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Top 10 Things to Look For in Audio Engineering School

If you’re thinking of a career as an audio engineer or music producer, choosing the right school can critical to your succes. Here are the top 10 things to look for in audio engineering school:

  1. Hands-on Training. Audio engineering is learned best with a practical, hands-on approach, not by textbooks. Make sure your school offers plenty of time to work on real equipment, and that you’re not competing with lots of students to get time on the gear.
  2. State-of-the-Art Equipment/Software. Technological advances are so fast these days that it doesn’t take long for equipment and software to become obsolete. Make sure your school is using the latest gear and up-to-date versions of software.
  3. Actual work experience. Learning in classrooms and on-campus studio simulations is not enough; you need time in a real recording studio in order to learn the ropes—not only for your education, but also because the studios will be looking at your work experience (not your degree or diploma). Make sure your school offers opportunities to get real on-the-job work experience.
  4. Personalized approach. A cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work when it comes to audio engineering. Make sure your school can tailor its curriculum to your personal career goals.
  5. One-on-one Instruction. Industry professionals agree that audio engineering is best learned one-on-one. Make sure your school allows for some personalized instruction from your teacher.
  6. Industry connections. No matter how educated you are, it is nearly impossible to land a job in the music industry without connections. Your audio school should have some way of helping you make these connections, or you could find yourself struggling to find work after graduation. (Note: of the top 10 things to look for in audio engineering school, this one is probably the most difficult to find.)
  7. Affordability. It is possible to get a quality audio education without taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt just when you’re trying to launch your career. Make sure your school offers a cost-effective tuition rate.
  8. Working on your own projects. As an aspiring producer/engineer, you no doubt have your own ideas for projects to work on, and there’s no good reason why you can’t build your resume while you learn. A good audio school will help you integrate your own projects into your studies.
  9. Good job placement. Don’t be fooled: a list of job openings offered by the school is NOT a good job placement policy. A good audio engineering school will go the extra mile, preparing you for interviews and even helping make introductions.
  10. Ongoing support. The music industry runs on relationships, and the relationships you make in the school should continue past graduation. Make sure your school offers a good support system for its alumni.

At the Recording Connection, we strive to be able to offer all ten items on this list, and we’ve found that the mentor-apprentice (extern) training approach is the best way to do it.  Learning on-the-job as an apprentice/extern gives you the chance to learn one-on-one from a working professional, practice on the latest studio gear, make real connections, and focus on your areas of interest while working on your own projects—all for a fraction of what it would cost to train you in a classroom. And because of the relationships you form, both with the school and with your mentor studio, job placement and ongoing support are built into the process.