Learning to be a Studio Engineer
When you’re studying music production and audio engineering, it’s important to understand that learning to be a studio engineer isn’t just a matter of reading the curriculum. A studio engineer isn’t just someone who understands the acoustics of music, or the scientific principles of mic placement, or what a compressor does. This knowledge is only part of it. Studio engineers don’t just know how the gear works. They also know how to solve problems; they know how to plan for the unexpected; they know how to work with clients; they know how to organize and run recording sessions; they know how to identify problem areas in the mix, and they know how to fix them. A studio engineer also has a highly trained ear that can hear little problems in the audio many people can’t detect, but which can make the all difference between a professional-sounding recording and a mediocre one.
All of this is to say that if you really want to learn to be a studio engineer, it’s going to take more than just studying the textbook and doing your assignments—it’s going to take spending time in the studio, watching your mentor carefully, and learning by doing. This is exactly why the Recording Connection insists that you be trained as an apprentice/extern in a real recording studio, not in a classroom.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE OPPORTUNITY
Obviously, we’ve provided a quality curriculum that you need to study—but the real work is going to happen in the studio as you assist on recording sessions with your mentor. Here are some tips for making the most of that opportunity:
- Spend lots of time in the studio. Don’t just go to class. Be in the studio as often as your mentor allows, and as often as your schedule allows. The more you’re around when recording sessions are happening, the more quickly you’ll pick things up.
- Watch, learn, and ask. Don’t just read about what a preamp does: watch how your mentor uses it, and if he doesn’t explain it, ask him why he chose that particular preamp for that sound. Pay attention to how the engineer responds to certain sounds, and how he makes adjustments on the board or on the DAW. Ask about things you don’t understand. Remember, you’re there to learn, and your mentor wants you to understand.
- Take the initiative. As you get more comfortable in the studio, when you see something that needs to be done, don’t wait to be asked. Become part of the process. Get your hands dirty. This is a hands-on learning experience. The more you make yourself useful, the more your mentor will involve you in the process, and the more you’ll learn the tricks of the trade.
Ultimately, learning to be a studio engineer means learning by doing. No one learns this trade by reading a textbook. It takes many hours of watching, practicing, and even sometimes making mistakes. We’ve put you in the studio as an apprentice/extern—there’s no better place to learn than in the studio, and no better way to learn than by getting involved.