Jumping in with both feet: Chingas Kemps moves to Nashville
Sometimes when pursuing a dream, you have to make the choice to jump in with both feet. Chingas Kemps came to this key moment in his life not too long ago when he made the move to Nashville.
A self-taught audio engineer, Chingas had already worked himself into a part-time career recording out of his own studio in his New Jersey hometown. “I was always tinkering around with audio since I was a kid,” he recalls. “I was always just kind of recording myself and my brother and my friends. And one thing led to another.”
But Chingas wasn’t happy. He wasn’t making enough to quit his “day job” in oil, and he came to the realization he needed not only more education, but change of location, if he really wanted to take things to the next level.
“It was an accumulation of a thousand things, but…at the end of the day, I was just an unhappy person,” he says. “I knew my heart was in music, and my day-to-day job was in oil. And you can’t wake up and be unhappy every day.”
That’s when Chingas decided to jump in with both feet. He left his job, closed his studio, packed up and moved to Nashville to see if he could up his game.
“I had five years of my studio, and no one ever told me whether I was doing it right or wrong,” he says. “I wanted to have a solid foundation, a solid background, something that I can validate myself saying that, ‘Okay, I know what the hell I’m doing, and I could do this on the pro level.”
Chingas checked out some Nashville schools, but ultimately decided on the Recording Radio Film Connection & CASA Schools because it would enable him to learn on-the-job in a real Nashville studio. “Having the option to be with a mentor instead of just being one of 15 or 20 in a class,” he says, “that spoke to me the most.”
Chingas soon found himself externing as an extern with a seasoned industry pro in Nashville: producer/engineer Ric Web (Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift) at South Street Studios. He experienced the benefit of one-on-one instruction almost immediately as he began to see the gaps in his self-taught experience.
“I got to sit down with the mix and show my mentor exactly what I did, every step that I took,” says Chingas, “and having him hear it with his ears and his experience, and then let me know what I could have done differently, or what I might want to try next…These are questions I never had to ask myself.”
Chingas says he’s also learning the business side of the recording industry by watching Ric run his studio. “Anything that he tells me business-wise, I really try to hone in on and decipher where he is going with it,” says Chingas, “[so] that I can really just embed that in to my brain and use it in the future.”
As to the future—that’s now wide open for Chingas, who has expanded his long-term goal from simply working as an engineer in Nashville to running his own publishing house. “It’ll be handling everything from songwriters to producers, getting the songs written, getting them recorded and mixed,” he says.
It’s a lofty goal, to be sure. But Chingas has jumped in with both feet now. Thanks to his commitment and the training he’s receiving from the Recording Connection, he’s well on his way.
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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GO TO SCHOOL INSIDE A REAL STUDIO?
Great question. Learning from inside the actual environment where music gets made professionally is a proven way to acquire industry skills, experience, and connections. When it comes to getting a career in the music business, it’s smart to start out from inside the business. It’s what we’ve been doing for more than three decades and it works.
The value of interacting with professional audio engineers, music producers, and their clients from within a real recording studio environment cannot be overstated. You must learn within the environment in which you want to work. It’s all about being able to grow usable skills and showcase your abilities and determination to the very same people who do the hiring.
HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT THAN ORDINARY SCHOOLS?
With The Recording Connection, you do not have to fight over lab time, experience overcrowded classrooms, or work to get your teacher’s attention. With us, you are the only student. It’s just you and your mentor who trains you privately, at your own pace. A real recording studio is your classroom. It’s within this environment that you acquire skills and knowhow in a way that makes sense—hands-on.
HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS?
The amount you can make in the music business varies greatly and that largely depends on you. Like other careers in arts and entertainment, you’re going to have to pay your dues which can mean earning a lower wage while you’re starting out. The duration, cost, and setup of our unique approach enables our students to incur less in student loan debt (vs. traditional 4 year college and university programs) and get themselves in, right where they need to be to gain skills, get connected, and get on with building a career in music—without drowning in debt. If your goal is to get paid for doing what you love and music is it, then training from inside a real recording studio could be your way to start.
WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS AND WHAT ARE THEIR CREDENTIALS?
