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Author Topic: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???  (Read 5457 times)

breathe

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"Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« on: November 24, 2010, 07:38:51 pm »

If "recording schools" these days are just rooms filled with 50 computers each with their own M-Box, is this teaching a marketable skill when every kid with an interest in music production already has this equipment at home?  What is "marketable skills" in this industry anymore?  Is anyone actually making music in the old style professional studios or is it all basically home studios now?  I had a Domino's pizza delivered last night and the delivery guy inquired about a record I had pinned to the wall behind me and I mentioned I had recorded it and he immediately started telling me about his progressive rock project so I decided to show him my control room and when he came in he looked at my "Muscle Shoals" MCI mixer like I had reanimated John Lennon or something.  He totally freaked out and I don't deserve that kind of accolade, like, I don't deserve to be immediately associated with some hyperreal-ized nostalgic notion of a past era's greatness, but I think even with or perhaps more so because of the proliferation of "virtual" vintage processing, a studio that actually has like physical objects in the room that process audio, like objects that aren't some graphic design on a computer monitor, it has this basically religious aura to it, and anyone who likes a style of music which isn't dependent on the most modern digital technology (i.e. is performed with human hands and throats) immediately connects to the presence of actual equipment.  I really feel like it's becoming a black and white issue, because, if you take a post-modern look at it, all this glut of recordings being made processed by software emulations of "classic" analog hardware, it's creating an entire aesthetic era of "fake vintage", and EVERYONE knows that.  Reality is disappearing, because (according to Jean Baudrillard) the thrill of the "Ecstasy of Communication" has overcome the "Theater of Alienation".  Complexity itself is being violently eroded by the promise of an answer to every question by Google, where soon there will be no more nuance of the spirit bewildered by what could only be called God.  I am so thrilled to live in the era that I am living in, but I am also so glad to be able to afford to take a non-traditional approach to creating art that I devote my life to, and to have fellowship with so many (older) men who can enable me with their time-worn knowledge as they live desperately on the last hinge of any hope that the dream that set the direction of their careers is still valid, is still important towards realizing some physical manifestation of a truth we can believe in and cherish.

Nicholas




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tom eaton

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 08:02:30 pm »

You know what?  I've stopped ordering from Dominos because I can never decide whether the mushrooms are right or not.  I asked the delivery guy one time and he was all like "I don't make the damn things" and since I was in that Dunkin Donuts kitchen I've just never felt the same.  And that goes for burgers, too.  And then I'm like, fast compared to what?  

People still go to museums, Nicholas.  That's where they keep the history of stuff that was part of great events.  The mistake is to attribute the greatness to the tools.  Do you care about the brushes Van Gogh used?  The paints?  Does your ignorance of those things impact your ability to be moved by the art that he created using them?

No one cares about "fake vintage"... all that matters is whether what comes out of the speakers turns you on the way you want to be turned on at that particular moment.  End of story.

t

Podgorny

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 08:20:52 pm »

tom eaton wrote on Wed, 24 November 2010 19:02

And then I'm like, fast compared to what?




Fast compared to how long it normally takes food to pass through you.



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"Nobody cares what the impedance is; all they care about is when you can walk into the room, set up a mic, turn the knobs, hit record, and make everybody go 'wow.'"

breathe

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 09:33:20 pm »

All you need you to do is realize I am a genius.  At writing PSW posts.  That are really engaging and entertaining.  You can take the recording/mixing engineer lifetime achievement award when the time comes.  THAT being said, I STILL REALLY FEEL like the entire industry has been swept into thinking that plug-ins are "just as good" as actual hardware, and I don't believe the audience is so blind as to not notice the difference between "virtual" and "physical".  The word "real" is really fucked up because when someone uses it, like MTV's "The Real World", you don't know what the fuck they're talking about.  In that specific example it must mean filling a house with people who are destined to get into bitter fights with each other about the most banal disagreements.  Or Jerry Springer, and in that case it's basically going "way back" to the era of entertainment when criminals were thrown into an arena with a hungry lion.  "REAL" doesn't mean shit because as long as the resonance of the word is contingent upon a subjective cathartic experience, you just can't apply it across the board.  That being said, I, as an egotistical nitwit, wants to feel happy if not proud that I have invested so much money and time into a studio built around "physical" implementations of sound processing technology.  And as frustrating as this situation is to work with, the little crumbs my studio throws me as affirmation that I am doing the right thing, and it is taking a hell of a long time to get it all working, but I am waiting for that "Money Shot" where WIND, like actual WIND is coming from my studio monitors and it's blowing back my hair which I am growing out and I raise my arms in "Hallelujah!" as the true sound of uninhibited human passion comes forth, and I can feel TRULY RIGHTEOUS that I have sacrificed, in a way not dissimilar to Jesus Christ, towards the physical manifestation in an inherently reproducible form, the essence of the human spirit.  Furthering THAT is my goal, and dammit, GOD is on my fucking side.

