You’re the kind of person who loves audio, recording, mixing, producing, sound, gear, technology, staying up late and eating pizza, etc. So based on your skills and passion, you’ve decided to attend audio school. You’re stoked, you’re ready, and you can already feel the wind blowing through you hair. The thought of recording big-named artists and bands is giving you enough tissue-aliveness to power a city!
But, before you hand over your credit card, student loans or hard earned cash for audio school tuition, have you asked these three questions?
- What’s the risk?
- What’s the return on investment (ROI)?
- What are the rewards?
In this three-part series, I’m going to answer these questions, beginning today with:
You may be thinking, “Risk? What risk could there be?” Well, when you’re laying down that much money, with the state of today’s economy and today’s music industry, let me say there is a risk. In fact there’s always a risk-- it’s the amount of risk you’re willing to take that’s important. The risk in attending audio school is that there is no guarantee you will find paid work.
Wouldn’t it be great if you were guaranteed a job in your field after school? However, it’s not often the case. And depending on the industry you may never find employment with only your diploma.
Why Go To School?
So why go to school? I believe there are three reasons:
If you're going to school simply to gain more knowledge, you're probably not expecting to get a job in that field afterward. While I was at audio school, a guy in his early fifties was enrolled in the engineering and music production program just for the fun of it. He was open to wherever it led. You may know people enrolled in things like cooking school, various arts programs or aviation because they’re looking to stretch and grow themselves and have fun in the process.
The downside is that if you’re not the least bit disciplined, you may be tempted to drop out when the assignments, tests and projects start coming your way.
The upside is that when you’ve finished the course, you can look back at you’re accomplishment with pride and joy. And, who knows where those new skills will lead you?
If you're going to school because your parents think you should or to fulfill some kind of status quo, then you have a shaky reason for going to school. You’re probably not sure what courses or program to enroll in, or if you’re already enrolled, you may dislike the program you’re in.
There are thousands of students buying an education for all the wrong reasons. Kind of like setting out on a trip without a destination. It can be fun at first, but a lack of purpose can be frustrating in the long run.
But hope is not lost. You can always put things on hold while you go out and do the necessary research to find out who you are. I’ve attached links to some fabulous resources below that helped me and that I know will help you.
3) Training towards a Career
Finally, if you're going to school to train for a first or second career, you're spending thousands of dollars on your education and you want a paid job afterward: 1) so you can pay off your student loans, and 2) so you can live. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable goal, do you?
So what do Interest and Self-improvement, Tradition, Training towards a Career, and Risk have to do with going to audio school?
You can take your $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 and go to audio school for:
- Interest and Self-Improvement: You love music and audio and you want to learn about it and get better at it. It’s expensive, sure, but that’s the price of admission and maybe you feel it’s worth it.
- Tradition: By going to school you are seeking to fulfill some kind of expectation of post-secondary education. Instead of college or university, you’ve chosen audio school because you love music or movies and your parents think going to school is the normal next step to take in life. But you may be feeling a certain amount of trepidation.
- Training towards a Career: You’re attending audio school because you want to get into audio production as a career. You love audio production and it’s the first choice career on you list.
The Bottom Line:
What are the risks and is it worth the risk?
Remember, schools are businesses and education is big business. Now’s the time to do a lot of research, ask questions, visit audio schools, talk to working engineers in music and post-production, network, and do everything in your power to get the inside scoop on the industry: salary, internships, jobs, the future outlook, etc. . . . before you spend the money!
As an aside, I wrote a blog for a former instructor of mine about my experience at audio school and afterward entitled, “Heap of Money” – by Jeremy Johnson - (graduate – media/entertainment arts school – GTA)
This series is an expanded and updated version of that original blog I wrote for Jim, but I’m sure you’ll find Jim’s blog helpful in your own research.
Join me next time for Part 2 of Attending Audio School: The ROI
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