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Author Topic: audio schools.....a commentary of observation  (Read 7739 times)

j.hall

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audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« on: August 23, 2010, 04:42:32 pm »

so, i recently hired an assistant.  fresh out of a 4-year bachelor's degree in audio engineering from a local nashville college.  smart kid, keeps his mouth shut, knows that he "knows nothing", and works pretty hard when i need him.  the thing is, this very expensive school didn't seem to put much value in teaching pro tools.  when he told me he "didn't really know it that well", i was kind of expecting him to be telling me new key commands i didn't already know....... i was soon picking my jaw up off the floor in realizing he wasn't being modest, he was being honest......

this is, in my mind, no fault of his own.  he's a quick learner and we're doing fine on our end.  however, i can't begin to understand how this could be possible.  i've begged him to ask for a portion of his tuition back......

i realize that PT isn't the only game out there, but let's all be honest, it is the most widely used in the "professional" audio world.

my only comment when he asks me what key command i just hit to do something is, "UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!"

is this an isolated occurrence?  i certainly hope other schools are teaching something useful....

oh, he can align a tape machine......i mean boat anchor......i mean.....
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Fibes

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 05:00:36 pm »

In all my years I've had one good grad.

The rest have been self important, know it all, late showing up, big mouthed jack asses.

All of 'em knew PT better than me. Smile

More importantly none of them (except one) could prove worthwhile in a studio.

Everyone here is now self taught or coming out from under my wing.



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KB_S1

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 05:21:02 pm »

I go back and do some teaching at my old Uni sometimes.

Pro Tools is the default system. When I designed and delivered a module last year to 2nd year students I tried to spend as little time teaching PT as possible.
I wanted the little class time (3hrs pw) we had to be used for discussing aesthetics, production methodology, microphone technique and so on.
I did however insist that they were able to achieve certain tasks within PT and they had to learn that in their own time. I setup an online group forum so that they could contact me with questions and I provided plenty of supporting material for them.

I see PT as the equivalent of a journalists word processor package.
It doesn't make the content good but it makes life a lot easier if you can work it brilliantly.
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compasspnt

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 07:22:42 pm »

If he was taught good analogue basics, he can relate to Protools, and learn it rather quickly, as that's what it was designed to replicate (in the beginning at least).

If he learned ONLY Protools, he might not know why he is doing some things. If he didn't learn good analogue basics, he may be in a bit of trouble...
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Adam Miller

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 07:23:53 pm »

To be honest, I'm not sure there's a huge amount of value in just teaching students key commands. Maybe workflows and file management discipline, but I'd say the onus is really on the individual students to learn the operational details of a program in their own time.

However, it is the responsibility of a course to accurately reflect the equipment that's out there in the real world- so maybe they didn't impress upon him the importance of PT as being head and shoulders above any other format in the recording world.
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nCole

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 07:55:05 pm »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 23 August 2010 15:42


is this an isolated occurrence?  i certainly hope other schools are teaching something useful....



i know of this program that, as of last year, went something like this:

one semester basic class (met 2x/week for three hours) which included such activities as memorizing the names of mics (and if they had a pad, LC or pattern control), sitting in a conference room reading from a textbook, learning how to format a tape for a DTRS, how to get a signal to the DTRS and/or pro tools.

the rest of the recording portion of the recording degree are independent studies. you can see where they are lacking...

might as well forget about PT shortcuts, let's see if we can get the mic to work first. i wonder who gets the interns from there?
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CWHumphrey

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 02:09:55 am »

I teach and I have to tell you that even though students see me using quick key commands all the time and I give that info out freely, so few actually apply it.

Case in point.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone click "OK" with the mouse when it's highlighted and all they have to do is hit return.  

For that matter, I mention markers almost every day, and yet so few cue points actually get laid into sessions.

I've resigned myself to the fact that in the real world, when the heat is on, they'll either figure out how to move fast or they won't (several impatient people I've worked for come to mind).

School can't teach common sense!

