Where the Jobs Are

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

New Opportunities in Live Sound Show Production

Polls


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McNally Smith alumnus Veronica Rodriguez (at right) engineers a remote broadcast for radio station Cities 97. She is part of a 5-person team that’s responsible for all of the audio engineering and IT needs for the ClearChannel office in Minneapolis.

McNally Smith alumnus Veronica Rodriguez (at right) engineers a remote broadcast for radio station Cities 97. She is part of a 5-person team that’s responsible for all of the audio engineering and IT needs for the ClearChannel office in Minneapolis.

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

What type of hands-on experience should students expect to get in school as part of their coursework or an internship?

Stefus: Live sound interns usually start off checking in gear. They’re the ones who unload the trucks, clean equipment, check it to make sure it’s operating properly. Even if they’re not operating gear right away, they’re learning how gear operates, and this is the type of work they’ll do at the entry level if they were hired at that facility. We’re training students to be as employable as possible.

Johnson: We have something here called Show Pro Club that’s open to all students in the Show Production degree program. Students sign up to crew different events on campus, as well as off-campus shows at places like the Hard Rock or the House of Blues. Another example of what we offer: Last week we held a live mixing seminar in our live production facility, Full Sail Live, hosted by Meyer Sound and featuring Buford Jones, who’s mixed so many big tours [David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Faith Hill, etc.]. Not only did he go over mixing concepts, it was also a chance for students to be part of a production staff—manning spots, camera positions, technical director, assisting at the monitor mix position. Students work production on every event we have here on campus.

A McNally Smith student mixes a performance in the McNally Smith Auditorium on a Midas Legend 3000 console.

A McNally Smith student mixes a performance in the McNally Smith Auditorium on a Midas Legend 3000 console.

Scanlon: We always want to give the expectation students will be in entry-level positions when they leave here, so in an internship they’ll start off as stagehands. One of our main lab instructors works for Third Ear Sound. So when Third Ear does sound for the Monterey Blues Festival, for example, they’ll bring eight students down to help on the show, and those students will really feel the heat of what it is to work a live show. We also have our Ex’pression Sessions here, where [radio stations] KFOG or Live 105 bring artists in to perform on the air. Students who work those shows have to get over being star-struck; they see their favorite artists walk through the door and they have to be professional, calm, attentive, and keep their focus on the artist’s needs.

Krogh: There’s a 2-credit intern component in our four-year bachelor’s program. For our live sound diploma, because it’s shorter and very hands-on by design, many students get field experience on and around campus. In any given week, there are probably at least half a dozen live performances in three different venues on campus that need sound reinforcement. Students are constantly being brought into service for those events. Across the street from our campus is Minnesota Public Radio. Students intern there, and we get job postings from them and other regional venues as well. The Twin Cities has a thriving music and theater scene, so students end up with a lot of opportunities.






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