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What todo with my life

Postby Dodger » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:26 pm

Hi

for many years now my dream has been to work in a recording studio. i spend hours in my home studio but need to get to that next level. I have been told by meny people to not go to university. but now i am finishing my a levels and need somewhere to go.

i gather i need todo something along the lines of an apprentaship (become a tea boy...)

do these even exist ive tried looking around a bit for something and got nothing. i thought about emailing the studios but that seemed so impersonal (they must get 1000's of these) there not gonna get to know me ? or have any reason entirely to teach me what i want to know

i mean i live just outside Manchester but would move anywhere in the country (world if it was nice and hot and not France.....)and i know there a few gd studios in Manchester



how did all you guys get to where you are today!!!

HELP ME!!!!!

Thanks for your time very much

Jack
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby turbodave » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:36 pm

Hi, First port of call...find out the names of the studios, get some evidence of a brain in writing/cd and knock on doors, being presentable and patient.Ask if you can work for free for a short period and prove your worth.Dave
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:39 pm

Hi Dodger!

What A Levels are you taking and what grades are you expecting?

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Dodger » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:44 am

Im currently taking Music, Physics and music technology. should hopfully get 3 c's or if all goes really well B C C with the B in technology
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby * User requested deletion * » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:11 am

Dodger wrote:
how did all you guys get to where you are today!!!


By having a plan A, B and C. Plan A (drummed into me by my pragmatic dad) was living. i.e. buying food, getting my own place, being self-sufficient and not sponging or going on the dole. Once those things are in place, one is perhaps in a better position, mentally and financially to approach Plan B.

The chances of Plan B working out are miniscule, in which case a Plan C is necessary. My Plan C included building site labourer and wine waiter. I am now doing my dream job but it has been a very long and painful journey.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:15 am

What are you doing music or recording wise outside college?

I started in the business by recording gigs and doing demos for people who couldn't afford to go to a proper studio. I got known for this and ended up doing live sound and studio recording for people that I'd recorded in those early days.

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby tomafd » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:11 am

Everyone's route is different, and usually there's no 'big break' either in the recording biz, as a career, or in the being-an-artist biz, as a career. There are, though, usually a couple of occasions where a number of things are in place- you're the right person, with the right skills, who just happens to be in the right place, with the right people, when an opportunity turns up.

These moments can't be created by pure effort of will - an awful lot is simply down to chance. Basically, the only thing you can do is try and create the conditions so as to give yourself the best chance of getting lucky- and that means networking, visiting studios, making contacts both with studio owners and musicians, and offering you skills out to mates, for free, just so you have some kind of showreel to offer. It also means following up any remix opportunities out there (sites like Indaba - yes, you sometimes have to pay) and these days, looking at the 'beats' market as well. It's likely that you'll need some evidence of musical skills as well as recording skills to get anywhere these days.

Just remember - this is a business where there are fewer and fewer obvious routes to any form of employment, let alone 'success' or even long term survival even if you do get a bit of luck along the way. A lot of very well established studios with highly skilled engineers with 25 years experience have closed recently. Make sure you do have some kind of other skill which can make you some cash, because there will be times - probably more often than not - where you're getting nowhere. It's a really, really, tough business, and getting harder all the time. You'll need balls of steel, a capacity for endless hard work for little or no pay, and the ability to accept rebuffs (sometimes extremely rude) without getting too disheartened. You'll see your peers, in ten years time, making far more money than you in other careers, with security, houses, and all the rest of it, while you could still be struggling along.

Make sure you really, really, want to do this, with as little naivety and star-struck ideas as possible. It's a tough business, one of the roughest there is, and it's not for the faint hearted.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Mash » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:30 pm

Wise words, here's an email I sent to someone asking me advice on where to study music production earlier today if of any use.

Hello Jack, great to hear from you mate.

To cut to the chase, there are a few good reasons to study the arts, they're fun, give you time to develop your music, you'll make a good set of friends, but they are nearly counter-productive in progressing in the real world as a musician. The only course that holds any weight in the UK is the Tonmeister, maybe LIPA at a push...the rest will often be taught by failed musicians with a poor understanding of engineering and how things actually work in the real world...harsh, but fair.

It's really fantastic that you're doing so much with your band, working full time to support it, and getting in touch with people in the industry...you're already ahead of 99% of music production students who think they'll be working in a studio after they graduate when infact they'll be unemployable with little/no real world experience with a mickey mouse qualification and a silly amount of debt.