Cheers,
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j.hall

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 03:51:24 pm »

maybe i placed to much emphasis on key commands.  i don't care about specific key command knowledge.  i'm surprised how little he knows about pro tools in general.

like i said, he's a smart kid, and i'm sure all this will work out for him, i just think in general he paid for something from the mindset of it helping him to be a "step" ahead of those that decide not to.

his analog practices are good....
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Josh McArdle

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 04:14:40 pm »

Hmm...at LIPA our first year has included a LOT of Pro Tools stuff. In the first term we did a module called Desktop Audio, which was split into two sections - one of them being MIDI in all of its glory and the other was basically a Pro Tools course. At no point were we taught key commands (I learnt the easy way - by reading the key commands list and using them!) but we were taught a fair bit about how Pro Tools works and why it came about. I think if you have access to Pro Tools wherever you're studying you should be more than competent after 4 years, regardless of whether or not it's your DAW of choice.

That said, if he's good at everything else it doesn't take long to train someone up on PT...
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Ryan G

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 04:46:03 pm »

I agree on this.  I don't think the 'how' you use PT is as important as the 'ease' at which you can use it.  Just like in anything else, everyone's work flow is different.  I love the multi-tool;  Some people hate it.  Doesn't really matter as long as it is efficient for you.  We've all worked for people that are slugs at PT and sometimes you just want to punch them, or is that just me.  If you want to be competitive in a big market it is a skill set that you need; although it is certainly not required to make great records.
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j.hall

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2010, 10:01:48 pm »

here's the short of it, at least what i personally think should be "graduate" level PT knowledge.

1.  beat detective.  you might not be a "master", but i certainly expect you to know what it is, how it works, how to work it, and be comfortable doing so.

1a.  a complete bonus is someone that can beat detect on the tuplet feel.

2.  comping multiple takes of things into one "take" without clicks and pops and/or bad edits.  when i ask this of someone i ALWAYS give them a road map.  i.e. my notes on what takes i liked as i heard them.  

3.  fixing timing problems.  i.e. acoustic guitar is a touch off in one bar, i expect an assistant to know how to fix that.  there are a few different ways of doing it, and i couldn't care less which is used as long as it sounds right.

4.  working with samples.  a basic understanding of the implementation of drum samples.

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Eric H.

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2010, 01:28:29 pm »

In audio school, ths most I learned was shortkeys in pro tools and digital editing.
Beat detective had not appeared yet and samples...well it wasn't really cheap so..
Also learned analog console workflow, especially in in-line desks.
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eric harizanos

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2010, 10:09:56 am »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 21:01

here's the short of it, at least what i personally think should be "graduate" level PT knowledge.

1.  beat detective.  you might not be a "master", but i certainly expect you to know what it is, how it works, how to work it, and be comfortable doing so.

1a.  a complete bonus is someone that can beat detect on the tuplet feel.

2.  comping multiple takes of things into one "take" without clicks and pops and/or bad edits.  when i ask this of someone i ALWAYS give them a road map.  i.e. my notes on what takes i liked as i heard them.

3.  fixing timing problems.  i.e. acoustic guitar is a touch off in one bar, i expect an assistant to know how to fix that.  there are a few different ways of doing it, and i couldn't care less which is used as long as it sounds right.

4.  working with samples.  a basic understanding of the implementation of drum samples.





I think one of the best things I've ever done for myself was to buy my own PT rig, even if it was just a 002r. It allowed me to work at home, practice on whatever multitrack sessions i could get my hands on, (IMP's, etc.) and work out the kinks in my brain BEFORE a real session. I cant tell you how many times I've mixed and remixed and edited songs even though there was no client involved, just to try and get it perfect.

At the school I went to (NEIA in Boston) there was heavy emphasis on PT shortkeys and work flow. But, It's almost impossible to teach an Audio Production student how to act and work comfortably with a client. This has to come from making a dumbass of yourself a couple times, and learning your own personal "work flow". An experienced engineer can really move the session along, and work without anyone noticing hold-ups or confusion.

I agree - some students just dont get it. Good, more room for me. J - sounds like you got a good one! And I am sure he will learn a lot from you. Your expectations dont seem over the top.

CWHumphrey wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 01:09



For that matter, I mention markers almost every day, and yet so few cue points actually get laid into sessions.