Our mentors own and work in the studios where Jay Z, Solange, Kanye West, U2, Blake Shelton, Rihanna, Jason Mraz, Aerosmith, Lady Gaga, Eric Clapton, Beck, Willie Nelson, The Roots, Eminem, Janelle Monáe, Taj Mahal, Deadmau5, Skrillex and many more have recorded. In fact, our students and graduates have met and/or recorded/collaborated with artists including Miley Cyrus, Aerosmith, Beyoncé, Lady Antebellum, Justin Bieber, Kylie Minogue, The Killers, A$AP Rocky, Shawn Mendes, Carlos Santana, Lil Wayne, Scorpion Child, Fetty Wap, Mae, Trinidad James, The Ting Tings, Sia and more!
Mark Christensen (Alicia Keys, The Killers, Trey Songz, 50 Cent), Larry Goetz (Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande), Josh Monroy (Ludacris, Justin Bieber, Quincy Jones), Ira Parker (Wiz Khalifa, Jadakiss, DMX, Zaytoven Beats), Devon Kirkpatrick (Lauryn Hill, Marilyn Manson, Timbaland), Brian Boland (Rihanna, Timbaland, Macy Gray, Y.G.), Matt Stein (DMX, Trey Songz, Jason Mraz), Oscar Diaz (Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg), IV Duncan (Eminem, ASAP Ferg, Dej Loaf), and many more.
DO YOU GUARANTEE ME A JOB ONCE I’M FINISHED WITH THE RECORDING CONNECTION?
We are guaranteeing only access, education and real world training via our blended education model, but make no mistake: such access can be an essential part of your success. We put you in the door, guarantee you a one-on-one education inside a real studio, no-cost tutoring, Pro Tools (or Ableton, Logic Pro), and a year of career services if you are not hired by the studio where you trained as an extern. Doesn’t it make sense to learn the music industry from inside it?
SO YOU PUT ME INSIDE A REAL RECORDING STUDIO, DO YOU MATCH ME WITH MY FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC?
Yes, we try. If you are into hip hop we will try to place you in a hip hop studio. Rock students go to rock studios, etc. But working in this industry requires its professionals to be versatile, capable of working in multiple genres and with all types of clients. The Recording Connection believes in what we call the Cross Genre Principle — this means we will train you to be a certified Recording Connection audio professional who can work in all genres. This unique approach to learning enables you to maximize your chances for success and to remain tapped in to a myriad of opportunities.
HOW AM I LEARNING, HOW IS IT STRUCTURED?
Our hands-on, project-based assignments and workshops are designed to get you attuned to working as a professional within a professional environment. You receive private classes in the studio which are reinforced with lessons in our comprehensive eBook. With us, you learn at the pace of one lesson per week. The work is intensive and structured to get you thinking and building the foundation you need to achieve your goals. Furthermore, you’re training in an environment where you get to learn theory and practice in-tandem. When you have questions about something complex, your mentor is there to answer your questions, in depth. For many, this is where the real learning and understanding takes place.
BUT DON’T I NEED A DEGREE?
Like many other creative industries, the music business does not run on degrees. The studio owners, music executives, artists and producers who are hiring generally don’t ask for degrees. Knowing what you’re doing is generally what they’re after. Having experience and connections matters because they’re markers of someone who is trustworthy, hardworking, and dependable.
MY PARENTS WANT ME TO GET A DEGREE IN MUSIC. I’M NOT SURE THEY KNOW HOW THE MUSIC BUSINESS WORKS.
The job of being a parent means setting your children up for success. We understand that. Degrees are necessary for people who want to work as doctors, lawyers, scientists and other such careers. But degrees are not commonly necessary when it comes to working in the music industry (as a musician, audio engineer, music producer, DJ, music business professional, hip-hop, EDM producer, and in other areas of the business) unless you want to be a professor of music, perform with the philharmonic, or be an entertainment lawyer, in which case, getting a degree is the prescribed path to follow.
But don’t get us wrong. Education is great and so are degrees (when suited to one’s goals). Having to spend lots of hard earned money on an expensive music degree is not a prerequisite for working in the music industry. The majority of recording studio owners are not going to ask you for a degree. Instead, they want to know what you’ve worked on and what you can do. Degrees don’t automatically get you access, connections, or real world experience you can put on your resume. So, if your parents have questions, encourage them to do their research online or contact us directly. Knowledge is power. When you understand how the music industry operates, you can make an informed choice that works for you.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MENTOR AND A TEACHER?