Are you based in London? If so you're already half way there, and as you know it's very much who you know so my advice is to get yourself right in the environment you want to be in, whether it's making the tea or manning reception on the night shift in some kind of studio you'll be in a place to learn how the industry actually works and slowly build up a great set of contacts. You'll get paid bugger (although hopefully enough to live off) all and get treated appallingly a lot of the time but you'll learn useful skills and be on the bottom of a very cool ladder in an environment that creatively inspires you.

Have a good think about exactly what it is you want to do in audio, making it as a studio engineer is going to be extremely challenging, but there are more obtainable careers in tv/film/games if that's your thing. I studied Creative Music Technology BA Hons at Bath Spa and although it was a great laugh, gave me time to develop my music and what I wanted to do with it...it was my tea boy job in Soho (Evolutions Post) that got me meeting the right people and ultimately got me doing what I'm doing now, same as with anyone I work with now, they all started out making the tea and working there arses off in the right environment, my two most successful young mates (same age as me) skipped uni and went straight for the tea boy job and are doing embarrassingly well now for their age, doing what they love all day and pulling in a decent amount of dosh (BBC offline editor & Dubbing Mixer for Halo Post).

I'm out of the UK until 15th April but let me know if any of this is useful and if you'd like to grab a beer for music chats when I'm back.

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Dodger » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:46 pm

outside school i have my own studio do a lot of recording with my band and some other solo artists. some times for like a tenner here and there but most of the time for free. im trying to get that rolling more and get more money from it you know evening an weekends

i know and accept that the only way to get where i want to be is getting very good at making tea and coffee....

but what is the best way to try and get studios to listen to me? obviously it wud be better if i relocate to london but atm financially don't feel that is viable so my main hub is around Manchester.. which i no again isn't ideal but there are a lot worse

i mean do i go round knocking on there doors?

letters?

email?

phone calls?
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Mash » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:51 pm

Knock on doors, in London.

I didn't have a penny when I came here, sofa surfed for first few months (basically homeless) then moved into the grottiest of all grotty house shares with roughly eight weirdos in the worst bit of London I've ever witnessed...just depends how bad you want it!

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Mash » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:55 pm

But the whole time I was utterly euphoric about being in London, being around/making tea for people I aspired to!
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Nutshell Cavities » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:30 pm

Dodger wrote:Im currently taking Music, Physics and music technology. should hopfully get 3 c's or if all goes really well B C C with the B in technology

I take it those are predicted grades for this year? First priority then: worker harder! get better grades!
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:34 pm

There are still a fair few studios in Manchester you could go around door knocking.

But which ever way you look at it, the number of studios is small and probably still getting smaller, and the number of people with qualifications or experience or both is enormous. So you're facing more of a northface climb than an an uphill struggle just to get noticed.

My advice would be to think a little more laterally. All experience is good experience and most of it will translate directly between audio disciplines -- and you might even find that there are better things in this world than sitting in the back of a music studio all day!

So, go knocking on the doors of theaters, radio stations, corporate and commercial TV facilities and anything else you can find that has an audio element to it.

You are lucky in that you have Media City on your doorstep, and there is a serious demand for technical staff -- even the BBC are offering significant jobs and training opportunities which -- should you be lucky enough to get one -- would put you in a far better position than three years at college!

Think of your dream as a long term goal rather than short term, and aim to work towards it, even if that means taking a bit of a zig-zag route. Those with drive, determination and motivation, along with good people skills, a reasonable brain and good ears will always make it int he end.

Best of luck to you.

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Dodger » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:50 pm

Wont people just get annoyed if i go and knock on there door?

wouldn't a letter or phone call be less intrusive but still better then an email
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:10 pm

It depends how good you are at writing letters and what knd of instant impression you make.

Personally, I'd be more impressed by someone who went to the effort of turning up than just printed 100 letters and stuck some stamps on!

It all helps, of course. Phone to find out the name of the best person to contact. Write to that person, and make it relevant and specific to the employer's business and likely needs. Phone to ask if they received your letter and to ask if you can visit them. Turn up, remind them you phoned and wrote and ask if you could have a look around...

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:40 pm

Dodger wrote:Wont people just get annoyed if i go and knock on there door?


