Not everyone is cut out to be a music engineer. The music industry is cutthroat industry with a lot of competition. But audio engineering is a very fulfilling career for those who are passionate about music. Music engineering is a career that blends the acoustic beauty of music with the technical aspects of sound optimization into one. So if you are serious about becoming a music engineer, here are some tips on becoming one.
Not everyone is cut out to be a music engineer. The music industry is cutthroat industry with a lot of competition. But audio engineering is a very fulfilling career for those who are passionate about music. Music engineering is a career that blends the acoustic beauty of music with the technical aspects of sound optimizationinto one. So if you are serious about becoming a music engineer, here are some tips on becoming one.
What Exactly Does a Music Engineer Do?
If you are a music engineer, you can bet that you are going to be spending most of your days in the recording studio. Many people confuse music engineers with music producers. They are similar in many aspects; both jobs involve recording, editing, and mixing sound in the studio. They also both work with musicians, arrangers, and talent management. However, this is where the similarities end. The job of a audio engineer is much more technical than that of a producer. Often the music engineer will be the one setting up the microphone, mic the drum kit, manage and arrange the soundboard, and organize the vocals. During recording sessions, the music engineers are the ones that will have to stay on top of the technical side of things in the studio, making sure everything sounds good and making adjustments whenever necessary.
Traits Needed To Be a Successful Music Engineer
There is no doubt that being a music engineer is a tough gig. You are dealing with a lot of people with a lot of money and a lot of expectations. So here are some of the traits you should have if you want to become a successful music engineer:
- · Strong interpersonal skills
- · Be able to pick up little nuances in sound
- · Willingness to do grunt work for quite awhile
- · Ability to work extremely long hours
- · The ability to pay attention to minor details
- · Flexibility in your schedule
Getting the Training
If you ask any music engineer, I am sure they will tell you that getting a job as one requires a lot of time and effort. The chances of becoming a professional are slim, but if you want it enough, you can achieve it. In order to get hired as a music engineer, you must first gather some training and experience in the field. The most basic rudimentary avenue for getting experience as a music engineer is to go to school to specialize in it. Although not necessary, schooling is useful to get formal training and pick up knowledge on how the music industry works. Additionally, recording studios look very favorably at someone with formal education in music recording and engineering. Schools that specialize in music engineering can be found in most cities, or can even be taken online (which requires you to have a soundboard at home), and will give you the necessary experience to prepare yourself for the career. You will learn how to operate the technologies used in a studio, use different kinds of music equipment, and how to run a session. Certain schools even let you work with clients in the studio, which is a valuable experience for trying to find a job.
However, not everyone can afford to go to school for this job. Depending on the location and the school, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2000-$4000 for online schooling or $8000--$18000 for specialized (vocational) schooling in audio engineering. You can even get the experience from going to a traditional four year college, but you will probably end up paying even more for a less focused experience; so if you know that you really want to become a music engineer, the best way do this is through a specialized vocational school. This way you will get the focused coursework that four year schoolings don’t offer, and at a cheaper price tag. You will also get hands on experience with individualized attention that you won’t be able to get with online schooling.
Getting Practical Experience
Once you graduate and know all there is to know about the basics of running a session, it is time for you to get some real world experience. People have started doing this by using YouTube as a means of spreading music, and having their own in-home studio; they gather popular singers and record popular songs to practice, make money, and spread their name around. But honestly, it is not expected for you to have your own in-home studio; in fact, it has only recently become a trend for people to do this. For those of you that want to gather experience, but are no longer in school and have no access to a home studio, you need to search for a PA (production assistant) position in a studio. Now, as a PA you are expected to do the most menial and tedious tasks, but if you do them, the producers will keep you and you will gain experience just by being there. By seeing how a studio is run every day and by helping with the smaller tasks, you are gaining experience in the field and will eventually be given much more important tasks, such as working the mixer or dubbing over a bad section. There will probably be no point in time when you just switch from a “production assistant” to a “production (music) engineer”, but slowly people will hear about your work and start requesting your help, and by then you can consider yourself a true music engineer.
The music industry has a lot more networking involved than many other industries. So if you want to break into the music scene, expect to do a lot of networking just to get your foot in the door and starting at the bottom of the pole. You have to learn to sell yourself and your work. The industry is already competitive enough. Sometimes the degree ,prior experience and neither a professional resume alone won’t land you that dream job. Of course networking won’t do you very much good if you are not good at what you do. So be sure that you have honed your skills and can exceed expectations when the time comes. So in addition to applying via the traditional route (by writing letters), you should also get out there and mingle in the music scene. The music industry is not an industry where you can sit idly for a job, even a basic one. You have to go out there and get it. After you will start to understand everything about this job, you can build a solid CV. For that it is better for you to check some resume examples online.
So that is the general gist of becoming a music engineer. It is hard work breaking into the field and even harder work advancing in your career. But it is definitely worth it if you have the passion for it. There is also a lot of money at the top if you are good at what you do. So go out there and get it. Good luck!
Felix Tarcomnicu has a strong passion for music and all electronic devices. He currently works at Mupso.com