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A Balanced Perspective on Recording Schools

If you want to be trained in audio production and music recording in order to become a producer or engineer, the different kinds of recording schools out there can be confusing. They range from full-blown degree programs at colleges and universities to short-term certificate programs at trade schools, and can range in price from a few thousand dollars to a hundred thousand dollars or more. How do you make sense of it all, and most importantly, how do you get a quality education in audio production that can actually further your future career?

To get a balanced perspective, let’s start by debunking some of the common misconceptions about recording education and the music business, brought on by the so-called “conventional wisdom”:

  1. No degree or diploma is necessary to have a successful career in audio. Most people in the music industry simply do not care where you went to school or what kind of degree you have. They just need to know you can do the job.
  2. Some of the best music producers and audio engineers in the business learned their skills in real recording studios, not by attending recording school. (Many of them would also recommend you do the same thing.)
  3. Recording schools can educate you, but most recording schools cannot connect you to the music industry. You need to be aware that regardless of your education, it is very difficult to get a job in this business without industry connections.
  4. The best recording schools are not necessarily the most expensive ones. A program’s cost usually depends on its teaching methods and the length of time to completion, and has no bearing on its overall effectiveness. The best school for you is the one that can actually help you get your career off the ground, and sometimes that doesn’t cost much at all.

The point is, going to any recording school should be a means to an end, not an end unto itself. In this business, quite frankly, your goal should not be to get a degree: it should be to get a career. If a recording school has a practical approach to helping you get your career launched, it is worth considering. If the school is simply trying to move you toward earning a degree, you might do better trying to learn in a recording studio instead.

One of the best learning methods for professional audio training is the mentor-apprentice (extern) approach, combining the best of both worlds by placing students into real recording studios for their training. The idea is that students who are trained in real recording studios stand a better chance of getting hired than students who learn in classrooms.  The Recording Connection specializes in this kind of training because we’ve found that not only is not only is more affordable for our students, but it also greatly increases their chances of getting hired.

Education is important to a career in audio, but that education doesn’t have to happen in classrooms. Recording schools can be helpful to your career, but not mandatory.