Nicholas




tom eaton wrote on Wed, 24 November 2010 17:02

You know what?  I've stopped ordering from Dominos because I can never decide whether the mushrooms are right or not.  I asked the delivery guy one time and he was all like "I don't make the damn things" and since I was in that Dunkin Donuts kitchen I've just never felt the same.  And that goes for burgers, too.  And then I'm like, fast compared to what?  

People still go to museums, Nicholas.  That's where they keep the history of stuff that was part of great events.  The mistake is to attribute the greatness to the tools.  Do you care about the brushes Van Gogh used?  The paints?  Does your ignorance of those things impact your ability to be moved by the art that he created using them?

No one cares about "fake vintage"... all that matters is whether what comes out of the speakers turns you on the way you want to be turned on at that particular moment.  End of story.

t

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jrmintz

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2010, 01:14:36 pm »

breathe wrote on Wed, 24 November 2010 19:38

What is "marketable skills" in this industry anymore?  Is anyone actually making music in the old style professional studios or is it all basically home studios now?

Nicholas




A lot of people, largely older people with a great deal of experience are asking themselves these same questions. Wish I had the answers.
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CWHumphrey

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2010, 04:03:37 pm »

breathe wrote on Wed, 24 November 2010 18:33

and I can feel TRULY RIGHTEOUS that I have sacrificed, in a way not dissimilar to Jesus Christ, towards the physical manifestation in an inherently reproducible form, the essence of the human spirit.  Furthering THAT is my goal, and dammit, GOD is on my fucking side.

Nicholas




Amazing.

Cheers,
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Carter William Humphrey

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meverylame

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2010, 04:28:14 pm »

breathe wrote on Wed, 24 November 2010 19:38

 When he came in he looked at my "Muscle Shoals" MCI mixer like I had reanimated John Lennon or something.  He totally freaked out and I don't deserve that kind of accolade, like, I don't deserve to be immediately associated with some hyperreal-ized nostalgic notion of a past era's greatness, but I think even with or perhaps more so because of the proliferation of "virtual" vintage processing, a studio that actually has like physical objects in the room that process audio, like objects that aren't some graphic design on a computer monitor, it has this basically religious aura to it, and anyone who likes a style of music which isn't dependent on the most modern digital technology (i.e. is performed with human hands and throats) immediately connects to the presence of actual equipment.

 

Unfortunately I think beyond the layer hyper-intellectualism really lies the fact that people are impressed by things. In particular things that seem unattainable to them. Of course a kid is more wowed by a console than say the waves helios plugin. He can go pirate the plugin when he gets home. If he's working at dominos I'm guessing he's not saving his shekels for a MCI desk. Though simultaneously, he probably wouldn't have been more impressed if you had say, a Neve 8068, even though its a vastly superior console.
Simultaneously I would tend to think that you (and we all are at some point and time) are just as guilty of finding an inherent value in a tool based upon its vintage or history, based upon the fact that you incessantly refer to your console as the "Muscle Shoals" MCI, not just a MCI JH-416. Which is fine. Muscle Shoals was rad. I would do the same thing, though its ultimately somewhat important, excepting that its more broken that most other MCIs. Its music, we're fans! You gotta be to this.

breathe wrote on Wed, 24 November 2010 19:38


I really feel like it's becoming a black and white issue, because, if you take a post-modern look at it, all this glut of recordings being made processed by software emulations of "classic" analog hardware, it's creating an entire aesthetic era of "fake vintage", and EVERYONE knows that.  
Nicholas


Unfortunately again, you're talking about the gear, not a production style, because I guarantee you that having API plugins across a drum sound comprised 18 microphones, its not going to be vintage sound. Though I've heard guys that are REAL good at making stuff sound of a certain vintage using software, but more importantly the way they produced was just in a way that would be like an older methodology. Which ultimately that's always, in recent history, been the way that music has progressed. Steal it from 2 generations back. Make it yours. Any who.. Happy Thanksgiving man.
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Jason Kingsland

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Barry Hufker

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2010, 04:31:52 pm »

I don't know what "recording schools" teach as the Audion Production Program at Webster University teaches audio production in all fields, music recording being one of them.  In that regard, yes we teach "old school" music recording, which I regard as "current music recording".  Real musicians gather in a real studio to record together in real time.

But to summarize quickly, our program teaches audio skills which are completely pertinent to today's (and tomorrow's) industry.  Anybody doing it any other way is probably wasting their students' time.

Barry
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McAllister

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2010, 11:16:43 pm »

Recording schools can't teach you how to make decisions. They can't show you how to pull a great take out of someone; or even how to identify what a great take is (the hair standing up on your arm is a pretty good sign).

If they're good, you can learn about signal flow and gain staging and mic placement and and and ... but I think the best bet for anyone who wants to learn is: 1) obtain gear, record, listen, repeat, and 2) get a mentor.

No school can teach dedication, drive, passion, or love.

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Barry Hufker

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2010, 11:28:13 pm »

I'm sorry but I don't agree.  Good decision-making can be taught.  And a great take can't be pulled out of someone if there isn't a great take in them.

