Mentor in Engine Room, New York, NY
A multi Grammy award winning engineer, Mark Christensen has been in the music industry for decades. First as a signed artist that opened for Radiohead, then as an audio engineer, music producer, and mastering wizard. In addition to opening his own recording studio in New York – The Engine Room – and making gold records, Christensen also acts as a mentor for the Recording Connection.
It didn’t take long to realize our relationship was a match made in heaven. As one of Christensen’s first students, Nacor Zuluaga went to work for Christensen at The Engine Room and helped record five gold records for acts such as Trey Songz, Club Dogo, and Fedez. He has been at The Engine Room for nearly eight years and acts as a mentor for dozens of Recording Connection students.
Christensen has the industry experience we look for in our mentors, but the ability to pass that knowledge onto others is what we believe makes The Recording Connection Audio Engineering and Music Production Program so successful.
“I like teaching, and the idea of having students who were in the studio environment and working with us here seemed like a good idea,” Christensen said. “I tried it with a few students, and I was really happy with the results. I felt like they learned an awful lot being in a real studio environment.
“It’s a much more kind of concrete, hands-on sort of experience than trying to learn audio engineering from a textbook. So it’s become actually kind of a big part of what we do here. I teach every day, I have a couple of students that I teach. And so we have a number of students here all the time.”
Is Music YOUR Life?
“One of the things I look for is to make sure that they sort of have this in their blood, so to speak,” Christensen said.
Christensen has been making, recording, engineering, and producing music for nearly 30 years, working with the biggest names in the biz: Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, The Killers, and OK Go to name a few. He knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the studio glass and he knows what he’s looking for in a potential student.
“The ability to kind of behave in a mature way,” Christensen said. “I look for people that can behave in the session as though they are already part of the production team. We’re looking for people that can behave like assistants. They have to be professional enough to not act like fans if their favorite artist walks through the front door, they can’t be asking for autographs, they can’t be asking for pictures.”
Take Advantage of Your Opportunities
Whether it’s working the Ting Tings, Sia, or A$AP Rocky, Christensen has mastered nearly every single genre of music, dozens of which have gone on to gold or platinum status. He knows talent when he sees it and works to give his externs the opportunities they need to start building a brand. But you have to take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves.
“You know that story of how Jimmy Iovine was an intern and ended up mixing part of John Lennon’s album,” Christensen said. “Those stories are actually real; that stuff actually happens. The best thing you can do for yourself is just to make sure that you’re very prepared and have your technical skills together so that when those moments arise, you can really show that you can shine.”
We feel the mentors at The Recording Connection can offer almost nobody else can: The Opportunities to make connections with those already in the business. And we feel the best way to do that is put you in a one-on-one situation with an industry inside like Mark Christensen.