Recording Connection graduate Mike Messina is Making Passion Pay Off
Mike Messina is one of those rare creative people who has known exactly what he wanted to do from a very young age. He wanted to work with sound. “I’ve honestly been interested in sound since I was like five years old,” Mike said. “I’d just screw around with sound effects and music—sound effects from movies, video games and animation. I would do some sampling with it. I’ve been really into customization and re-mixing. I’ve been doing that most of my life.”
Mike isn’t understating the ‘most of his life’ part of that sentence. Before being old enough to access real recording equipment, he took it upon himself to make music with his phone. He would roam around and record everyday sound and layer them into his own fledgling attempts at making music.
Previous to enrolling in the Recording Connection, Mike had become deeply entrenched the local theater scene. He took it upon himself to volunteered to help them with their sound and tech issues. He even went so far as to create from scratch all their sound design. He also was the main individual behind operating the sound equipment during their live performances. Mike took on all these responsibilities in addition to attending school. During this time he was studying multimedia communications at Westchester Community College.
After graduating from community college, Mike needed to figure out what he was going to do next. For the first time in his life, he was slightly lost. Despite knowing what he wanted to do with his life, and having some education in the subject, he couldn’t find a good starting point. He was adrift. He was waiting for something or someone to give him a break.
And then it happened. He found the Recording Connection. “My mother and I were looking at other colleges after I graduated WCC,” he said. “I found the Recording Connection and we were both like, ‘do other people know about this?’”
Mike’s amazement at the theoretical possibilities of Recording Connection’s practical hands-on real world learning approach instantly proved to be just the beginning. The Recording Connection was just the nudge that he needed. Not only did his skills skyrocket, but he learned things that you just simply can’t learn from a book. Things that you have to be in the studio to learn. “When it comes to being in the studio, you can’t really learn a lot of anything with just writing it down or just looking at a textbook. In normal colleges, you just basically go through lectures, but with Recording Connection, you’re actually getting hands-on work.”
Mike was paired with New York Recording Connection mentor Sax DMA at Terminus Studios. “He seriously knows everything there is to know about studio engineering,” Mike said when asked about his experience with Sax.
Mike had such an enjoyable experience in the Recording Connection that he stayed on for the Master’s program. “In the basic program, you’re just learning the basics of this and that,” Mike said. “And then once you’re in the master’s program, you pretty much have all the knowledge that you’ve retained. You basically just put it all to the test, then. You gather clientele, produce your own music, and produce other people’s music. What can I say, it’s a lot of fun.”
Mike recently completed a job doing live audio and sound design for an off-Broadway production of the iconic musical Hair. Now, he’s off to work as the lead sound engineer at the Long Lake Performing Arts Camp, one of the most esteemed arts camps in the country. While there, he’ll be engineering and designing the rocks shows, musicals, and classical symphony performances.
Mike went from recording and looping sounds on his phone to working in a real studio, recording and producing tracks himself. He’s taken the passion that he’s had since he was a small child and transformed it into a career. He’s used his ingenuity and willpower to think outside of the box, and forgo the useless trappings of traditional school, in order to opt to work within the industry that he cares about, while simultaneously getting his foot in the door.
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