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Starting Out-Don't Go To A Private Audio School!!! 
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Ok here is my first rant on this forum. After many years of study and research including at private audio schools masquerading as Universities I feel that I should warn all of you starting out, avoid private audio schools. All of them!!! Go to a proper uni, there are quite a few of these courses at proper unis now this includes Adelaide, Newcastle and Griffith to name a few.

These pseudo audio schools are designed in such a sleazy way and with no moral compass that if you understood the inner machinations you would run a mile. Example it came to my attention last year that JMC (John Martin Cass or Just Making Money or Just More Cock which ever you like) doesn't really want you to finish the bachelor course at all and in fact it was more profitable to push more students through first year and have them drop out after first year (this is why there are no standards or entrance requirements to get into the first year diploma course just four hundred dollars to enrol). I received this information from an ex head of the audio department of JMC Melbourne. To further qualify this statement at the time I finished, JMC Melbourne was expanding their classroom capacity (not their studio capacity) and taking in double the numbers for the audio course. My partner decided after a bad experience at SAE (more about that in a minute) decided to try JMC, to her horror, to book studio time so she could complete her assignments was becoming almost impossible this was due to the doubling of the amount of audio classes being held at the school. So basically you have an audio course were hands on time was becoming increasingly rare. Even in my final year which was the year before my partner went to JMC we had all sorts of problems in terms of getting enough time in the studio, so much so I gave up and did most of my work at home (still managed to get a couple of distinctions). To further exacerbate this problem the studios were open to midnight every day except weekends. To allow JMC Melbourne to expand JMC had to get council permission and to get this the studio had to be closed by 8 pm everyday. So more students less studio time.

Ok so on SAE this place is an antiquated draconian institution. We will start with the curriculum which includes web design and Photoshop courses how this fits in with the music industry is anybody's guess. My partner then did the midi course but because she didn't use Logic she failed, she used Sonar plugged in the Electronic Drums and played and recorded the midi parts but she still failed all because she did not use Logic. Last time I checked Logic wasn't the only sequencer!!!

Another thing SAE Melbourne lacked was microphones. Let me tell you a Rode NT1a the original not the new ones the original ones that were converted from cheap Chinese microphones (you know the grey ones, we all know the story thanks to AT mag) are not professional grade microphones, these were the only microphones that were avalible plus some sm58's and 57's and a couple of drum microphones.

If all this does not turn you off from going to SAE how about selling the name and the school for a huge profit.

If after all this, this is not enough to turn you off going to either of these odious places they also have huge sponsorship deals. For example JMC have one with Yamaha and Avid (ProTools) so it doesn't mater that there are different programs and perhaps better programs to work with and this is also the case with the mixing desks. These brands are shoved down your throat as the be end to end all.

Finally I have to mention RMIT who have a similar course, this is an unprofessional course, parochial with nepotisim running riot. I make this claim due to the fact I was there with our old friend Nick Huggins (he has an article on himself in the current AT mag) I too could have been the golden boy or the apple of Anthony "Tok" Norris and or Michael Pollard eyes (this means I would have been introduced to all the people Nick was introduced to and my career would be going gangbusters just like Nicks, in fact it could have been my mug in the current edition of AT mag) but because I dared to question the validity of what they were teaching I was eventually expelled. Once again I don't make this claim lightly. Nick didn't even complete the course (Cert 4 Music Industry-Technical Production) One week he is there next minute he is cozing up to Norris (Norris in one of his lectures mentions that Huggins and him have been working together at his mastering studio (for free) next lecture Huggins has a job and won't be returning. Coincidence I think not!!

So there you have it, if you want to work in the audio industry don't go to any of these schools. Start learning the craft yourself and then if you decide this is what you want to be go to a proper uni and get a proper degree not like my cornflake packet degree (of course I have a masters now and so have washed the stench of pseudo uni off me by going to a real uni).  Finally remember these are not creative degrees not at the base level, these are technical degrees that have very little to do with the recording of music, by the very nature of the audio industry and where it is today why would it?  These degrees at proper uni’s will give you though a broad understanding of the recording arts but don’t expect to actually know anything at the very end in terms of what constitutes as a good mix or how to achieve a good mix.  A proper uni will teach you how to be a good academic at least where as pseudo audio school uni won’t even do that.

 

Ok rant over, any questions??

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Ben BCT (Bachelor of Creative Technology, JMC Academy) MMusTech (Master of Music Technology, The University of Newcastle)
http://www.aaudiomystiks.com


Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:18 am
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I went to SAE Adelaide, learned a tonne and had a great time. That was a few years back though, so I don't know if things have changed.

They still let me go back from time to time to use the studio for a really cheap rate when I need to, although admittedly I do take in a few of my own mics and preamps.

