Gabe Green, Little Rock, AR
My name is Gabe Green and I’m an audio engineering student and I’m interning at Infrared Studios in North Little Rock, Arkansas. I am in the process of taking the final. I finished the written part of lesson 20 earlier this week and I am scheduled to go in and finish the hands on part of setting up the mics, tracking and mixing a full session with the studio musicians and the owner of the studio next week. I spoke with Maya a few days ago to see what the next step would be for me to finish the program and get my certification and she asked me a few questions about myself and the program. I told her that over the course of the program I had developed a good relationship with the engineer that was my mentor as well as the producer and owner of the studio. So much so that they offered me an internship where I will continue to work with and learn from them throughout the rest of the summer with the possibility of being hired on as an engineer at the end of the summer or the end of the year. Maya then proceeded to offer me the opportunity to be featured on the website as one of the student success stories which I gladly accepted. She said that I should e-mail you some basic information about myself and how I was able to excel in the program and develop such good relationships with three prominent people in the industry. I’m not sure exactly how much or what kind of information you guys need but she said that you would also call to interview me about it as well. I told Maya that my mentor Jay would be happy to write me a recommendation if you guys would like. I don’t know if you guys want to focus more on my own personal struggle to get to this point or just things that relate to how I did in the program but I will give you a short bio and a summary of my experience with the externship so far and If there is anything else you feel would be useful please let me know.
Personal Background Information:
I am 25 years old and I spent the majority of my life wanting to be a doctor or a musician. I made straight A’s all through high school and I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14. My sophomore year of college I had a series of bad luck and bad decisions which lead to terrible grades and a terrible situation. Once I realized I didn’t have the grades to be a doctor and I couldn’t pay the bills as a musician I dropped out of school and was waiting tables for a living. I was at a major crossroads. Then, when I was 21 years old I got a serious wakeup call in the form of my best friend dying suddenly and unexpectedly from an accidental drug overdose just weeks after we had stopped being roommates. This had a huge affect on me. I decided then and there it was time to get my life together. I had a few obstacles to overcome before I could do that. First, I was severely depressed because of the loss of my closest friend. Second, I had no college degree with only about 60 hours of credit and a 2.0 GPA. Also, I had no idea what I wanted to get a degree in and I had accumulated over $50,000 in student loan debt in the process of trying to earn a degree. So I decided to move back to my home town and I started stocking shelves in the Operating Rooms of a hospital. Eventually, I worked my way up and got a job as an EKG Tech working 12 hour nights from 7pm-7am 84 hours every two weeks. I always searched for a way to get a degree in music but it seemed like all the schools would have required me to relocate, start over and go to school for four more years and get in even more debt or they were online schools where I would not get any real world experience. Then one slow night at work I was searching for a way to better my situation and I stumbled across the Recording Connection website and filled out the online application. Within a few days James Petulla was calling me and we figured out that this was the best way for me to achieve my goals of working in the music business and for that I am very grateful.
Studio Apprenticeship Experience:
As far as the studio you guys set me up with goes it was a perfect fit for me right from the start. The owner, Rex, is a Doctor and an extremely talented pianist who plays in a jazz trio in his spare time. Rex and his band also serve as the studio musicians on any project that needs it including the session that I will be mincing, tracking, mixing, and mastering. The bass player is classically trained and plays in the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Because music is his passion Rex spares no expense when it comes to the equipment that we have the luxury to work with. Rex is there every day that he is not working at the hospital and has been present for most of my lessons as well as the majority of the sessions that I have been present for. He is a very hands on owner. The executive producer, Eric, is also an extremely talented musician and producer who has been in the business for over 25 years. He is there every day and has been very gracious about answering any questions I have had even though he is not technically my "Mentor" in the program. He has also agreed to teach me how to play piano and help me learn more about music theory and the production aspect of recording while I am interning there this summer. This is very exciting for me because I have been playing guitar for more than ten years and I want to become a better rounded musician and ultimately become a jack of all trades when it comes to playing, producing, and recording music.
Which brings me to my mentor, Jay. He has done just about every job an engineer can do.
- Recording engineer & producer
- Live sound engineer
- Award winning theatrical sound designer
- Radio disc jockey & commercial voice talent
- Corporate & event AV tech
He has taught me everything I know when it comes to recording and has become a good friend of mine in the process. We hit it off from the start partly because our brains work very similarly and for the most part we have similar tastes in music. Also, he knows how to explain things I may be struggling with in a way that is easy for me to understand. He has been extremely helpful and accommodating. For example, I work as an EKG tech from 7pm to 7am at a local hospital and he always works his schedule around mine because he said " I use to work the graveyard shift at the radio station so I know how it is, tell me when a good time is for you".
Also, he is only required to give me two hours of his time every week and if there isn’t another session right after my lesson we will continue to sit and talk about whatever questions I have or he will show me some new trick of the trade sometimes for hours. And even early on if there was someone else scheduled right after me, he would let me stay and be a fly on the wall for as long as I want just to learn from being there. He has let me sit in on many tracking and mixing sessions and now that I know my way around the studio he lets me run mic. cables, build out the tracks in the Pro Tools sessions, and whatever else he might think will help me learn. When I first got my M Box and finished mixing the Sarah Tea tracks that are part of the curriculum from you guys, he would give me the whole raw session tracks from the band that he was the engineer for in Austin called Peach Truck Republic just for me to practice E.Q., Compression, Reverb, and all the other plug-ins just so I would have more songs to practice on. When my computer crashed last week and I couldn’t use my m-box he let me bring in the tracks I had backed up and put them on their system just so I could hear how my mix sounded on their big board in a professional monitoring environment and make my own adjustments to the plug-ins. He has been nothing but nice to me and has never said no to any favor I’ve asked him that involved me learning. I told him in the beginning that I wanted to learn how to be a studio engineer and how to run live sound. He responded by promising to do everything in his power to go above and beyond what was required by the course just so that I would have a marketable resume and be able to make a career change to do what I love for a living. He knows we both have a passion for music and he has genuinely tried to help me achieve my goals from day one. He has asked me to help him later this summer with the Great Arkansas Talent Search that they put on just so I can learn more about running live sound and possibly recording live performances. I can’t say enough about how much Jay has helped me learn. In my opinion, he deserves some kind of recognition or certification because I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and I couldn’t have done it without him.
–Gabe Green, Little Rock, AR