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Thread: What do recording students need to know?

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    Default What do recording students need to know?

    I've been contacted by the Tenn. State Dept. of Education to assist them in reviewing and rewriting their curriculum for their audio engineering courses that are offered at the high school level. I believe there are currently five schools in the state of TN that offer these classes but more are expected.

    So, here's the question.

    A high school age student, what does he need to know to go into recording?

    I asked if this course was being designed as career development or as a college prep course. They would like it to be both. So I suggested the Dean of a local college with a recording program (Belmont U., my alma mater) to also be on the panel. To the best of my knowledge, we will be the only two professionals assisting in designing the curriculum so I expect that our opinions will count for something. (Am I naive?)

    So what should a recording program for high school students include? Understand that this will be one hour per day and will be given no more weight or significance than any other elective.

    Your thoughts?
    Lynn Fuston
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    A high school age student, what does he need to know to go into recording?
    I could spend literally 40 hours defining what's needed for a recording course, and I bet others here would need that much time too.

    --Ethan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
    I could spend literally 40 hours defining what's needed for a recording course, and I bet others here would need that much time too.
    And I'll bet you'd be lucky if 50% of the people successfully earning a living in the field would be up to speed on what you'd specify as must-have knowledge.
    Lee Blaske
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    I could spend at least 1 hour explaining why recording isn't a very secure career path. This might save the schools some serious cash if they are planning on purchasing equipment for these classes . . .

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    what do they need to know? A lot more, or something a lot different, than what they're currently being taught!

    I found the interns sent to us were woefully under-informed about basics of signal flow, basic things like connections/connectors, wiring, grounding, micing (what, where, why), basic trouble shooting, etc. They also tended not to know what a process was, nor why or when to use it; and they seem to have memorized whatever a teacher did to a certain channel, and they built their setups in a similar cookie-cutter fashion.

    They also tend to stand around like cows rather than jumping in. If I've got to herd them, I don't need them.

    Oh, and teach them to listen first, make decisions, then LISTEN AGAIN, and not to spend so much time staring at the video monitors.
    Bill Park
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    I've been contacted by the Tenn. State Dept. of Education to assist them in reviewing and rewriting their curriculum for their audio engineering courses that are offered at the high school level. I believe there are currently five schools in the state of TN that offer these classes but more are expected.

    So, here's the question.

    A high school age student, what does he need to know to go into recording?
    I'd go for a complete redefinition of the field. Recording engineering is a needed and necessary skill, but as technology has evolved, it is no longer a career or profession per se, in my view.

    It would be like taking a career track of being a "Word Processor Operator." There are definitely a rather significant bag of skills that need to come together to be a word processor operator. But what is a word processor operator? Word processor operation is just a tool in your bag of tricks that use to accomplish some greater task. The same is true for being a recording engineer.

    New technologies in their infancies are usually much more specialized (and sometimes dangerous). Being a type setter or linotype machine operator was a much more engrossing occupation than being a word processor operator. Advancements in technology, however, have changed the lay of the land.

    A Pulitzer Prize winning author could be one heckuva word processor operator, but society will define him by his creative output. From here on out, audio engineering will largely be a skill in the toolbox of someone accomplishing a greater overarching task.
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

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    And FWIW...

    As a skill, I really think that most people leaving school should have some audio engineering training. It's just a part of our multi-media world. People should know how to recording things, deal with editing files and simple mixing, and be able to integrate them into video. It's just as relative to life in the 21st century as being able to finger paint.
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske View Post
    And FWIW...

    People should know how to recording things, deal with editing files and simple mixing, ....
    They already do (or think that they do..) and that is a big part of the problem.

    The interns that I spoke of? They didn't want to walk in on the first day and wrap cable, they wanted to mix. And were offended that we didn't let them mix without having ever seen or heard of them before. They felt entitled to replace our experienced front-line engineers, based upon their 2 years of schooling.
    Bill Park
    Welcome Home Studios

    The elites have squandered the country's wealth on two of the costliest and most useless wars in American history while blithely pretending that the environmental crisis doesn't exist. We no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights.
    (Chris Hedges)


    Showbusiness. We're all here because we're not all there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios View Post
    They already do (or think that they do..) and that is a big part of the problem.

    The interns that I spoke of? They didn't want to walk in on the first day and wrap cable, they wanted to mix. And were offended that we didn't let them mix without having ever seen or heard of them before. They felt entitled to replace our experienced front-line engineers, based upon their 2 years of schooling.
    Well, there's something wrong with expectations on both sides in that case. The value of an unpaid intern to a recording studio is free slave labor. The interns didn't understand that.

    Regardless, they most likely will not be gainfully employed on the basis of their audio engineering skill.

    Someone with marginal word processor skills (and even more marginal spelling and grammar skills) is not going to find work as a writer.
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

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    Interesting answers, and different from the approach I would take.

    Because technology changes so fast, I would concentrate on basic theory, starting with the nature of sound, how it propagates, speaker design, types of microphones, time, amplitude & frequency domains, history of recording (how analog magnetic tape works), digital recording (Nyquist Frequency, sample rates, bits, dither, A/D D/A issues) listening to and discussing some favourite CDs and what we are hearing about how they were made - critical listening) - and then move on to nuts and bolts "How do I mic a drum kit?" questions - then mixing, including editing and processing as described by the above-named domains - and as was suggested, synching to video or between dig machines, and ending with a field trip to a studio and having the class record and mix a song.

    I hadn't thought to include connectors and such, but balanced/unbalanced is a must and that would be helpful.

    There's just too much to go into any great depth in the short time of an hour a day for a semester or a year.

    Will there be lab/studio time available?

    I also agree about getting burned on a lot of interns. We once had one who literally could not get signal through a board and far worse, actually asked a client for an autograph! He had supposedly been trained by a "recording school."And I agree that there is a bit of "cookie cutter" engineering being taught even at some prestigious colleges. I was actually able to pick out a graduate of one of them simply by listening to a song she had mixed and noticing a certain anomalous hi-hat sound which I had heard from one of her fellow grad's work. Apparently they teach that there - and it's a world class place.

    I would like to see a solid theoretical base and a knowledge of options coupled with an ability to begin applying it. That would be a curriculum which would never get stale for them their whole lives through.

    Teach them to fish and they'll eat every day.
    Last edited by SafetyCopy; 09-30-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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