Probably depends on the company. In the days when I was running a studio, I wouldn't have been happy if I was the only person in the building working on a session and someone turned up on the off chance of having a look round. However, if you had phoned me or emailed I would have been much more receptive to arranging a time to meet. You would need to convince me that you had something going for you over and above all the other hopefuls though.

A bigger company with more staff would probably be fine with you walking in - although they might ask you to come back at a different time to talk to the right people.

James.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:29 am

Dodger wrote:Im currently taking Music, Physics and music technology. should hopfully get 3 c's or if all goes really well B C C with the B in technology

Here we go again!

1. MT is not an academic subject, so you have two A-Levels in the offing and not three. I suggest you take a long hard look at something else!

2. We get somewhere between 100 and 200 job-apps a year, more if I count all the silly emails. Just about all these come from young boys who have attended some provincial college or uni and graduated in MT. Pretty much none of them can read music or a circuit diagram, which always makes me smile, as one is forced to ask what happened to music and technology, when studying er, music-technology!

3. At your tender age, the work of a recording engineer looks interesting and exciting. Trust me - it ain't! It is work, just like anything else. It is those parts of the industry that are the most boring, that are usually the best paid.

4. The pay is crap - there just is no other way to put it! The most credited engineer of all time (you name 'em and he's recorded them, Stones, Tina, Pavarotti, Genesis, Michael Jackson, I could go on and on, listing almost everybody except Elvis and P. Floyd) lives in an ordinary, rented house. He is a friend of mine and we have known one another since we both had hair! Below him come thousands and thousands of hopefuls, struggling to get to work with just one of the hundreds of 'names' that he can put on his c.v.

5. Other careers are also very interesting - but career teachers at school have very little idea of what goes on in the real World. They think of retail as being shelf-stacking, when it is one of the most interesting careers you can get and offers some of the best opportunities for travel and international postings. Everything from economics to engineering is what you make of it.

6. Business is still the most interesting and exciting career choice of all - and offers real chances, as opposed to silly illusions, as does the music industry. When I am not a studio owner, I run a business - in that role, I get to solve real problems and talk to real people with real budgets. Then I go into the studio and have to explain to some totally impecunious berk, that two drum kits, both very badly played, on a recording is a silly idea.

7. If you are not academically inclined (and the incorrect grammar in your postings would suggest that!) then how about doing an engineering subject (metallurgy, electrical engineering, building tech., etc.) at tech college, doing the old ONC to HND route?

8. Right now, there are more opportunities for young people than at any other time in history. Please don't throw away your future on a path to nowhere, gaining a qualification that only serves to do harm!
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:56 am

And whilst I am here, I'll answer your questions -

Dodger wrote:i gather i need todo something along the lines of an apprentaship (become a tea boy...)


No, in the UK you need to attend either LIPA (2nd choice) or Surrey Tonmeister (1st choice). The rest are pretty much the direct pathway to a career in shelf-stacking.

The halcyon days of starting as a tea boy are well and truly over - and never really existed in the first place. We all did either music or electrical engineering, or both, either formally or informally. Some of the very early engineers drifted into the job, as a result of apprenticeships with the likes of Pye, the BBC and EMI, but, as I stated, those days are over.

Dodger wrote:how did all you guys get to where you are today!!!


Most of the people here are amateur recording enthusiasts, but there are also a few pros knocking about. One got a doc-phil in maths, some did electrical engineering, many of the people I work with did the Surrey Tonmeister, though some just came in from left-field or went to one of the better music colleges, Royal, Guildhall, etc.

My studio survives (whence all but he had fled, the flame that lit the battle's wreck shone round him o'er the dead) because I have a background in economics and business, so everything I do has to honour the bottom line.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Nutshell Cavities » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:14 am

Ah, here he is. Ok, who had "42 hours" in the "How long it takes Red Bladder to **** on this young man's dreams" sweepstake?
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby jellyjim » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:24 am

Mash wrote:failed musicians

What exactly is a failed musician? Where exactly in your little sandpit do you draw that particular line? Which side of it are you on and why? Can you play like Coltrane or compose like Mozart?
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby jellyjim » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:30 am

The Red Bladder wrote:
Dodger wrote:Im currently taking Music, Physics and music technology. should hopfully get 3 c's or if all goes really well B C C with the B in technology

Here we go again!

1. MT is not an academic subject, so you have two A-Levels in the offing and not three. I suggest you take a long hard look at something else!