You mentioned the Adelaide University course being superior… I heard on the grapevine that it was complete crap.

I think with private schools the key is that you need to motivate yourself and push yourself to learn, more so than at universities etc.

Also, no offense, but if I was teaching a Logic course and your girlfriend went off and did it in Sonar instead I would also be kinda pissed off! I haven't stepped foot into SAE for a while now, have they switched to Logic?


Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:02 am
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Yea they have switched to Logic but my point still stands Logic is not the only sequencer and it is important to understand that.  Also it is supposed to be a midi course how can focusing on Logic be a midi course.  Also and I am going out on a limb here the project my woman did in Sonar would have blown away any and all of the competionion in her class, I think this is where the problem was.  I mean we did this project at home (yes I did help her and what I mean by "at home" we had better equipment) we also had access to an electronic drum kit which we used.  And also we had access to some of the best soft synths around including some Creamware stuff.  I have then mastered the whole project using outboard gear and in my own opinion the end product sounded awesome.  She also failed her drum mic project and this is because she didn't do the drums in the markers opinion "the correct way" what a bunch of bullshit.  The drum kit she used was rubbish but once again in my opinion the sound she got was awesome.  We used superior microphones to the ones at SAE a couple of AKG's for the overheads a beyrdynamic and a Shure for the kick and just a 57 for the snare.  We have then taken the track into SAE and mixed the whole thing on the TLA desk but because this was a dirty sounding track (meaning it had some hiss and the like) she failed.  The song though sounds awsome (in my opinion) I mastered the track and I have checked it on many different speakers and the same response across the board (this is very rare as you might know to get a mix and master to sound universally good across three or four listening environments is the holy grail of audio).

 

As for saying that universities and their audio courses are superior, not once did I say that.  In fact what I did say was don't expect to learn anything about how to mix or the stuff we should know.  These courses are about becoming academics or technicians (there are quite a few jobs at these universities as studio managers and the like).  You won't learn how to become any of these things at a pseudo uni, they the lectures are told by the administrators to be lenient on their marking.  An example of this is a writer for this magazine, one Mark Basset wanted to fail a whole class at JMC because they had not referenced properly and in some cases not referenced at all but because this would have been bad for business they were all passed.  Let’s just say that at least Mark had the balls to go no way and resigned after this.

 

What I am saying also is that these courses are so far behind the eight ball in terms of their curriculum, I mean lessons on tape operation.  Once and for all tape is dead, of course I am going to be howled down for saying this but it is true.  We need to move on and start to understand why digital sounds not as good to some ears (not mine) and how to rectify this.  Then we need to start to understand the concept of the computer/the daw and the interface as an entire eco system.  Then we have to go back to the concept of the daw as an instrument.  Today we have on our laptops in terms of the daw something that is so powerful that compositional limits are no longer there.  You want to write a new symphony or opera and then perform it somewhere you can.  You want to write drippy accoustic songs with smatterings of electronica you can.  You want to play in a rock and roll band but you can't stand drummers so you don't well guess what you don't need a drummer or a band anymore the daw as an instrument a studio and a live instrument is king and it has arrived.

 

Ok if you are going to use the technology as I have described it as above then you are going to need some musical know how and once again this is something that these courses are also lacking.   

 

Rant no2 over anymore questions?

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"In search of the lost digital chord"
"Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one-so exercise yours"
Ben BCT (Bachelor of Creative Technology, JMC Academy) MMusTech (Master of Music Technology, The University of Newcastle)
http://www.aaudiomystiks.com


Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:01 am
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You can learn how to record, mix and master yourself. why would you pay anyway. Been at it a 12 months now after a 10 year break and have learned some cool techniques mixing in the box using Logic and other's (Ableton at the moment). Why indeed would you pay the SAE dude. Just buy him another car or boat and be done with it if you're into making donations. I started at SAE back when it was in Inkerman Street in St Kilda. I soon leaned that I was wasting my money and called up a few studios to volunteer and learn. A much better course of action. Or as was stated in Rant #1, go to a uni who need to meet a minimum standard and who get audited by a government department.



That's my rant.

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:16 pm
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Analogue Addict said:

You can learn how to record, mix and master yourself. why would you pay anyway. Been at it a 12 months now after a 10 year break and have learned some cool techniques mixing in the box using Logic and other's (Ableton at the moment). Why indeed would you pay the SAE dude. Just buy him another car or boat and be done with it if you're into making donations. I started at SAE back when it was in Inkerman Street in St Kilda. I soon leaned that I was wasting my money and called up a few studios to volunteer and learn. A much better course of action. Or as was stated in Rant #1, go to a uni who need to meet a minimum standard and who get audited by a government department.

 

That's my rant.




