You are here

Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Mr.QW » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:50 am

I would like to hear the opinion of someone who has studied or is studying any Audio course in SAE. I would like to go but is expensive and i don't really know if its worth.
If someone knows any alternative schools it would be greate to know.

Thanks!
Mr.QW
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:11 am

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:43 pm

Every year, our educational system churns out some 12,000 graduates in audio, video and film. In audio and music technology alone, universities are pouring about 3,000 graduates. In film and video, the figure is about three times that.

Those are people with accredited degrees, not the Wysuckie College for the Totally Dumb (i..e some private 'scheme'.)

That is about 12,000 graduates for what is quite literally just a handful of jobs, most of which go to two colleges - music production staff are usually taken from Surrey Uni's 'Tonmeister' course. TV and film tend to limit their new intake to graduates from the National Film and Television School. Stage and live performance also look for techs from LIPA (Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts).

The rest get the crumbs that fall from the table.

The big players, such as the BBC are drawing down on staff as automation and other technical developments kick in and reduce the need for skilled personnel. The days of reel-to-reel tape recorders and Steenbeck editing tables ended over a generation ago. Some of the most sophisticated software for editing film and television, creating computer graphics or editing audio is now either free or available for pennies. Computers are now so powerful that you can buy a 36-core, multi-CPU PC for a few thousand, that can edit 4K film in RAW (i.e. uncompressed) format in real time without even breaking a sweat.

These are exciting times and new opportunities are opening up everywhere we look.

BUT

This flood of humanity that pours from our universities have been told that there are jobs in the media out there. This blatant lie flies in the face of TV, film and radio employing fewer and fewer staff, print is totally on its uppers and the UK recorded music business staggers from one Adele release to the next with almost nothing in between!

Every film studio, production company, recording studio, live sound company and broadcaster gets hundreds and some even thousands of CVs every year. I think Abbey Road, Air and Angel Studios have received a CV from almost every 'Music Technology' graduate out there - yet they just look for Surrey 'Tonmeister' grads. People have even offered us money to work at our studio. That is bonkers!

So the next obvious question is, why do the main players only want graduates from two or three courses and shun the rest?

The reason is simple - those three provide students with a rigorous, thorough and demanding education. The Tonmeister understands IT to the point where he or she can build and trouble-shoot a network. But they also understand orchestration and have to pass a musical audition and be able to sight-read a score. LIPA wants people who already have experience in stage, screen or music. NFTS wants to see a show-reel BEFORE you get in.

And of course, all three demand a high level of academic achievement (i.e. good A-Levels in proper subjects).

The others? Some are sort of OKish, but most are pretty dire! I have seen one university advertise its requirements for Music Technology as "one A-Level, grade D or higher, or equivalent life experience."

In other words, if you are able to talk and are warm and also happen to be able to give us £9,000 p.a., we can waste three years of your life and give you a BA or a BSc that is not only totally worthless, but will have every sane employer slamming the door in your face!

Graduates are therefore given a stark choice of three options -

1. Keep on banging your head against a brick wall, trying to get a start in a business that does not want you, whilst you inadvertently develop a career in shelf-stacking.

2. Give up, throw that 'sheepskin' in the bin and do something completely different.

3. Start your own company, making videos, recording bands, creating that gritty urban drama masterpiece in hi-def, making corporate promos mostly for relatives and for nothing, etc., etc., etc.

Many desperate graduates go for option three. This is where the wind blows colder than anywhere else!

The three big problems are -

1. All the other hopefuls out there looking to sell their services. I think we get an offer to do our business video or similar beast at least once a week.

2. A lack of business acumen and capital. All the things you need to know in order to run a business, like how to build or commission a website that sells, how to run the books, how to do your VAT returns, how to judge a P&L account. How to judge RoI, etc. is totally missing. After all, the graduate did not study business administration!

