Recording Connection graduate Connor Donald Changes Paths & Delves into Audio
At just 20 years old Connor Donald has already accomplished a lot. He’s taught himself to play guitar, piano, drums, bass, as well as record in GarageBand, completed high school, became a worship minister at his church, and he just recently got hired at PSAV, one of the largest audio-visual production event and stage service companies, comprised of more than forty production branches worldwide.
We spoke to the recent graduate of Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production to find out why he chose RRFC, learn more about his experiences in the program, and see how his focus and unflagging work ethic is enabling him to go far, fast!
So what led you to Recording Connection in the first place?
“I went to school for nursing, and I just…knew that five to 10 years from now I probably wasn’t going to stick with that…So I started looking to see what I was into for the long run…and I just fell back on what I’ve always loved, and that’s music…I looked at different schools and I kept seeing that I was going to have to move away to other places, then I just happened to stumble upon Recording Connection. I found that I can stay home and find a studio near me, but I get to still learn and work with people that are good at what they do… I was able to get in and had the opportunity to work with Don Mosley and [mentor] Tyler Murphy, and it was awesome.”
What made you want to record in the first place?
“I can play all these different instruments, but I can’t play them at the same time. Through recording, I can play all the instruments and I don’t have to hire any musicians to come play for me, because I can play it. So that’s what really got me started with recording, because I was able to bring everything together and be like, ‘Okay, I got a full band here,’ but really it’s just me…
So I have a home studio. I just started with some basic speakers and GarageBand. I’ve always been the kind of person that, if I can sit down with it and I have enough time, I can learn everything. I can teach myself. ”
So did you ever have the feeling the program was a bit too basic for you?
“When I started, Tyler took me through the lesson about electricity. How it works, where sound comes from and everything… At first, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can get on board with this, I don’t need this.’ But after I started and really thought about it, I was like, ‘I can actually use this to my benefit’…because [if] you don’t know the basics, when you get more advanced, you’re going to be totally lost…
Then once I got further into the course, watching Tyler and Don, how they did things in the studio, I learned that you really do have to be able to multitask. You can’t be so focused on one thing, because then you’ll miss everything else. When you sit back and listen to a mix, you have to listen to it as a whole, but you also have to be able to dive in and be like, ‘Okay, I need to work on this, this, this,’ So watching them being able to do 12 things at once, that was really mind-blowing.”
Where do you want to go with your career?
“My goal is just to grow in music and with everything that I do in music, because of the education that I have had, be able to just sound good and be the musician and band and worship team to where, when somebody comes in, they know they’re going to hear something good, and they know that we’re going to give 100% no matter what, [from] all the way from the back [to] all the way to the stage…every little thing is going to be correct, everything is going to sound good, [and] it’s going to mix well together.
And so my goal is just to be able to grow in that. When somebody needs something done with audio or video or anything, when they hear my name, they’ll know it’s going to be good and it’s going to be right.”
What can you tell us about your job at PSAV?
“So at PSAV I got hired on as an audio/visual technician…As of right now it’s pretty general. I put things in places, setup sets, setup speakers, projectors and monitors, stuff like that. I’ve had the opportunity, luckily, to be in a place where I can grow, and I’ve been able to excel pretty fast in the company. I’ve been able to work on a lot more audio, because I did tell them that I was more audio specific. And so I’ve been able to work on big shows, including one for ZZ Top, and [other] bands have been brought in and stuff like that…They utilize me for anything, whether they need to set up speakers or run the speakers or make sure they’re sounding good, they use me for that aspect of it.”
What’s your advice to other Recording Connection students on how they can make the most of the experience?
“My advice is that you’re not going to learn everything overnight. Experience is key. The longer that you work on something, the longer that you’re working with people who are good at what they do, the more information you’re going to get. Another big thing is, be humble and be able to receive information. Even if you think you know everything, always be open to someone else’s opinion, always be open to learn something new…Just have fun with it, and don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t pan out right, or if somebody gets another job before you do…because if you apply yourself 100% then you will be good at what you do, then you will succeed.”
Learn more about Recording Connection’s programs.