#1
Hey - quick question. What kind of education/experience do you need to get a job as as a sound engineer working in a studio? I've heard it called music engineering but I'm not sure what kind of experience you'd need to get into that field.

Thanks!
#2
I wouldn't know.
If you're interested, ask a sound engineer. They would know for sure. In your spare time, try playing around with recording software like Audacity if you don't already.
#3
Honestly... this:

First, there are studios closing down daily because the market is just not there anymore to support many of them. Your potential number of employers is dwindling all the time, and those people who had jobs at those studios (and therefore experience) will be competing with you looking for work at the handful that are still standing.

Second, most real-world studios don't care that much if you have qualifications on paper. They look at what your track record is. What have you done? Can I hear your work? That sort of thing. Someone whose work speaks for itself without training will get the job pretty much every time over someone whose work is okay who has training.

By extension of both of those, most studios don't put out ads "wanted: studio engineer." They take advantage of their existing set of contacts and connections and fish from that pond. It is very much a business of who you know.

So.... given all that, the best way of getting a job at a major studio is:
1. Show up at their door and introduce yourself. Do this many times if necessary. Be a polite, cordial, eager and pleasant pain in the ass. You're not there for a job yet. You're volunteering to make coffee, vacuum carpets, be a gopher when someone in a band needs smokes, water plants, whatever. In return, all you ask is for the chance to watch a few sessions so you can start learning some stuff.
2. Once your foot is in the door, be the best coffee maker, carpet vacuumer, corner-store runner you can. It shows you're worth the effort for them to have you around. They'll start to like you and be more willing to let you watch. They'll even teach you the proper way to wind cables.
3. Eventually, you'll be given jobs like setting up mics and moving them around the room as the engineer tells you what to do - "closer... closer.... back it off a bit... now left... "

Little jobs at a time, and you'll be trained on site by the people who know what they are doing. It won't cost you anything but time.

As they get confidence in your knowledge, reliability, etc., there will come a time when the studio makes some concession to band where they'll give them a cut rate if they're willing to come in at 6:00am and work with one of their interns. That would be you. Maybe it will come up as one of the regular studio assistants is sick, or quits, or whatever, and you'll get called up to help out. Sure, you're last picked, but at least you're picked.

You'll start noticing that other people with genuine credentials are sending in their resumees. The studio, already with a full complement of staff, including interns, assistants, lackeys, etc. does not typically call those applicants back.

CT

PS. Just in case you're thinking that I'm one of those "anti-education.... school is no good for anything" kind of people, I have a degree in music and teach in a school... so no. I'm *very* pro-education. I'm also very practical, and that means taking the steps you *really* need to get there rather than assuming that a piece of paper will be your ticket.
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#4
And getting into home recording yourself *in addition* is a very, very good idea. You learn at work, and practice at home.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#5
you can go to a tech school like a musicians institute or some major universities offer it, the problem with the job is that it is a dying field, for experience tho it would help if you have spent some time in a studio, understand how a board works, know your way around and how to use logic, and protools, and under stand the differences in mics and learn how to mix and eq things well
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#6
I'm going to university and studying popular and contempory music. As well as my high school has a subject called CMI (contempory music industry). So I'm pretty much set. If you're really serious, University is probably the way to go. However if you're going small time, try some home recording stuff.
#7
Quote by UltimateDud
I'm going to university and studying popular and contempory music. As well as my high school has a subject called CMI (contempory music industry). So I'm pretty much set. If you're really serious, University is probably the way to go. However if you're going small time, try some home recording stuff.

You are a long way from set my friend... that piece of paper will get you nowhere in the real world.

As well as everything axemanchris said, it is worth doing as much as you can outside of said studio. Become a lackey at an amateur dramatics society, go to a local bar and try and set up some open mic nights which you can then run. Find some local bands who want a cheap recording, and do them one for free. All that means when you get into the studio you know what your up against. Then you have to go round and do all the axemanchris said anyway.

Finally, contacts are invaluable, if you can wangle a gig doing open mics at a bar, make sure you talk to all the bands and come in on nights when your not meant to be working, talk to the regular sound techs get to know them. If your lucky they might be working as contractors for a sound company, get in with them. Finally, take any and every job that comes, be it setting up a wireless mic for a business conference or carrying cases to and from a van for a small band. Contacts and experience are the only 2 things which count and ANY contacts/experience are going to help, even if it doesn't seem directly relevant you'll still be spending your time fiddling with cables.
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
#8
First off, it is not Music Engineering. There's nothing musical about it, so if that's what you had in mind get it out of your head. If recording a voiceover for a commercial doesn't sound appealing to you, you may want to reconsider. It is rare and increasingly impossible for engineers to make a living by only working with bands and whatnot. Secondly, There's a reason it's called engineering, because it's all based in physics and math. If you don't like either, you're in for trouble.

The primary ways of getting noticed by a Studio are to have a ****load of experience or have a college degree. Experience because they'll know you're experienced, duh. A degree because it shows you're willing put in alot of hard (busy) work and know how to meet deadlines. The best of both worlds is to have an degree in some sort of audio arts.
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#9
Quote by axemanchris
First, there are studios closing down daily because the market is just not there anymore to support many of them.
Quote by Winman9999
the problem with the job is that it is a dying field
Quote by aetherspear
It is rare and increasingly impossible for engineers to make a living by only working with bands
Why is this? Is it because the americans fooked up the economy again, and so less bands have cash to spare for recording? Or is it because more and more bands start recording their music in home studio's?
#10
More and more bands are making demos and even recording CDs at home. I really don't think the economy has anything to do with it. Musicians have always been a frugal bunch, so even in good times, they're not running out willy-nilly to big $$ studios.

Whereas in the past, many of them would go to a pro studio to do a proper demo, they're going the 'home recording' route, because technology has come up and prices have come down enough to make this quite accessible to many people.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#11
Another example of the double edge of technology in the music business...

A friend of my brother's got hired as a PA man for a band that's gaining some momentum and later started helping them out with recordings. Maybe that's another way to wedge your foot in the door?

I've been planning to meet this guy, but I haven't had the chance yet. Not sure how to ask him If I can tag along...
Last edited by Withakay at Jul 31, 2009,
#12
Thanks for all of the help guys. I'm not actually looking into becoming a sound engineer, but a good friend of mine is. I suspected that experience and contacts were pretty key but I wasn't really sure about how you would even start off with this kind of thing. This helps a lot. Thanks!