Starry Eyed Dreamers
Trev@Circle
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13th March 2013
Old 13th March 2013
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Starry Eyed Dreamers - audio school education and degrees

I started this discussion on my facebook page yesteray and the topic is still raging so I thought I'd move it over here and see what happens.

"Feeling sorry for starry eyed dreamers this morning. Getting about a dozen job applications a day from people who have been duped into doing an audio engineering degree by colleges and universities just to increase their own revenues. Some statistics... There are about 6-7000 people graduating every year from such 'degrees'. There might be about half a dozen jobs. In my book this means the universities are just defrauding people that don't know any better out of their money. Isn't that illegal? It should be...

...And of course to add to the irony the university studios are putting demo studios out of business because they offer recording at uncommercial prices because it isn't what pays their wage. Their costs are covered by the tax payer and the students. This means there are even less jobs for the people who graduate! The world has gone mad."

Discuss.

Last edited by Trev@Circle; 17th March 2013 at 08:25 PM.. Reason: more searchable title
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13th March 2013
Old 13th March 2013
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Trev,

I for one can't say who's fault any of this is,

Honestly, I believe it's on the individual to make it or break it in their felid of expertise.

Sure there are thousands bidding for what looks like, less than zero jobs, and they seem to disregard all the other important audio and media avenues. There are Tons.

Students need to open their minds more. That expensive piece of paper becomes whatever you make of it. By no means is it a "right" to a Career.

It just means you have accomplished something. You have to prove yourself, and stand on your own two planker's.

College is a Business run by corporate weenies..no doubt. There is some level of responsibility on their end to HELP place you in an entry level spot in your chosen field.

But I still feel its up the individual to use his/her academics and experience to their advantage, and no matter how hard these Schools Market, Build Up and Stretch their reach, this will always be the case.
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Trev@Circle
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13th March 2013
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I don't disagree with any of that Adam. My gripe is that the universities and colleges are, if I'm being charitable, less than honest about future career prospects and, worse, as killing the market for jobs because they are using their facilities (paid for by the taxpayer in the UK at least) by taking on commercial gigs at less that commercial prices.
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#4
13th March 2013
Old 13th March 2013
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Hey, they've been turning out philosophy majors every year since the beginning, and the job prospects for them have probably always been about what the music industry can offer now, right?
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Trev@Circle
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13th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Hey, they've been turning out philosophy majors every year since the beginning, and the job prospects for them have probably always been about what the music industry can offer now, right?
yes but the philosophy majors know that going in. its the dishonesty that doesnt seem right to me
#6
13th March 2013
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I did a law degree at an 'ex-poly' uni in the early 00's.

Despite there only being about 45 students in my year group, once a week we had a lecture in the main theatre that could comfortably seat about 200.
The lecture before ours was for first year 'audio technology' students; I swear about 150 of them used to shuffle out at the end of the lecture!

I remember thinking then that the country couldn't possibly need that many audio engineers (actually, I don't think they were even studying engineering as I am fairly certain that the uni did not have a recording studio!)

Also, quite a few of them were actually foreign students so they were not all destined for unemployment in the UK! But, afaik, they were paying the full international student fees of about £9,000 per year!

So, yeah, nice cheap courses for uni's to offer, minimal entry requirements, overseas student fee opportunities, and the gov able to say that more young people are going to university so they are meeting their targets.

I think it's entirely proper for a university to offer purely academic courses such as philosophy, sociology or even media studies; but offering 'vocational' courses which have almost no prospect of employment at the end is really cynical.
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14th March 2013
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This video is annoying to listen to but look at how much these schools like Full Sail and the Art Institute are making. It's incredible!!!

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14th March 2013
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trev@Circle View Post
I don't disagree with any of that Adam. My gripe is that the universities and colleges are, if I'm being charitable, less than honest about future career prospects and, worse, as killing the market for jobs because they are using their facilities (paid for by the taxpayer in the UK at least) by taking on commercial gigs at less that commercial prices.
.

Dude, you are 100% correct.

These schools are a total freeking SCAM - for MOST students!

Then again, the same applies to MOST schools - in MOST fields of study - ESPECIALLY, the arts!

After all, schools are in bed with big banks and government (as you've said - US, the TAXPAYERS!!!)

It's criminal!

It would all be OK - IOW, standard caveat emptor to consumers -
except that this is CLEAR collusion between greedy institutional businesses, big banks and government.

MAN, are you preaching to the choir!

These schools make me sick.

The home page on the SAE (School of Audio Engineering)
advertises a "Music Producer" can earn the median US household income!!!!!

What "music producers" - other than a handful of famous superstars - earn $50,000 per year in the US?

Such UTTER bullshit, it's UNBELIEVABLE.

Again, I don't know how these criminal dooshebags get away with this crap!

The MAJOR PROBLEM is that MOST students are ENCOURAGED by these ****s
to take out MAJOR STUDENT LOANS, so by the time they GRADUATE, they're in such HEAVY DEBT,
it's criminal!!

Then, upon graduation - saddled with your heavy debt - and no "real world" experience - what are your options?

Indefinite INTERNSHIP!!!!???

Jesus freeking christ almighty in heaven above!!!!!

These criminals should be in prison.

They prey on the poor and uneducated - in order for their business models to work.

Immoral criminals.

AVOID STUDENT LOAN DEBT, AND AVOID A LIFETIME OF INDENTURED SERVITUDE TO BIG BANKS!!!

.
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14th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrettyGone View Post
I did a law degree at an 'ex-poly' uni in the early 00's.

