do, seeing as I’d be investing about a year of my life and $10,000+ in it.…


I used to teach Audio engineering. To be honest, much of what we taught you can learn yourself, but it will take longer. The advantages of going to a good school is not what you learn, but:

*You have access to facilities you wouldn't have otherwise
*You can get feed back from experienced professionals. This is important for developing a good ear.
*You have other students that you can discuss things with, help out, get help etc.
*You have structure around your learning.
*You learn stuff that is not fun, but still really useful. That is, you get a more well rounded education than by teaching yourself.
*Hopefully connections with the industry

Another route, which is how they used to do it (old school), is to find a studio (live sound company) that will take you on as a cleaner, or tea-boy. You'll work for free of course, and one day you'll get the chance to help set-up a studio session. and slowly work your way up from there. This would mean you are not $10,000 in debt, but you will be dirt poor, with no guarantee of being more than a cleaner.

We used to tell our students, that they would be able to get a job after the course, a job at McDonald's. One or two students each year would get a job in the industry, the other 40+ would not. I guess it depends on your local industry though, it is very small where I live.

I think what it comes down to is determination, perseverance, and getting connections in the industry.


Thinking of starting a career in sound

Reply #2
My brother-in-law went to a fairly well regarded audio school in Texas, and as far as what they told him about job prospects, Iain more or less hit it on the head. Except it cost $20k (but he was able to find a job soon afterwards).

The problem with exciting and fun fields - this applies very much to game design too, and many political/nonprofit jobs - is that they are profoundly competitive, there is usually very little that separates one from the rest of the competition except prior experience, and there is simply too much labor capital for too little money.

If you don't already have a college degree, I would normally say that an EE degree - which is usually the closest major in a university to audio engineering - is a much better value for the money, and opens a lot more doors for you. Those doors will also be much higher-paying and come with health benefits (good luck finding health insurance with a live sound gig!) But the state universities have risen dramatically in price over the last few years and I'm not so sure anymore as to where the best value in that kind of degree might be.

Thinking of starting a career in sound

Reply #3
I'm a Computer Science major, but my passion actually lies more on the DSP side of EE. I never really understood all of what was involved until too late, unfortunately, and I'm finishing this degree before moving on to anything else.

I'd second what people have said here: Start in electrical engineering. With the appropriate courses, even computer science is a start, and with a CS degree you may be able to find jobs that have cross-over with audio engineering.

Thinking of starting a career in sound

Reply #4
Actually, I have a  ‘CÉGEP’ degree in Electronics. It’s not equivalent to a BSEE, but it’s a lot better than nothing.

Thinking of starting a career in sound

Reply #5
Actually, I have a  ‘CÉGEP’ degree in Electronics. It’s not equivalent to a BSEE, but it’s a lot better than nothing.


Can you fix mixing desk etc? That is really useful, and a way to get you foot in the door of a Studio/Live Sound company.


 

 
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