Mentors usually help with career advice and guidance, while teachers teach a course. Typically, the best teachers are also mentors. With the Recording Connection, your mentor is your one-on-one, in-person instructor (a working professional audio engineer or music producer) and your Academic Facilitator also works with you remotely (telephonically and online) to oversee your progress and assist where needed.
WHO ENDORSES YOU?
Great question. The Recording Connection has earned thousands of professional endorsements. We do not know of any ordinary recording schools that can make that claim.
Ryan Hewitt (The Red Hot Chili Peppers, blink-182, The Dixie Chicks), Al Schmitt (Paul McCartney, Michael Bublé, Diana Krall), Niko Bolas (Beyoncé, Billy Joel, Stan Getz, KISS, John Mayer), Bob Bullock (Shania Twain, Reba McEntire, George Strait), Bil VornDick (Bob Dylan, Béla Fleck, John Oates), Carmen Rizzo (Coldplay, Alanis Morissette, DJ Tiesto), Steve Marcantonio (Taylor Swift, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton), Rafa Sardina (Lady Gaga, Elvis Costello, The Roots), F. Reid Shippen (Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Jewel), Adam Moseley (U2, Beck, Rush, The Cure)
“I am very impressed with the way Recording Connection trains students in real recording studios and how hard they work for their students. This is a special program run by visionaries.” -Dave Pensado, Grammy Award Winner, Mixer for Beyoncé, Pink, Michael Jackson.
“I endorse this program.” -Hans Zimmer, Grammy Award-winning Composer for films including The Dark Knight and The Lion King
“I recommend this program. Excellent way to break into the business.” -Larry King, award-winning television & talk show radio host
“The Recording Connection puts students into a real world work place. Students learn first hand what it means to be in a recording session with producers, engineers, musicians and songwriters. It’s on the job career training! You learn the practical, technical, and people skills that cannot be found in any classroom. I highly recommend the Recording Connection.” -Warren Huart, producer for Aerosmith, Better Than Ezra, The Killers, The Fray, James Blunt
DO I NEED EXPERIENCE TO BE ACCEPTED?
No. You need a good attitude, a sense of responsibility, and a hard work ethic. Your acceptance depends on you making a lasting first impression with your prospective mentor. Our admissions staff will help you prepare for this meeting.
SO WHAT IS AN EXTERNSHIP EXACTLY?
Externs learn on the job, they learn one-on-one, from a professional audio engineer, music producer, or music business professional (for applicable programs). Make no mistake, externs are students, only with externship they get: On the Job attention. Our students learn via our eBook, materials, and from inside a real recording studio. The opportunity to get their hands dirty (so to speak). We believe the way to get a job in this business is to get inside and learn from a pro. This allows students to show what they’re made of, starting on their very first day. The ability to connect with the professionals who do the hiring. Working in music takes knowing the people who do the hiring. Our approach eliminates the searching and guesswork and places you right where you need to be to show what you’re made of.
WHAT COURSES DO YOU OFFER? WHAT PROGRAMS DO YOU OFFER?
We offer programs in EDM, Hip Hop, Beat Making, Audio Engineering, Music Producing, Electronic Music Production, Music Business, Live Sound, DJ, Post Production for Film and TV, Advanced Audio, and more.
WHERE ARE YOUR STUDIO SITES LOCATED?
We’re probably a lot closer than you think! With us you can go to school i.e. an externship location in a recording studio in cities in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the UK. Chances are, we have a location within easy commute distance of where you live. We are in more than 250 cities and towns, on three continents! View a full list of our US locations.
HOW OFTEN DO I ATTEND MY PRIVATE CLASS INSIDE A REAL RECORDING STUDIO?
Students are expected to put in 10 hours per week. Students start off their externship at a pace of twice per week until Lesson 4 or four weeks into their training. If you’re hardworking and reliable, do not have excessive truancies/ absences, and get the okay from your mentor, we can arrange for you to go 3, 4, or 5 times per week. Many of our students spend up to 8 or more hours per day in the studio, while others choose to work around their work schedules. Either way, we are here for you. Days, nights, and weekends may be available, depending on the mentor’s schedule. Schedules are set and agreed upon by mentor and student extern.
HOW LONG DOES YOUR PROGRAM LAST?
Most of our programs are designed to last six months. Your length of time may vary based on the time you make available for your studies. A list of all our programs is here.