I've resigned myself to the fact that in the real world, when the heat is on, they'll either figure out how to move fast or they won't (several impatient people I've worked for come to mind).

School can't teach common sense!



+1 to that!

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j.hall

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2010, 01:44:55 pm »

honestly, i think my personal hang up circles around me feeling like my expectations are rather low.  audio schools have never really generated much of an opinion for me as i've had no experience with their grads other then my own personal story.  

it just makes me think that the instructors have very little real world experience themselves, so they ultimately are creating a graduating class of ill-prepared kids.  to which some percentage of those kids actually do have "what it takes", they are now further behind then if they had skipped college and just grabbed the best internship they could find.....

it's a tricky balance, i get that.
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tiller

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2010, 04:38:34 pm »

Hi,

New here, so I will keep the comments brief. This particular topic hits home with me as I am a student of an "audio school" and have perhaps a little different perspective on the PT training.

My school does not spend ANY time whatsoever explicitly teaching PT workflow, and I don't see that that is a problem at all. As a matter of fact I feel that it is a good thing. The reason why I think it is beneficial is because the time we spend at school is almost entirely made up of running sessions (both in class settings as well as independent work). We are not given a course in PT because it is assumed that we will be teaching it to ourselves over the course of running our own sessions. If at the end of the degree (MMus) you can't get around in PT, then you obviously haven't been doing any work at all! That or your sessions have been going VERY badly and you still haven't realized why, haha!

In a nutshell, I think this type of approach is more beneficial to the one of directed courses on PT workflow. We are just thrown into the deep end -- sink or swim. That said, most, if not all, of us are proficient in PT before starting the degree. But those that aren't learn very, very quickly. It is a practical sort of learning as opposed to the "college" approach of being told about techniques or reading about techniques. When  you hit a brick wall and you figure out the problem on your own, in the heat of the moment, the solution is a lot more likely to stick with you than if you had just read it in a book and forgot about it two minutes after lunch.

So if you asked me or one of my colleagues if we did courses on PT, the answer would be "No". But I would put down a $20 that we could run PT circles around some of the college grads who spent a semester reading about PT but never actually ran a session.

Anyway, just my completely unsubstantiated, entirely obvious, two-cents worth! Smile

Adam
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Eric H.

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2010, 05:26:40 pm »

In any way, audio schools have a very dubious purpose.
Like some has said here at different times, it is much more efficient to find a mentor.
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eric harizanos

Tomas Danko

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2010, 07:00:02 am »

Apropos PT short cuts, I tend to always forget them.

I deal with several DAW systems at work, and a lot of times we need to figure out what we need to do for a certain task within a project and evaluate all systems to see which one will give us the best and most efficient work flow.

This includes figuring out how to automate certain operations as well as finding short cuts that will do the job. It's not unusual that I get a programming engineer to add a function to the DAW or hack something together for me.


PT is often not the optimal platform, other times it is the least bad one. When I'm finally doing work in PT I learn all the short cuts I need for the project and become super-fast while working away.

Next time I'm using PT for something else I've already forgotten half of it, but then again there's a new task in front of me which requires new ways to do things.


In other words, I tend to get away with reading up on PT short cuts and behaviours just before it's time to do some serious work. I realize you can't get away with it should you work as a DAW jockey and PT operator in a commercial studio.


The last couple of days I've only been using 3 and 0 on the numerical key pad, option+c and command+s. Smile

Cheers,

Danko
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Daniel Farris

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2010, 12:09:33 pm »

My girlfriend has a bachelor's degree in music technology. She's incredibly smart and capable of absolutely anything if properly motivated.

However, most of what they taught her was completely out of date *while* they were teaching it to her, and completely useless six months after that.

DF
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DCombs

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2010, 01:21:22 pm »

i went to IPR in minneapolis. it was a very well equipped school, although since the gear is in constant use it breaks down frequently.

for me, i had to learn how to get through pro tools, but since i work better in reaper than i do in pt, i didn't put an emphasis on it. i wish i knew more about pt, but it's not really available to me either.

all in all, i think it's better for someone to learn while working on the job. so maybe it's better, j, that you found some one who is lacking in those skill sets. i say that because i believe that you will be able to show him order of operations that you believe to be important to your work. learning real world flow is far better than taking a pointless class that you have to pay out the ass. ps. pt classes were extra money because the bastards at digi make you pay to take your certification test, even though you already payed ($300 for me) to take the class...ftw?

