Where the Jobs Are

Oct 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

New Opportunities in Live Sound Show Production

Polls


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

An Ex’pression student works on a Soundcraft SM20 monitor console during an Ex’pression Session with artist The Temper Trap in Meyer Hall at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts.

An Ex’pression student works on a Soundcraft SM20 monitor console during an Ex’pression Session with artist The Temper Trap in Meyer Hall at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts.

JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES

Given the premise that job functions in the industry aren’t as segmented as they used to be—front-of-house engineers do remote recording, and audio and video coexist in so many applications, for example—how do you teach students to be ready for everything?

Stefus: In our program, everyone learns everything. Even the student who comes here to make rock ’n’ roll records, at the end of their 30-week program and internship, is also trained in sound reinforcement. We start with a lot of trouble-shooting and maintenance—a firm understanding of electricity and electronics. They take soldering classes. They create and fix gear on the spot. Later, they will be part of productions in our 6,000-square-foot venue, where they’ll mix live performances and record remotely into Pro Tools.

John Scanlon, director of sound arts and interactive audio at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts.

John Scanlon, director of sound arts and interactive audio at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts.

Johnson: By the nature of the industry we serve, we have to teach a broad range. You’re talking about everything from hotel A/V up to large-scale touring and installs, so our courses reflect that. We start with basic audio and electronics, and then introduce show production systems. They learn the corporate and sports broadcasting. Installation technology, audio measurement systems, advanced show production… By the time students get out of here, they definitely have enough experience to start somewhere.

Scanlon: Our Sound Arts program begins with 16 weeks of studio maintenance—everything from wiring to power to digital and analog circuitry to reading schematics. They learn recording engineering in the studio before they get into live sound, where they’ll really be tested in ways they might not be in the studio. In a commercial studio, if something goes wrong, you go get the studio tech. In the live sound world, you’re both. You need to be firm on Ohm’s Law, power requirements, how to pull out cables that aren’t necessarily designed to operate with your speakers and make them work. You have to be a little more of a MacGyver.

Krogh: All of our students learn fundamental engineering skills that help them troubleshoot and work in a variety of situations. The more practice students get with different technologies and facilities, the more confident they are and capable of dealing with whaever they encounter when they leave here. They work on a variety of consoles—Midas, Trident, ICON, SSL—so they’re building a foundation of understanding: “I know that this is how this type of device is supposed to work, so even though this is a brand-new board I haven’t worked with, I intuitively know there should be a way to recall mix settings per song, for example. I can figure that out.”






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