3. A poor education in their core subject. All these bogus courses do is teach kids how to play with toys. Cameras, software, microphones, lights, all good fun. But no art and design. No study of the classical painters that created the look that a cinematographer is supposed to achieve. No mention anywhere in these courses of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Chiaroscuro or Hopper, despite the fact that nearly all our modern imagery is based on those four painters (and others of course!)

It is quite usual for a graduate of a Music Technology course to be totally unable to read a score or read a circuit diagram - they got a 2:1 in playing with toys, but 'Music Technology' involved neither music, nor technology!

I have come across film graduates that have never done any ADR (i.e. dubbing) sessions and would not know where to begin in conducting such a session (despite the fact that most film dialogue is ADR). As for the technical requirements of the various delivery platforms, or how an Atmos soundtrack is encoded and decoded, or how sound and image is digitally quantified, or even have knowledge of the various aspect ratios, the situation is often that the so-called graduate is totally clueless.

The sad truth is that nearly all these 'sexy' vocational degree courses are just one huge con-job.

12,000 graduates are added to the 12,000 graduates from last year and the 12,000 graduates from the year before that, looking for jobs in one of the 50 recording studios, three film studios, 20 TV studios, or ten live sound companies - none of which need many, if any, staff at all!

And the SEA will take anybody who can pay, so the quality of SEA 'graduates' is significantly lower than most.
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:56 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Chiaroscuro or Hopper, despite the fact that nearly all our modern imagery is based on those four painters (and others of course!)

All good points, but this Mr. Chiaroscuro fellow must be a new up and coming painter, probably brother of Mr Matitadura and cousin of Mr. Prospettiva ;-) :D :D
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2931
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:42 pm

Spot today's goof! Possibly a friend of Tenebroso!

I wrote that lot elsewhere a long time ago and adapted it - I have completely forgotten who I was referring to, though I suspect I fell victim to spelling auto-correction. Kurosawa? Nah, doesn't make sense!

I didn't see get a perspective on Prospettiva, perhaps he was too far away! Matitadura? Never heard of the woman!
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby den83 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:58 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:....The sad truth is that nearly all these 'sexy' vocational degree courses are just one huge con-job.....

I'm not sure I understand. So are you saying it's worth it or not worth it?
den83
Regular
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:28 pm

I think he's saying that if you hope completing the course will lead to a job in a recording studio, you might want to think again...

It is certainly true that the traditional job market for professional audio 'graduates' is very small and hugely competitive, and even if you're successful remuneration is typically very low (at least in comparison to many corporate graduate positions).

Also, the 'technical skills' acquired in these courses are not very transferable to more traditional career paths, which probably makes any fall-back plan less tenable.

And it's a lot of money to spend without a reasonable guarantee of a secure career path ahead... unless you have money to burn and want to spend a year having a great time playing with expensive toys amongst like-minded individuals.

For all those reasons, I've always advocated taking a more academic and traditional engineering qualification that is still recognised and respected and which will open a great many more doors if needed -- Electrical/Electronic engineering, Acoustics, Computer Science, IT, etc... -- but subjects which are still relevant to your audio interests. At least there's a more reasonable chance that your investment will pay off that way and your range of options is far greater.

On the other hand, SAE courses are no doubt great fun, very focused on the specifics of studio work and recording, and you'll get to play with some expensive toys.

Will you learn much that couldn't be obtained from enthusiastic devouring of relevant magazines, books and YT videos, combined with some time making friends and picking their brains at the local studio or PA company and helping out a few times a month? Probably not.

Will it allow you to compete for pro-audio jobs alongside Surrey Tonmeister, LIPA, or NFTS graduates? Again, probably not... although it is true that the cream usually rises, and those with genuine ability and -- just as importantly -- drive, determination and great interpersonal skills -- can do well almost despite the course, rather than because of it.

I guess it comes down to what you want for your money?

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21918
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby den83 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:30 pm

So how much do you reckon somebody would have to find, in total, to fund and complete such a course?