2. We get somewhere between 100 and 200 job-apps a year, more if I count all the silly emails. Just about all these come from young boys who have attended some provincial college or uni and graduated in MT. Pretty much none of them can read music or a circuit diagram, which always makes me smile, as one is forced to ask what happened to music and technology, when studying er, music-technology!

3. At your tender age, the work of a recording engineer looks interesting and exciting. Trust me - it ain't! It is work, just like anything else. It is those parts of the industry that are the most boring, that are usually the best paid.

4. The pay is crap - there just is no other way to put it! The most credited engineer of all time (you name 'em and he's recorded them, Stones, Tina, Pavarotti, Genesis, Michael Jackson, I could go on and on, listing almost everybody except Elvis and P. Floyd) lives in an ordinary, rented house. He is a friend of mine and we have known one another since we both had hair! Below him come thousands and thousands of hopefuls, struggling to get to work with just one of the hundreds of 'names' that he can put on his c.v.

5. Other careers are also very interesting - but career teachers at school have very little idea of what goes on in the real World. They think of retail as being shelf-stacking, when it is one of the most interesting careers you can get and offers some of the best opportunities for travel and international postings. Everything from economics to engineering is what you make of it.

6. Business is still the most interesting and exciting career choice of all - and offers real chances, as opposed to silly illusions, as does the music industry. When I am not a studio owner, I run a business - in that role, I get to solve real problems and talk to real people with real budgets. Then I go into the studio and have to explain to some totally impecunious berk, that two drum kits, both very badly played, on a recording is a silly idea.

7. If you are not academically inclined (and the incorrect grammar in your postings would suggest that!) then how about doing an engineering subject (metallurgy, electrical engineering, building tech., etc.) at tech college, doing the old ONC to HND route?

8. Right now, there are more opportunities for young people than at any other time in history. Please don't throw away your future on a path to nowhere, gaining a qualification that only serves to do harm!

Ignore Red. Follow your dreams. Burn in glory, die in flames.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby jellyjim » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:31 am

jellyjim wrote:
Mash wrote:failed musicians

What exactly is a failed musician? Where exactly in your little sandpit do you draw that particular line? Which side of it are you on and why? Can you play like Coltrane or compose like Mozart?

Context: The assumption teachers of any kind are failed anythings. Am I a teacher? No. We don't value education in this country and it's shameful.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Nutshell Cavities » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:00 am

Well let's not be too unkind to "failed" musicians, eh? After all, there are far, far more failed muso's than there are successful ones, a point often overlooked. Mash's heartwarming tale of knocking on doors and surfing on sofas will no doubt translate well to the silver screen when his bestselling autobiography is turned into a film - but in the meantime, how many people go to live in London with a bag of dreams and a toothbrush, and end up going nowhere? Not exactly a high-odds career strategy.

I know a lawyer who is a "failed" musician. I'm ****ing failure myself - as a musician. But what of my success? Funk that, obviously. It matters not whether a teacher is a "failed muso" - but whether he's a success as a teacher. They're two entirely different skillsets.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby blue manga » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:12 am

Todo :

Image

HTH.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby * User requested deletion * » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:13 pm

Nutshell Cavities wrote:Ah, here he is. Ok, who had "42 hours" in the "How long it takes Red Bladder to **** on this young man's dreams" sweepstake?

A tad out of order there Nutshell if you don't mind me saying. I for one appreciate Red dispensing this sound advice. We are fortunate to have such esteemed industry pros moving among us and the newbie should be thankful for the reality check. Perhaps, when he is succesful in retail in several years time, he will look back on this as a defining moment. Perhaps he may even write a short essay entitled "Bladdered on a Friday Afternoon: The Day Red Changed My Life."
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Guest » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:00 pm

It is good that you get the top pros on 'ere to give their advice...

The thing is that Red is right, and Nutshell is right, everyone's right!

I would like to refer everyone here who is a pro to their youth and to remind them that i bet they never listened to anyone who told them they were wasting their time and to get a proper job because they had no chance and it was all sewn up.

In fact if everyone who had been given that advice had listened to it, all we would have ever had of British popular music would be a collection of highly trained 'jobbing' musicians, engineers in white coats and producers who said "it has to be three minutes long, try it again and cut a few bars off that improv bit, Sid!"