Yes I spent 5 years learning the craft in my own way before I started my first course which was a cert2&3 in music industry and a cert 3 in music.  of course i did not complete my cert 4 at RMIT and this still rankles me (even after it was agreed that I would get my certificate after I completed the equivalent subjects at JMC )  John Phillips a so called doyen of the industry or so I was told you still owe me and I am coming to get you!!! (not serious but I am still mighty pissed it would look good with all the rest of my certificates on the wall). 

 

The only problem I have with your statement in terms of give the SAE guy another boat instead of paying fees is that only the heads get the good salaries.  Although the casual lectures do get good money somewhere in the vicinity of 60 dollars an hour, they don't get paid for marking and they are casual workers so it's harder to survive/get bank loans/and or credit.

 

The final thing I want to say is whilst yes you can teach yourself the ins and outs of the recording arts, it still doesn't turn you into the Pink Floyd or Beatles or whoever.  This takes a lot more time and skill and yes unfortunately TALENT with the democratization of the recording industry this fundamental ingredient isn't really needed anymore.  For example anyone with a laptop and garage band can now without an inkling of talent can make a tune.  It then can be uploaded and if you have enough "friends" it can go viral.   Justin Beiber anyone!!!!  There is now no need to learn an instrument or to understand even the most basic of theory.  The only problem with this though it limits you as a producer/artists or whatever.  As I said before there are no compositional limits the only problem with this statement is you must know how to play an instrument and have basic theory and production/engineering skills to be able to get the full benefits of today's recording technology and this is where these courses are letting us down.

 

This leads on to what we have talking been talking about as I said these degrees are technical degrees and they teach you or should teach you beyond music recording and they do or at least JMC did SAE is just rubbish.  This is the industry that we are left with now a very small one if we are talking about music but a very big one if we include all the other "pro audio jobs".  This leaves us with another problem though that these schools have such a bad reputation in the "industry" and also because the jobs that are available are very blue collar there is a suspicion of "academics" in the audio workforce.   It means even if you complete one of these degrees the likely hood of a real job at the end is slim to none unless you are one of the golden children and the SAE/JMC or RMIT doyens introduce you to their circle of friends.  Nick Huggins anyone!!!!

_________________
"In search of the lost digital chord"
"Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one-so exercise yours"
Ben BCT (Bachelor of Creative Technology, JMC Academy) MMusTech (Master of Music Technology, The University of Newcastle)
http://www.aaudiomystiks.com


Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:55 pm
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I've just whacked that image there so I could mention this topic on the AT FaceBook page, and have an image appear on the FB status link (hope that makes sense).



I reckon it's worth getting as many opinions on this as possible ;)

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:55 pm
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Dr.Hash said:



JMC (John Martin Cass or Just Making Money or Just More Cock which ever you like) doesn't really want you to finish the bachelor course at all




I work at JMC and strategies to KEEP students from dropping out is probably the number 1 item that comes up at meetings… I don't know how accurate your information is.

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:14 pm
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For the price of some of these courses you could probably rent a studio 5 days a week for a year and teach yourself how to do it and offer free recordings/ mixing for bands, eventually you could makes some $$$ from it as well. I'm quite sure the studio owner wouldn't mind giving you a few pointers either since you'll pretty much paying his bills for the year.



I'm not dissin any Colleges though, If it works for you then by all means do it. If a problem is with all the institutes maybe some rules, regulations, higher entrance requirements and a more comprehensive curriculum might be in order. I have had a friend do the full degree course from SAE and I was shocked at how basic the work was in his final year but hes doing alright now so yea... whatever.


Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:38 pm
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Dr. Hash you should have just posted this link a bunch of times:

http://soundcloud.com/aaudiomystiks

Would make a better argument...


Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:52 pm
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I hear so many people who feel they've been burnt by these courses. I can't speak for all of them, but I've done the Electronic Music Production course at SAE and I've been involved in the bmus at the Aus Institute of Music.



SAE was interesting. I did it in Sydney about 4 years ago, when EMP was new. The first teacher we had for about half the course didn't give a crap - but we complained and they replaced him with Paul Najar. Paul was great, really invested in the program and was more than happy to help me out even after the course ended. All up, I learned a bit; I probably could have taught myself, but it would have taken a lot longer. Of course as with all the private schools, fees are very high.



AIM feels like it's sort of in permanent transition. They have quite a high student:facility ratio, and it can be difficult to get studio time. But the level of teaching there is top notch - Jason de Wilde and AT's own Greg Simmons are highly involved there, and really go the extra mile. Again, fees are pretty huge, but if they can expand the studio facilities it'd be absolutely worth it. Plus they've got nice gear.



For me the best thing is being able to spend time in a quality studio, and make all the usual mistakes in that environment, rather than in a pro studio where other people's money and time is on the line.



But f**k me it's all expensive.


Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:10 pm
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