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How the Best Audio Engineering Schools Can Still Fail You

Perhaps you’re looking for the best audio engineering schools in preparation for a career as an audio engineer or music producer. It makes sense on the outside: if you want to be the best at something, you go to the best school—right?

However, before you commit to spend all that money on an education, you should know that no matter how good an audio engineering school seems to be, it can still fail you. You might get a comprehensive education that will teach you the technical skills, but to be a success in this field, you actually need more than just an education—and this is where most audio schools fall short.

Let’s unpack that statement.

In the music industry, diplomas and degrees are essentially worthless. Don’t misunderstand—you need to know what you’re doing in order to become a producer or engineer. But no one really cares how or where you learned to do it, as long as you can do it. What’s more, the music industry is a business that runs on connections. Who you know is just as important as what you know. No matter how educated you are, you can’t get a job without connections. Most audio engineering schools simply focus on educating you, but they do little or nothing to connect you to the industry for which you’re training. This is why the best audio engineering schools can still fail you: they can train you to be an audio engineer, but you could still find yourself unemployed when you graduate—not to mention neck-deep in student debt.

So if attending the best recording school program isn’t the answer, what is the alternative? How can you get those all-important industry connections while learning the ropes? The answer: learn in a real recording studio.

The fact is, there is nothing you could learn in a formal audio training program that couldn’t be learned more effectively inside an actual recording studio. Before such audio programs existed, in fact, everyone learned in the studios, because it was basically the only option available! By externing in a real recording studio under a working audio engineer, you can learn the ins and outs of recording while making the real-world connections you need in order to get the jobs.

If you don’t have the connections to get an in-studio externship yourself, the good news is that you’re not out of luck. An alternative form of audio education called the mentor-extern approach can help. When you enroll in a mentor-extern school, the school takes care of placing you for externship, provides the curriculum, and assigns you to a working audio professional for one-on-one training. It’s an excellent and affordable alternative to traditional education.

In truth, the best audio schools aren’t the ones with the highest academic standards, or the ones that appear on someone’s list. The best audio engineering schools are the ones who can truly connect you to the recording industry.

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