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Sound engineering / audio production course

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Hello. It's been a while. Glad to see some familiar faces.

I was speaking to a friend today who is looking to start a sound engineering / audio production course - ideally in Glasgow / nearby but currently lives just outside Aberdeen. Does anyone recommend a particular course / college over another? Any help gratefully appreciated!

Ian

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Hello. It's been a while. Glad to see some familiar faces.

I was speaking to a friend today who is looking to start a sound engineering / audio production course - ideally in Glasgow / nearby but currently lives just outside Aberdeen. Does anyone recommend a particular course / college over another? Any help gratefully appreciated!

Ian

If he is really serious about it the SAE is good, expensive mind but you can get a lot out of it if you are hard working/willing.

Otherwise the standard options for sound courses in and around Glasgow is, Glasgow North College, Stow College, James Watt College and Cardonald. Having done the music course at JW for 2 years i wouldn't recommend that place to anyone. Don't be fooled by the nice gear. Not heard anything particularly good about GN, Stow or Cardonald either though so maybe i'm putting it down a bit harsh because i went there.

The sound course is meant to be not bad at Aberdeen College.

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The HNC at Aberdeen College is pretty good. The syllabus is pretty basic though and I learned more from casual chats with the lecturers, shadowing live engineers and reading up on recording technique than I did from the actual course.

If you want to take sound engineering further though the HNC's the starting point, and you can learn loads if you ask the right questions. Plus you get to use a shit hot recording studio with an SSL desk!

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I think just about most HNC's will offer you the similar kind of knowledge, where you really learn is enthusiasm to research yourself, trial and error and just generally going for it. It's something that can't really be taught, you'll realise that once you start that they can only give you the basics and some good know how, you need to learn most things from experience. I'm at aberdeen college and can't say much for the others but that's definitely how i feel about it.

(EDIT: posted by John W...forgot to quote properly)

I'm doing HND Music at aberdeen college and I think what you said there is pretty much bang on. I have learned things from the college but the main thing I think it's done for me is to give a bigger drive in learning myself. The facilities are generally good, not exactly industry standard but close enough to give you the general idea of things (still not half bad though :up:).

One thing you get there is people who can answer your questions and you can get a 'push-start' in the right direction. So if you're not sure, maybe this will help you decide exactly what you want to do and what level you want to go to, without taking a big leap.

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The facilities are generally good, not exactly industry standard but close enough to give you the general idea of things (still not half bad though :up:).

The SSL and Protools HD is totally industry standard!! They've got awesome mics too (414's, beta91s etc). You could make shit hot recordings in that studio. It was just a shame when I did the course I couldn't get hold of any shit hot bands.

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Thanks! Some excellent insight there. I'll pass on the information - seems to be a lot of love for the Aberdeen College course, which is understandable as it's local - Anyone else got information about the other colleges in Glasgow? Stow seems to be edging it just now...

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Please tell your friend that the job market is pretty much non-existent!

I strongly suggest that he has a look and perhaps posts an info request on the Sound-on-Sound forum, before committing to any career choices.

There is one university in the UK that does provide an excellent education in audio engineering, and that is the Surrey Tonmeister course (but not their other audio courses!) For live sound, LIPA is excellent.

The reason for this is the fact that colleges all over the World are churning out thousands of graduates in Music Technology (or something with a similar name) each and every year. Very often, the quality of these courses is doubtful to the point of being utter rubbish. It is not unusual for a graduate of an MT course to not be able to read music or even a circuit diagram! Not all, but enough to make potential employers not want to take any, but those who come from the best courses, such as LIPA and the Tonmeister at Surrey.

The trouble is, it is very very hard to get on these two courses - so here's what I would do -

If I were seeking a career in professional audio today, I would start by going to a traditional university to study electrical engineering or perhaps electronics and computing. A good alternative for a less academic career would be to do ONC through to HND in electrical engineering or something similar.

At the same time, I would write to radio and TV stations, recording studios, theatres, independent outside broadcast companies, dubbing houses, film studios, live sound companies, hire companies, mobile recording companies, freelance sound engineers in all disciplines (and anyone else I could think of!) asking for the opportunity for unpaid work experience.

During the holidays I would work my butt off to be a keen, reliable, useful, interested member of the staff, while learning as much as possible about every aspect of everyone's job. The more places you have experience of, the better, and the more contacts you will make.

By the time you graduate your degree course, you will have a useful and recognised qualification which proves your intellect, your ability to learn, and your self-motivation. Your work experience will have provided you with a broad and useful background knowledge, realistic expectations of the industry, and a lot of contacts.

With luck, one of those contacts may well turn into a job offer, but if not, you will have a CV which will be taken far more seriously than most media or sound engineering course graduates.

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Have to agree with the last post - you've got just under a half dozen institutions (and that's just Scotland) churning out audio engineer clones every year. Unless they are taking out a huge whopping bank loan to start their own studio (and that's a saturated market in itself) or they are uber gifted then there ain't gonna be much work going.

On a separate note - I've heard variable things about Stow's quality of teaching staff and, having recorded in their sound-proofed sweat-box, I can't say I was overly impressed.

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