CAN I WORK WHILE I DO MY EXTERNSHIP?
Yes. Many of our students work while they do the program. Scheduling is set by the mentor and student. Externs must do a minimum of two in-studio lessons per week, although we strongly encourage them to go into the studio as much as possible to observe, assist, and learn.
WHEN DO YOUR SEMESTERS START?
We offer open enrollment, year-round, to all students. You can start at any time.
HOW MANY LESSONS ARE IN YOUR COURSE OR PROGRAM?
Our curriculums are comprised of 20 lessons. Upon completion of the 20 lessons, graduates will automatically be entered into our career services program.
IS THIS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
Nope. We’re the real deal and happy about it too. Check out our Reviews page to see what actual students and mentors say about us in their own words. None of the students or mentors are fake. These are all real people who believe in our in-industry approach.
WHAT DO I GET WHEN I GRADUATE?
You get three things when you graduate from the Recording Connection. The first is a certificate of completion. The second is a skill set that you have used in actual recording studio sessions—in other words, actual job experience you can put on your resume. The third is one year of graduate employment and job placement assistance. Helping people get themselves hired in the industry is an intrinsic part of our graduate employment and job placement success.
ONCE I GRADUATE, WILL I BE CERTIFIED?
Yes. You will receive a certificate of completion, certifying that you have completed the workshop or graduated the program in which you were enrolled. Graduates of the audio engineering program will receive a certificate of completion which signifies to the music recording industry that you have enough experience to hold a position as an Assistant Audio Engineer or Audio Engineer. Upon completion, they will be an RC Certified Audio Engineer – Music Producer with on the job experience. Graduates from any of our externship along with distance education programs will have accumulated at least 6 months of real life studio experience which is something studio owners often look for when hiring.
HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO ATTEND RECORDING CONNECTION?
We’ve had students in their early teens to well into their sixties and older. If you are under 18 you will need to have your parent or legal guardian approve your application. We strongly encourage applicants to get their parents involved so that we may answer any and all of their questions.
CAN I STILL ATTEND RECORDING CONNECTION EVEN IF I DIDN’T GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL OR DON’T HAVE MY GED?
While we would never advocate not finishing high school or its equivalent, we would never hold it against you. As long as you can read, write, speak English, have basic computer skills and a passion for music, you’re eligible to apply.
CAN I ASSOCIATE WITH MY MENTOR AND GO INTO THE STUDIO AFTER I FINISH THE COURSE, AFTER I GRADUATE?
Yes. If you are invited back to your mentor’s studio, we have no problem with that. In fact, we encourage it. We urge all of our students to show up to every class, never be late, and to be helpful. Build a relationship with your mentor that will last a lifetime.
DO YOU PROVIDE STUDENT HOUSING?
Not at this time. Since you don’t have to move to attend the Recording Connection, if you already have a roof over your head, your housing is taken care of. If you have a job, you can keep it and schedule your externship around your work schedule too.
DO YOU TAKE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?
We accept international students provided they have the necessary VISA requirements. As for VISA issues, upon acceptance into our program we are more than happy to furnish a letter of enrollment for your consulate/embassy to qualify you for a visitor visa. It is recommended, however, that you attend a community college in your city of choice as they have the necessary facility and faculty to petition F1/J1 Student Visas. A Student Visa is valid for the entire duration of your studies at the community college and would enable you more than enough time to attend this program and take full advantage of our career services program afterwards.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
A private mentor in a real recording studio.
Our course curriculum taught by that mentor and overseen by an Academic Facilitator.
The opportunity to extern in that studio and make real-world connections while taking our structured course curriculum.
Your very own Student Services Representative who calls you every 2 – 4 weeks to assist you and make sure that you are going to class.
Upon graduation, a certificate of completion that certifies you as a Recording Connection Certified Assistant Audio Engineer (if applicable), plus one more full year of career services assistance.
Learn from the Engineer that records Deadmau5
Hans Zimmer has met with Founder of the Recording Connection and gives his thumbs up to the program
An Engineer for Jack White teaches Recording Connection students
Learn audio from the producers and engineers that have worked with Skrillex
Snoop Dogg’s producers teach our students
Learn music production from Taylor Swift’s music producer
Student Nick E. Beats makes beats for Fetty Wap, becomes 2X Platinum producer
Audio Engineer for U2 is a Recording Connection Teacher
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