How many years are we looking at here?
den83
Regular
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:41 pm

The SAE compete with standard universities, so its two-year BSc/BA courses cost around £9k a year plus expenses for course books, equipment, visits/trips, and other bits and pieces.

Short courses (days/s weekends etc) are typically around £750 a day, but vary with the specific course and subject.

All the information is available on the SAE website... and many other specialist audio training courses are available from independent commercial suppliers as well as FE colleges and universities.

For £9k a year you could buy a lot of books and hire a lot of specialist one-one tuition, or even hire studio time to practice and develop skills with the aid of the in-house engineer! :-)

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21918
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby den83 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:50 pm

I am fully with RB on this. I can't understand how anyone can contemplate throwing away that sort of dosh on stuff that can be picked up from books/t'internet or SOS! It's like learning how to do a bacon bap or clean gutters. It is info that can be picked up for nothing.

Yes, go and learn some real skillz at a conservatoire or something but why spend dosh on a) something you can learn for free b) something that wastes valuable years and c) something that can't enhance your job prospects because there really aren't any job prospects.

IMO
den83
Regular
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby den83 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:52 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:Every year, our educational system churns out some 12,000 graduates in audio, video and film.

I wonder what percentage of those get jobs in their desired field?

I would surmise something under 0.1%.

What do think RB?
den83
Regular
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:07 pm

den83 wrote:I am fully with RB on this. I can't understand how anyone can contemplate throwing away that sort of dosh on stuff that can be picked up from books/t'internet or SOS! It's like learning how to do a bacon bap or clean gutters. It is info that can be picked up for nothing.

While the basic theory can be easily picked up by reading SOS for a few years, you need to learn about how things sound before you can really start calling yourself a recording engineer/producer or whatever the current term is. There seem to be an awful lot of people out there with some strange ideas about recording because they've read one or two interviews which mention a particular technique and the reader assumes that this technique needs to be used on everything.

So you'll need to find some way of applying your knowledge to practical situations in order to find out what really works. The best way to do this is to spend some time in real studios working with experienced engineers. When I was starting out our band hired an 8 track studio in Bognor to record a couple of songs. I learned more in that day than I would have in 6 months reading. Just things like how to run a session and tricks to sort out a dodgy vocal.

When I started running a commercial studio I welcomed bands bringing in other producers/engineers and it was always good to see how other people approached things.

The big problem with many music technology courses is that the lecturers have learned most of the subject by reading about it. The courses with good lecturers with real experience are the ones that are hard to get onto.

I used to receive half a dozen CV's every week from people who had been on Music Technology courses and the thing that was painfully obvious was that few people had actually done anything outside the course unless it was noodling on synths in their bedroom. The CV was usually just a rehash of the course prospectus.

As Hugh says, if you widen your horizons to include proper engineering courses, you are more likely to gain employable skills. Places like Salford University and Southampton's ISVR run good audio related engineering courses and they have contacts with industry which means that you could end up on a good work placement with the potential of a good job at the end of it.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 7599
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:15 pm

James Perrett wrote:The big problem with many music technology courses is that the lecturers have learned most of the subject by reading about it.

It's worse than that! Many courses seem to run with lecturers who came from the previous year's graduates! :-)

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21918
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby slewin49 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:17 pm

That old saying again eh? Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

Steve
slewin49
Regular
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:00 am

 


Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:41 pm

slewin49 wrote:That old saying again eh? Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

Steve

As someone that works in education (not music tech!), I can say that sometimes (sadly) that is definitely the case. :(

To be fair there are also some great teachers / academics that have great industry experience/ knowledge that move to teaching roles as a way of changing career but still utilising their hard won skills :)

My advice to anyone thinking studying /of becoming a student, go to open days, interviews at as many places as possible and ask questions of any teacher / academics you meet - check they are up to the standard you want to achieve !
User avatar
Jumpeyspyder
Frequent Poster
Posts: 998
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:45 pm

Jumpeyspyder wrote:To be fair there are also some great teachers / academics that have great industry experience/ knowledge that move to teaching roles as a way of changing career, and to work more sociable hours and earn more money... but still utilising their hard won skills :)

Fixed that for you jumpey! :lol:

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21918
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:00 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:...and to work more sociable hours and earn more money... but still utilising their hard won skills
Yes yes yes!!

