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Music Director

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Audio Engineer

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Music Producer

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Mastering Engineer

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Record Producer

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Opera Singer

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Personal Manager

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Music Teacher

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Director of A&R

Trying to decide on the best way to break into the music business can be a daunting task.

There are so many options, advice, people and articles pulling you a million different ways. In this piece, we set out to answer the question “Are audio engineering schools worth the cost?”

We’ll discuss the following elements of audio engineering schools:

  • Working with great audio engineering equipment
  • Getting a solid grounding in audio techniques
  • Learning a broad range of skills
  • Studying music theory
  • Dealing with cost
  • Considering the time commitment
  • Choosing the right audio school

Working with Great Audio Engineering Equipment

Working on state-of-the-art equipment is by far one of the major reasons for attending an audio engineering school. This kind of experience is priceless in a music industry that keeps evolving. Having the proper equipment is now more important than ever.

The best benefit of having hands-on experience with this equipment is that you learn the industry standard right from the beginning. That wipes out your feeling of not being able to operate as a professional Producer.

Now there are a few drawbacks in this arena.

The most common problem is that the quality and standards of this equipment can vary drastically between schools. Usually, you can tell the difference between old and new equipment with the eyeball test. So make sure and visit any school you intend to enroll in, prior to signing up.

The other issue is quantity of equipment and studio space. Basically the less there is, the less you will be able to use it. Generally, if the classes are crowded you may only get a few hours here and there to work. So before enrolling be sure to find out how much studio time is typical per student.

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Getting a Solid Grounding in Audio Techniques

Rest assured that you will be getting a well-rounded education in audio techniques, which is very useful. Now, it might not win any awards for being very interesting but it will give you the foundation you need to be successful in the music business.

Of course, there are other sources such as YouTube, Udemy, and others but they do not offer the benefits of studio engagement. They are also often incomplete and jump around. A structured learning experience is the best way to learn audio engineering and music production.

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Learning a Broad Range of Skills

You will also be exposed to a broad array of audio production aspects, which will help you decide where you fit in as an Audio Engineer. You may even discover an interest you never knew you had. That’s why it’s a good idea to seek out a program packed with everything from production, engineering, music business and even online marketing for your music business.

Studying Music Theory

The intent of the school experience is also to help you find and recognize your passion in the music business. The theory part pays an intricate role in helping you accomplish this. Some subjects will be more or less technical but all carry importance in making you a successful industry pro. So take in all that they have to offer.

Dealing with Cost

Most people’s heaviest factor when considering whether to attend audio engineering school or not is the cost. The larger institutions cost a lot because their overhead is so high. They have big buildings, equipment to maintain, Teachers’ salaries to pay, big marketing budgets to justify, and they still have to worry about making a profit after all of that.

Tuition fees vary a lot, depending on where you are in the world and the kind of college it is. Top audio engineering schools can easily set you back tens of thousands of dollars. And although there are far more affordable options, in general, you do get what you pay for.

Your cost of living is also something to take into consideration during your decision-making process. Food and lodging costs can pile up, especially if you plan on moving to a new location to attend. Student loans are available and can be a good option with a good understanding of what you are signing up for. It is best to do your research before taking out large sum loans.

Considering the Time Commitment

Like at any school, your audio engineering course time can feel like it is a bit longer in the beginning until you hit your stride. The intent of this length of study is that the school gives you a well-rounded and tailored education. The mindset of rushing through is tough to overcome but is essential to fix in this setting.

Most schools operate by having each class give one main lecture per week and then you use the other part of your time doing work pertaining to them and your projects. In the beginning, however, you must be prepared to learn some theory before diving in on any projects.

The reasoning behind the pace is well-planned. There needs to be comfort on both sides before handling the equipment and tools you will be using. This will pay dividends in your work as well.

School settings offer a unique way to enter the field of music with some real experience and learning time. If well used, this academic experience can be the golden ticket to the career you always wanted. A lot of times, schooling will teach you more than getting coffee for a big wig music pro would.

Choosing the Right Audio School

It’s really important to get an idea who the instructors and staff are in the school you will be attending. The whole point to a trade or career school is to learn from actual working pros or experts. So don’t be afraid to ask about this.

One of the other most important aspects of the school should be access to high-quality gear and equipment. So when you’re looking around make sure and observe the quality and quantity of this stuff. Both are very important.

The other part of the quantity question is how much time you get to actually use this equipment. You should be able to get a really good idea of this through the program or course information and by asking the staff. Another factor worth knowing is when you would be able to use certain items.

In regards to curriculum, consider the reason you are attending school. It’s pretty simple; you would like to produce music in some way, shape, or form. Thus, it goes without saying, that when looking at schools, you should make sure the curriculum is largely focused on actually producing.

Yes, it is about exposure, too, but you also want to make sure your path will lead you to producing the product you intend to sell to people.

In Closing

Outdated colleges are probably not worth it.

The reality is that for the trade and technical school industry, the best gear and Teachers tend to be at the best schools. The best schools, a lot of times, charge the most. That’s just the way it is.

Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to this rule — you just have to do your research though. Be wary of scams and schools that aren’t what they say they are. Word of mouth and reputation can go a long way here. You don’t want to find out the hard way that you made the wrong choice.

Overall, the benefits of going far outweigh the cost.

Just be cautious when it comes to student loans and such. And make sure it’s really what you want to do.

Consider the opportunity cost. It is likely that attending school will give you access to places, gear, and people that you wouldn’t normally have.

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