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Pros and Cons of Recording School

If you’re considering becoming an audio engineer or recording engineer, you’re probably thinking about recording school, and wondering if there’s any advantage to attending one. As with anything, a lot of that answer will depend on what type of school you attend.

When most people think of recording school, they’re thinking of the typical college course or trade school that follows a more traditional, structured learning format. There will usually be some sort of hands-on learning aspect to the program, but it remains centered within campus classrooms and labs, where an instructor will be responsible for teaching you in a class of other students. The general idea is that learning in this protected environment will give you the knowledge and skills you need for the real world.  Some schools will obviously be better than others, but here are some of the pros and cons to attending this type of recording school:


  • Standard curriculum that is relatively easy to follow
  • Basic knowledge and understanding of the recording process
  • Introductory knowledge of equipment
  • Training on current software
  • If in college, general education requirements give a “well-rounded” approach to training


  • Can be very expensive (from around $20,000 on the low end to over $100,000 on the high end)
  • Takes 1-4 years to complete
  • Competing with other classmates for instructor’s attention and time on the gear
  • Gear/software aren’t always up-to-date
  • Little or no “real-world experience” or problem-solving practice
  • A degree/diploma in this field is not widely respected by industry professionals
  • Difficult to make job-producing connections

Why are there so many “cons” to this learning approach? Basically, the recording industry is a very practical, very relationship-driven business in which real-world experience and inside connections are more valued than a degree or diploma. Many traditional recording school graduates find out they must still work in unpaid internships just to earn the respect and trust of the people doing the hiring.


To address these issues, the Recording Connection has developed the “mentor-apprentice” approach, in which we pair each student with a mentor who is a working producer/engineer in a real recording studio. All training occurs on-the-job in a real-world environment. Pros and cons of this approach:


  • Much less expensive to train each student (under $10,000)
  • 1 year or less to complete
  • One-on-one training with a professional mentor
  • Practice on current gear and software that is actually being used in the studio
  • Learn problem-solving skills by assisting on actual recording sessions
  • Learn how to work with clients by actually doing it
  • Structured curriculum ensures all bases are covered
  • Gain valuable real-world experience while you learn
  • Make connections that lead to future work


  • None that we know of!

To learn more about the benefits of recording school via the mentor-apprentice (extern) approach, click here.