Lifespan is very poor for touring musicians, I would assume it is the same for crew.

http://theconversation.com/music-to-die ... ancy-36660
User avatar
Tomás Mulcahy
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1660
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Cork, Ireland.
madtheory creations
Soundware Shop

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:04 pm

den83 wrote:
The Red Bladder wrote:Every year, our educational system churns out some 12,000 graduates in audio, video and film.
I wonder what percentage of those get jobs in their desired field?
I would surmise something under 0.1%.
What do you think RB?

You stand a better chance in video and film, as that is a far larger market - but sadly your guestimation is probably about right. Most of those attending the three institutions I mentioned (Surrey Tonmeister, LIPA & NFTS) do get jobs in their chosen field - if they actually want them. Many do not!

They look at the film, TV, theatre and recording scene and realise that it ain't all it's cracked up to be! Nearly all the work in those fields is boring, tedious, repetitive and with little or no chances of promotion or other types of advancement. TV today is the worst of the lot.

In the UK in the 60s and 70s, TV was great, but once it had become a mature industry, the fun went out of it. German private television in the late 80s-early 90s was amazing, because it was starting from scratch. The bosses were up for most goofy ideas, money was pouring in and the teams were nearly all young, keen and eager.

Today, most media is formatted and tightly boxed and none more so than radio with pictures (AKA television) which, like radio without pictures, has fallen into the hands of just three or four companies. It is still run by people who think of television as being radio with pictures. It remains a constant stream of people talking at you.

But back to the topic at hand - SAE and all the other courses of doubtful value -

The situation for graduates of all the other courses is far worse than has been painted in this thread!

It is not just a case of not being able to get a job as a recording engineer at one of Britain's 50-or-so recording studios. We take the impossibility of getting any kind of a career recording music as a given. You will not get any other kind of career going either!

By studying a 'pudding-degree' at a 'pudding college' you are clearly telling the World that you are an idiot, unable to study a real subject at a real university. Your magic diploma, that sheepskin that you hope to proudly hang on the office wall, is what is known in German as an 'Armutszeugnis' - a certificate of poverty!

Media studies, photography, music technology, TV and film - these and other 'studio' based subjects require the candidate to attend one of the handful of key courses around the Planet. There are about ten music technology courses around Planet Earth - one in the US, one in Canada, one in the UK, three in Germany and so on - that are worth attending. The figures for film are about the same - two in the US, one in the UK, one in Germany, one in France and the rest dotted around the World.

Rinse - repeat for all the other 'studio' subjects!

All these vocational degrees in the creative arts are the same. A handful of courses worth attending and the rest, a disaster.

Now imagine you are working in HR at Aldi, Lidl, JCB, Arnold Clark, Lloyds Bank, or any other large employer and you are reading through the CVs for the graduate trainee programme. At Aldi, that is £44k plus a company car as a first year trainee and £70k+ after four years training. As the song goes "Nice work if you can get it!"

As HR Director at Aldi, you are looking for a 2:1 in proper academic subjects - so you will put all the goof-ball degree graduates into file 13. Wilderness studies, surfing, golf-course management, racial awareness, Canadian studies, floral arts, bakery and bagpipe playing all fly like tweetie-birds into the big metal tin labelled 'File Thirteen'.

And yes, they are closely followed by Music Technology, Film, Photography, Media Studies and all the other non-subjects from former polytechnics and private schools.

