Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the difference between the Bachelor of Science and the Associate of Science in Recording Arts degrees?
- I am planning on majoring in Audio Engineering. What can I do in high school to prepare myself for this course of study?
- What are you looking for in a Audio Engineering applicant?
- What are my chances of being admitted into the Audio Engineering program?
- How much hands-on experience do I get? When will I get into the studio and start recording?
- What kind of jobs are available to students when they graduate and what kind of salary can be expected?
What is the difference between the Bachelor of Science and the Associate of Science In Recording Arts degrees?
The majority of our students are pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree. The Associate of Science degree is intended to be completed in conjunction with a Bachelor's degree in another area such as Music or Telecommunications. In some cases graduate students have pursued the Associate's degree to supplement their studies. In general we will not accept students into the associate's program unless they are pursuing or have already completed a Bachelor's degree.
In addition to the Bachelor's and Associate's degree there are several options to combine Recording Arts degrees with other degrees.
Bachelor of Music in an Outside Field (BSOF): This degree program offered by the Music School allows instrumental study at the concentration level combined with study in an outside field, in this case, Audio Engineering. Students complete the Bachelor of Music course requirements along with the Associate of Science in Recording Arts. The student may elect not to complete the internship in which case only the BSOF degree will be awarded. If the internship is completed, the student will also be awarded the A.S. degree.
Dual degree: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Music: In this course of study students complete both the BS and BM course requirements. Several groups of courses count for both degrees: the BM core music requirements will also fulfill the BS core music requirements, and the concentration or minor required for the BS degree will be fulfilled by performance or composition study which is part of the BM degree. This degree will generally take five years to complete though it is possible to complete it in four years if the student attends during the summers.
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I am planning on majoring in Audio Engineering. What can I do in high school to prepare myself for this course of study?
Audio Engineering combines music and technology, so study in these areas is highly recommended. If you are not already a musician, you should take music lessons and study basic music theory. If your high school offers them, you should take any audio, television, and/or radio production courses. You could also participate in your high school's theater program doing live sound, or any kind of backstage technical work. If your school does not offer these kinds of technical opportunities, then you should look into interning at a local recording studio, television or radio station, or helping the sound engineer at your church or community theater. In addition to technical studies, you should also be very comfortable with computers. Courses in programming, web design, graphics and of course music applications will be very helpful. Intermediate mathematical skills are required for electronics study, so make sure you are comfortable with algebra and pre calculus mathematics. Finally, any experience in communication and people skills will be very helpful. Courses in public speaking and communication, and participation in extracurricular activities such as school government, concert and radio promotion, and community and church groups which allow you to develop your interpersonal and communication skills would be good examples.
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Since we are a music school we have a strong preference for musicians. However that does not necessarily mean only those schooled in classical music, we are looking for students with a wide range of musical backgrounds. About half of our students have studied music in the traditional manner, instrumental study starting in grade or middle school, and participation in musical ensembles in high school. Other students are self taught, or have had a combination of musical lessons and independent study. Musical backgrounds range from significant classical music study, to self taught guitarists and singer/songwriters.
Second, we would like to see some kind of technical and computer background. This profession is very exciting because it combines music with cutting edge technology, however it is highly technical, and students who do not have a propensity for technology will struggle. We like to see some demonstration that applicants have experience with technology and are aware of what it involves.
Finally, audio recording and production requires interaction with artists and producers in a creative environment. The ability to communicate effectively is perhaps the most important skill that a recording engineer can posssess. Recording sessions often involve tight deadlines and close collaboration with many different and difficult personalities. We are looking for applicants who can demonstrate good communication skills, and are articulate and outgoing.
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We offer admission to about 20 students each year. Admission is very competitive, we generally receive about 120 applications.
How much hands-on experience do I get? When will I get into the studio and start recording?
Audio Engineering students start working in our studios from the very first semester. As part of the audio crew, students immediately begin providing audio support for School of Music events. The first year consists mostly of training sessions and second engineering. As students progress through their studies they will gradate to first engineer status, eventually serving as lead engineers on important School of Music productions. All courses include a significant lab component, students must complete weekly production projects. Once students enter their third year, the courses are primarily project based with a significant production requirement. All told, students will have over 1000 hours of practical hands-on production experience upon graduation.
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What kind of jobs are available to students when they graduate and what kind of salary can be expected?
Graduates of the Audio Engineering program can be found working in recording studios, movie and television studios, radio stations, live sound reinforcement, touring Broadway productions, theaters, theme and amusement parks, municipalities, CD mastering and DVD authoring, the computer industry, and the armed forces. Additionally, many of our students elect to pursue graduate degrees in areas such as new media, film, acoustics, electrical engineering, law, and music business.
While most students enter the Audio Engineering program with the intention of going into music production, the greatest area of job growth in Audio Engineering and audio production is in media production. The most success will be found by those persons that posess a combination of skills which can be utilized in this area - audio content creation, that is the creation, recording and production of audio content for film and television, computer applications, and other entertainment; and programming and information technology - the formatting and delivery of audio content over the internet and on other media. In addition, media technologies are beginning to converge. The line between specialists in moving image, audio, and delivery fields has begun to disappear, so those that are skilled in these areas will be more employable and earn a higher salary.
The US Department of Labor lists the average salary of audio technicians at just under $46,000 per year. As would be expected, salaries in the major markets such as Los Angeles and New York tend to be higher. Entry level positions in recording studios tend to be low paying, minimum wage of $10.00 per hour or so, but advancement can be quick for those that are motivated and posses the right skills.
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