You suggest "If they're good, you can learn about signal flow and gain staging and mic placement and and and ... but I think the best bet for anyone who wants to learn is: 1) obtain gear, record, listen, repeat, and 2) get a mentor."  But that is what a school is.  The school has purchased the gear for the student -- more and better than what the student could afford.  Assignments are designed to teach the student in a constructive, efficient manner how to "record, listen, repeat".  And at a school students have an entire faculty of mentors rather than a single one.

Dedication can be taught.  While passion or love can't be forced into someone, they can be inspired.

Barry
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Eric H.

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2010, 05:15:53 pm »

When a teacher is good, that is excatly what happens: creating interest, drive and dedication for the students. In any school.
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eric harizanos

breathe

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2010, 01:26:34 am »

You're totally right about this.  I should probably stop mentioning my board's heritage.  I guess I'm just pissed that it was sold to me as fully working and when I was finally able to verify this, it was anything but, so getting bragging rights on where it came from eases my anger at Noel Webster.  

I think a piece of equipment's heritage does have a certain power over the user who knows of it.  The personal value we place on any object usually has nothing to do with what could be assumed by just looking at it.  History has relevance.  In the case of my mixer, it's actually totally ridiculous for me to be pimping its past, since when the restoration of it is complete (any day now), the board will contain mostly brand new op-amps and caps, and I know it won't sound ANYTHING like Bob Seger's "Night Moves".  Which is for the best.

Nicholas



meverylame wrote on Thu, 25 November 2010 13:28


Simultaneously I would tend to think that you (and we all are at some point and time) are just as guilty of finding an inherent value in a tool based upon its vintage or history, based upon the fact that you incessantly refer to your console as the "Muscle Shoals" MCI, not just a MCI JH-416. Which is fine. Muscle Shoals was rad. I would do the same thing, though its ultimately somewhat important, excepting that its more broken that most other MCIs. Its music, we're fans! You gotta be to this.

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breathe

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2010, 01:35:16 am »

I'm going to have to disagree with this statement.  I've had some phenomenal teachers in my life in formal academic environments, who understood ME well enough to "hip" me to (mostly written) works (though being advised to see Fassbinder's "In A Year of 13 Moons" was definitely an exception) that expanded my ability/vocabulary to be able to describe what I was actually thinking and feeling and helped me better understand what aspects of worldly experience I actually cared about.  I think the role of the teacher is basically to provide intellectual resources to students that are specific to the intuitive skills and personality of each student.  I don't think you can teach "interest, drive and dedication" to anyone.  You can just empower people.

Nicholas



Eric H. wrote on Fri, 26 November 2010 14:15

When a teacher is good, that is excatly what happens: creating interest, drive and dedication for the students. In any school.

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Barry Hufker

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2010, 02:45:31 am »

Maybe in my response I would change "dedication" to "responsibility" and a "professional work ethic".  Personal dedication is indeed another matter.

Barry
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breathe

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2010, 03:40:17 am »

"Dedication" and "professional identity" issues are worth talking about, because as far as I'm concerned so many people lack these qualities in any field, ESPECIALLY the people I've met who went to recording schools.  

I turned 30 in August.  Some time in the year prior to this one, something kind of switched in my relationship with my peer group, where certain things became really obvious to me (or at least they seemed that way).  Pretty much, as of the last year, I feel I can walk into any social environment composed of people my age and IMMEDIATELY tell who in that room has made any meaningful attempt to pursue their dreams, to educate themselves in whatever craft they supposedly care about.  I think for most people the 20's are all a wash of alienation issues and learning the difference between "authenticity" as far as intimate communication is concerned vs. "authenticity" as far as professional communication is concerned.  At a certain point both in terms of resum
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Barry Hufker

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2010, 06:25:03 pm »

Maturity, which absolutely can't be taught, has a lot to do with it.  I read a couple of years ago that adolescence lasts (worldwide) to the age of about 34.  Obviously some people grow out of it sooner and some later (maybe that's where mid-life crisis comes from).  In any event, I can tell in my classes to a fairly accurate degree who's interested and who's not -- who will stay with audio and who won't.  I can't say with any accuracy who will be a success as that depends upon too many factors.

In general, in any subject, 10% of the class really "gets" the subject and will pursue it successfully; the next 10% understand the material and will probably have some association with it afterward; the rest are up for grabs.  Some of that remainder may "get it" later but most will drift away.  Given that most will find something else to do eventually, it is *imperative* that students attend a liberal arts college and not a tech school.  With a good, solid, general education these students can apply their skills to something else successfully.

Barry

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Jay Kadis

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Re: "Marketable skills" taught at recording schools???
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2010, 10:56:31 am »

These days, attending a trade school devoted solely to recording is as useful as taking carburetor repair classes.  A program that teaches the basics of acoustics, electronics, computer science, signal processing and music theory can prepare a student for whatever comes along in the future.  But that requires dedication on the part of the student and a lot of it isn't easy.
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