IPR was good, but i would be only willing to pay half tuition. tuition was $44,000.
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audio~geek

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2010, 07:19:07 pm »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 21:01

here's the short of it, at least what i personally think should be "graduate" level PT knowledge.

1.  beat detective.  you might not be a "master", but i certainly expect you to know what it is, how it works, how to work it, and be comfortable doing so.

1a.  a complete bonus is someone that can beat detect on the tuplet feel.

2.  comping multiple takes of things into one "take" without clicks and pops and/or bad edits.  when i ask this of someone i ALWAYS give them a road map.  i.e. my notes on what takes i liked as i heard them.  

3.  fixing timing problems.  i.e. acoustic guitar is a touch off in one bar, i expect an assistant to know how to fix that.  there are a few different ways of doing it, and i couldn't care less which is used as long as it sounds right.

4.  working with samples.  a basic understanding of the implementation of drum samples.



This stuff was definitely covered by my school Metalworks Institute (Canada). Our third semester of PT classes focused on Beat detective and Autotune.
I think it's kinda weird he doesn't know that stuff after a year of school.
It all comes with practice though. I didn't get really good at Beat detective until people started sending me drums to clean up.

When I interned my PT skills didn't matter. Any time I solved a problem for the engineer it seemed like I was showing off somehow.
Here's an example - band was used to a certain kind of metronome sound. The standard PT clicks didn't work because they wanted something with a tone that was longer. The guys getting paid had no clue what to do. I suggested signal generator and gate sidechained to the click. Exactly what the band wanted and I was told I wasn't allowed in the session the next day. Embarassed

NelsonL

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2010, 07:54:23 am »

audio~geek wrote on Sat, 02 October 2010 16:19

j.hall wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 21:01

here's the short of it, at least what i personally think should be "graduate" level PT knowledge.

1.  beat detective.  you might not be a "master", but i certainly expect you to know what it is, how it works, how to work it, and be comfortable doing so.

1a.  a complete bonus is someone that can beat detect on the tuplet feel.

2.  comping multiple takes of things into one "take" without clicks and pops and/or bad edits.  when i ask this of someone i ALWAYS give them a road map.  i.e. my notes on what takes i liked as i heard them.  

3.  fixing timing problems.  i.e. acoustic guitar is a touch off in one bar, i expect an assistant to know how to fix that.  there are a few different ways of doing it, and i couldn't care less which is used as long as it sounds right.

4.  working with samples.  a basic understanding of the implementation of drum samples.



This stuff was definitely covered by my school Metalworks Institute (Canada). Our third semester of PT classes focused on Beat detective and Autotune.
I think it's kinda weird he doesn't know that stuff after a year of school.
It all comes with practice though. I didn't get really good at Beat detective until people started sending me drums to clean up.

When I interned my PT skills didn't matter. Any time I solved a problem for the engineer it seemed like I was showing off somehow.
Here's an example - band was used to a certain kind of metronome sound. The standard PT clicks didn't work because they wanted something with a tone that was longer. The guys getting paid had no clue what to do. I suggested signal generator and gate sidechained to the click. Exactly what the band wanted and I was told I wasn't allowed in the session the next day. Embarassed


Did you share your idea with the engineer privately, or announce it in front of the entire room?

Keeping things running smoothly relies heavily on the band maintaining absolute confidence in the engineer. When that starts to erode it's really no fun for anybody.

Which doesn't mean you were treated right either.
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Nicky D

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2010, 10:57:07 am »

Coming up with a click idea...which sounds clunky to me anyway  (what's wrong with a keyboard patch with a bar loop?)...is not an eyebrow raiser....for me it would be "sure...you set that up and then get 6 lattes with cinnamon, sugar and extra cream on the side please".

If that embarrassed your engineer, then there is a problem...if however someone is always speaking out of turn and making suggestions how "they would do it differently"...then there is no use for them is there?
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TRJanuary

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2010, 02:38:12 am »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 21:01

here's the short of it, at least what i personally think should be "graduate" level PT knowledge.