My studio provides full time employment for three people, inc. myself. All three studied and our subjects were Economics (BSc, LSE), Business Studies (BA, Trier Uni) and Music (MA, Bangor Uni) - not a single 'Music Technology' anywhere to be seen. It's just not a proper university subject.

It is a skill you pick up on the side!

So my 30 cents worth to the OP - if you want that skill, well, rocket science, it am not! Go out and buy a decent PC, a Focusrite Octopre and some mics and download Reaper and get cracking. Record your mates and have some fun!

In the mean time, study a real subject at a real university - that way, you stand a real chance of getting a real job and building a real career!
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby jrbcm » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:11 pm

I remember we were having these conversations here ten years ago.

The difference now, is that when I look around at friends and family, I see unbelievable levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues in twenty-somethings - many of whom were bright kids with loads of potential. But these mickey-mouse qualifications have really messed up their lives. And nobody seems to have made the connection at a political level with our low national levels of productivity either.

Seems obvious to me that some system of funding of tuition fees for useful/needed subjects (to students with good grades) and zero funding for mickey-mouse subjects is the answer..
jrbcm
Regular
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby slewin49 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:45 pm

I blame it (and a lot more) on Tony Blair. His aim to get 50% of young people into university resulted in anywhere that "yoof" went calling itself a university and any old thing they studied being a called some variety of degree. I was half surprised that our local "disco" wasn't renamed a university with degrees in terpsichoreanism, beverage consumption, psychopharmacology etc.

One real problem that this caused was a deluge of people who really believed that as they had some theoretical knowledge and a degree in what should be a practical subject they were entitled to a job. It's not just music, it applies even to things like nursing, but I guess music is the one we know best.

Steve
slewin49
Regular
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:00 am

 


Re: Studying in SAE Institute (Liverpool) it's worth?

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:04 pm

There is an interesting article in this week's 'Economist' on the quality of universities in the UK. Basically, the more selective the Uni, the more the graduates earn in later life. The actual quality of the tuition seems to have limited effect on future earnings.

Here is a short part of that article -

Most of the differences in median earnings can be explained by just two factors: how selective a university is and what subjects their students choose to study there. Once these are accounted for, graduates’ wages are remarkably predictable. Differences in entry tariffs, as defined by UCAS points mostly earned in exams taken at 18, account for nearly 70% of the variation in median earnings. Swots from Cambridge, the most selective university in Britain, earn almost £40,000 a year on average five years after graduating. Their peers at Bedfordshire, the country’s least-selective institution, make only half as much.

Subjects which include some element of maths are well-rewarded. Our analysis finds that the five fields with the highest salaries are medicine, veterinary science, economics, engineering and mathematics. By contrast, creative arts, agriculture and communications graduates earn the least. There is a big difference between top earners and poorer ones. After half a decade, medicine and dentistry graduates earn £47,000 a year on average; creative-arts graduates just £20,000.

Encouraging more students to sign up for maths-related degrees may be hard. One problem is that schools in Britain produce few maths whizzes compared with those in other countries, says Anna Vignoles, an economist at Cambridge. Portsmouth, which tops our rankings, provides remedial maths and literacy catch-ups for those needing them. Another difficulty is that universities are not allowed to vary their prices by subject, which means they have little incentive to nudge students towards courses like engineering or science, since it is cheaper to teach the humanities.

Alison Wolf, an economist at King’s College London, worries that today’s financing system means the number of low-quality courses will grow. A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think-tank, found that funding per student for humanities and business courses has increased by 47% since the reforms of 2012, whereas for laboratory sciences it has risen by just 19%. Yet although some business graduates earn a fortune, there is a large gap between those from higher- and lower-ranked universities. For instance, graduates who study economics and management at Oxford, the most lucrative course according to our data, can expect to be earning three times as much as their contemporaries at the least-selective universities five years after they leave.

So once again, I find myself repeating the simple statement, if a course of study is easy to enter, it is not only not worth doing, but including it on your CV may actually hinder your job prospects, compared to no qualification at all.
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users