Back when i were a lad it were all highly acomplished musicians playing extremely hard music in fantastically equipped studios. And also a lot of extremely cheesy sort of Butlins fall-outs playing what Micky Most told them.

And everyone said "oh, unless you can play like Jimmy or write like Roger or paradiddle like Carl or arpeggio like Rick, you're wasting your time mate, there's no way anyone will take you seriously and those studios are a grand a day - it's all sewn up."

Yeah, well, heh!!! We may have all but a few got sucked into jet engines, but we soared like eagles.

I'm afraid that what you are actually asking here is "I want to make art, can you please tell me if that's alright?"

No, it's not alright, you have no hope. But i thank god everytime i hear beautiful music or see beautiful pictures or novels or sculptures, or if i fly in an aeroplane or use a telephone - that there are people out there who couldn't give a sh!t about that. They just do it anyway.

What should you do with your life? Do what you like with it i couldn't care less, but if you aren't sure, if you are shaky and the road doesn't feel right then keep away from it and trust your gut.
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Nutshell Cavities » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:06 pm

Wes Bridgford wrote:
Nutshell Cavities wrote:Ah, here he is. Ok, who had "42 hours" in the "How long it takes Red Bladder to **** on this young man's dreams" sweepstake?

A tad out of order there Nutshell if you don't mind me saying. I for one appreciate Red dispensing this sound advice. We are fortunate to have such esteemed industry pros moving among us and the newbie should be thankful for the reality check. Perhaps, when he is succesful in retail in several years time, he will look back on this as a defining moment. Perhaps he may even write a short essay entitled "Bladdered on a Friday Afternoon: The Day Red Changed My Life."

Just to be clear, I think Red's advice is bang on, I'm just having a bit of a chuckle at the fact that he will, without fail, tirelessly repeat the same advice whenever this type of question comes up!
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby blue manga » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:05 pm

Nutshell Cavities wrote:
Wes Bridgford wrote:
Nutshell Cavities wrote:Ah, here he is. Ok, who had "42 hours" in the "How long it takes Red Bladder to **** on this young man's dreams" sweepstake?

A tad out of order there Nutshell if you don't mind me saying. I for one appreciate Red dispensing this sound advice. We are fortunate to have such esteemed industry pros moving among us and the newbie should be thankful for the reality check. Perhaps, when he is succesful in retail in several years time, he will look back on this as a defining moment. Perhaps he may even write a short essay entitled "Bladdered on a Friday Afternoon: The Day Red Changed My Life."

Just to be clear, I think Red's advice is bang on, I'm just having a bit of a chuckle at the fact that he will, without fail, tirelessly repeat the same advice whenever this type of question comes up!

Now now you two .. I dont want you falling out .. best you both sit down to a cup of tea and an Eccles cake to calm down ..
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Re: What todo with my life

Postby PSR » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:48 pm

Jack,

1. Go read electrical and electronic engineering at a big city uni. Does not have to be a great uni. This will a) teach you reality about how the kit works b) take care of the bread and butter. You will be able to get good work with a BSc in engineering.

2. If you can't already - learn to play a mainstream instrument or two (perferably guitar and keyboads) and, more importantly learn to sing. You must develop your ear - this is the most important instrument a sound engineer has. Always protect you hearing from sounds that are too loud - wear earplugs at concerts.

3. Get into a crowd which makes music. Join a band or make friends with people in bands, offer to do their sound, or even roadie for them. This is your get in.

Good Luck.

Sucess in Music is always down to luck. You have to be in the right place at the right time. Try to do this by working out the right place - jump on a bandwaggon if you can.

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Re: What todo with my life

Postby Aftertouch » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:52 am

Dodger, my instincts are that Red's posts were a little harsh, but there are some points to take on board. Yes, I agree that you should forget about a job in a studio. Even if you were lucky, how long will it be before that studio goes the way of the others?

Look at growth industries and routes. Hugh made a good point, get knocking on doors at media city. As a young man, the very fact that you are comfortable using 'text speak' on a forum, whilst annoying some, highlights an advantage you have... Youth! Look at how you can embrace social media to help you get on, seek out opportunities and even new business ideas. This is probably more relevant today than a letter, but that doesn't mean you should ignore traditional approaches.

Finally, unless you want to be an engineer (and I'm talking in the broadest sense), I would ignore advice to study engineering. I could see the argument when there were studio jobs, as it gave you an advantage and a backup plan, but in 2011? Not convinced.
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