1.  beat detective.  you might not be a "master", but i certainly expect you to know what it is, how it works, how to work it, and be comfortable doing so.

1a.  a complete bonus is someone that can beat detect on the tuplet feel.

2.  comping multiple takes of things into one "take" without clicks and pops and/or bad edits.  when i ask this of someone i ALWAYS give them a road map.  i.e. my notes on what takes i liked as i heard them.  

3.  fixing timing problems.  i.e. acoustic guitar is a touch off in one bar, i expect an assistant to know how to fix that.  there are a few different ways of doing it, and i couldn't care less which is used as long as it sounds right.

4.  working with samples.  a basic understanding of the implementation of drum samples.




Haha, so there is something lower than a turd-polisher.  A turd-polisher's apprentice ??
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Fig

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2010, 11:42:08 am »

J.

If I had to learn PT shortcuts in audio school - I'd be pissed and want my money back.  I can understand an elective called "navigating ProTools and other software environments" or something, but...

An audio education must include frequency, amplitude, HEARING, critical listening (no its not the same thing!), equipment OVERVIEWS, acoustics and lots of laboratory time employing mic techniques, signal processing and yes... calibration of the systems required to capture such electromagnetic disturbances faithfully.

It shouldn't matter what the media is, the fundamentals of audio have been the same since we could hear and will likely not change any faster than the fundamentals of say, gravity.

I'll take an assistant that can cal a tape machine and keep his mouth shut over ANY amount of software knowledge in ANY virtual environment.

You hired him and you expected HIM to teach you a trick or two?
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Adam Miller

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2010, 01:51:07 pm »

TRJanuary wrote on Mon, 11 October 2010 07:38



Haha, so there is something lower than a turd-polisher.


An unemployed graduate?
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j.hall

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2010, 01:07:59 pm »

Fig wrote on Tue, 12 October 2010 10:42



I'll take an assistant that can cal a tape machine and keep his mouth shut over ANY amount of software knowledge in ANY virtual environment.



tape?  what's that?

Quote:



You hired him and you expected HIM to teach you a trick or two?


nope!  i expect him to do, what i consider simple tasks, without me taking time away from forward progress to teach him how to do these things.
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J T

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2010, 07:31:57 pm »

I didn't go to Audio School. I had no Pro Tools experience. Then I took an outstanding training class and came out of it with Pro Tools Certification from Digi. Not everyone who started that class finished it.

Now when I sit in front of those two screens with a session I hardly ever have to think about "Well How do I do that?". I just do it. It's turned into a reflex, I think. If you do it enough it becomes second nature. Ummm That's scary. Sorry.

I'm not sure what a lot of those School programs are concentrating on, but I think experience might be the best teacher in most cases.
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bjornson

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Re: audio schools.....a commentary of observation
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2010, 08:46:14 pm »

audio~geek wrote on Sun, 03 October 2010 00:19

j.hall wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 21:01

here's the short of it, at least what i personally think should be "graduate" level PT knowledge.

1.  beat detective.  you might not be a "master", but i certainly expect you to know what it is, how it works, how to work it, and be comfortable doing so.

1a.  a complete bonus is someone that can beat detect on the tuplet feel.

2.  comping multiple takes of things into one "take" without clicks and pops and/or bad edits.  when i ask this of someone i ALWAYS give them a road map.  i.e. my notes on what takes i liked as i heard them.  

3.  fixing timing problems.  i.e. acoustic guitar is a touch off in one bar, i expect an assistant to know how to fix that.  there are a few different ways of doing it, and i couldn't care less which is used as long as it sounds right.

4.  working with samples.  a basic understanding of the implementation of drum samples.



This stuff was definitely covered by my school Metalworks Institute (Canada). Our third semester of PT classes focused on Beat detective and Autotune.
I think it's kinda weird he doesn't know that stuff after a year of school.
It all comes with practice though. I didn't get really good at Beat detective until people started sending me drums to clean up.


Going to school to learn beat detective and autotune......
I'm speechless.
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