Despite there only being about 45 students in my year group, once a week we had a lecture in the main theatre that could comfortably seat about 200.
The lecture before ours was for first year 'audio technology' students; I swear about 150 of them used to shuffle out at the end of the lecture!

I remember thinking then that the country couldn't possibly need that many audio engineers (actually, I don't think they were even studying engineering as I am fairly certain that the uni did not have a recording studio!)

Also, quite a few of them were actually foreign students so they were not all destined for unemployment in the UK! But, afaik, they were paying the full international student fees of about £9,000 per year!

So, yeah, nice cheap courses for uni's to offer, minimal entry requirements, overseas student fee opportunities, and the gov able to say that more young people are going to university so they are meeting their targets.

I think it's entirely proper for a university to offer purely academic courses such as philosophy, sociology or even media studies; but offering 'vocational' courses which have almost no prospect of employment at the end is really cynical.
.

Indeed, man!...Crazy stuff!!

.
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14th March 2013
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Originally Posted by Trev@Circle View Post
yes but the philosophy majors know that going in. its the dishonesty that doesnt seem right to me
.

Again, man. I could NOT agree more with you!

You are spot freeking on with this thread!

.
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14th March 2013
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"it's a glamor profession...."

The best interns who turned into the best engineers in my shop all left school without graduating and learned on the job in real sessions under experienced engineers and producers working with major artists. In their initial entry interview, I made it as difficult and ugly as possible to burst any remaining bubble. They were told they would start in the bathroom. Why? Because if you can't be trusted with a commode, what makes you think you can be trusted with a million dollar studio? It didn't last long but was essential to get those who really wanted it bad enough. Several of those interns are now grammy winners, one went on to work at ssl and then was a v.p. at fairlight.

the weakest one who never made it past intern was a full sail graduate. She literally couldn't hook up a cassette deck to a small console.

see the pattern ?

imo, this profession was best learned in something akin to the guild system. You "paid your dues", much like an apprentice learns while working for a master carpenter or electrician. And it f'ing worked really well.
with the advent of cheap gear, home recording and overall demise of the music industry, that structure has been all but destroyed and the real opportunities are significantly fewer.

there are opportunities to make a living in post production, sound for picture and commercial work, but that stuff isn't cool like working with the stars. that last part is what the poor bastards are sold on by the magazines, the manufacturers and, worst of all, the for profit educational ripoffs. all of those folks prey on the unwitting with thinly veiled lies and they should be taken out and shot.

I wince every time there is a post that starts with "I don't know anything about it but I want to set up a mastering studio". Gee, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

any monkey can be taught to twiddle a knob. that's not learning a craft or trade that will allow you to make a living or even a decent product and there are a lot of monkeys that read GS. that's is an awful lot of the blind leading the blind. oh well...
/rant
#12
14th March 2013
Old 14th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

Dude, you are 100% correct.

These schools are a total freeking SCAM - for MOST students!

Then again, the same applies to MOST schools - in MOST fields of study - ESPECIALLY, the arts!

After all, schools are in bed with big banks and government (as you've said - US, the TAXPAYERS!!!)

It's criminal!

It would all be OK - IOW, standard caveat emptor to consumers -
except that this is CLEAR collusion between greedy institutional businesses, big banks and government.

MAN, are you preaching to the choir!

These schools make me sick.

The home page on the SAE (School of Audio Engineering)
advertises a "Music Producer" can earn the median US household income!!!!!

What "music producers" - other than a handful of famous superstars - earn $50,000 per year in the US?

Such UTTER bullshit, it's UNBELIEVABLE.

Again, I don't know how these criminal dooshebags get away with this crap!

The MAJOR PROBLEM is that MOST students are ENCOURAGED by these ****s
to take out MAJOR STUDENT LOANS, so by the time they GRADUATE, they're in such HEAVY DEBT,
it's criminal!!

Then, upon graduation - saddled with your heavy debt - and no "real world" experience - what are your options?

Indefinite INTERNSHIP!!!!???

Jesus freeking christ almighty in heaven above!!!!!

These criminals should be in prison.

They prey on the poor and uneducated - in order for their business models to work.

Immoral criminals.

AVOID STUDENT LOAN DEBT, AND AVOID A LIFETIME OF INDENTURED SERVITUDE TO BIG BANKS!!!

.
I 100% agree with everything you're written here. The people who run these institutes of "higher education" need to be thrown in jail. They're no better than con artists who sell you fake products.
#13
14th March 2013
Old 14th March 2013
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Going to school for audio engineering is like going to school for music: no guarantees of anything. Is it the best way to learn? No, but in a world where commercial studios are paring down to minimal staff, it's one way to get a start. Would I advise anyone to drop $100k on a certificate? No way.

It's like the jazz world: when it was thriving, musicians came up under the apprentice system. Once opportunities declined, jazz moved into the universities. It's the way of the world. The problem is the affordability of digital recording. Every snotty-nosed kid thinks they are producers, because they can slap together some canned loops. They'll eventually learn that it takes more than that to survive. They will then wise up and quit. Natural selection at its finest.
#14
14th March 2013
Old 14th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
"it's a glamor profession...."

The best interns who turned into the best engineers in my shop all left school without graduating and learned on the job in real sessions under experienced engineers and producers working with major artists. In their initial entry interview, I made it as difficult and ugly as possible to burst any remaining bubble. They were told they would start in the bathroom. Why? Because if you can't be trusted with a commode, what makes you think you can be trusted with a million dollar studio? It didn't last long but was essential to get those who really wanted it bad enough. Several of those interns are now grammy winners, one went on to work at ssl and then was a v.p. at fairlight.

the weakest one who never made it past intern was a full sail graduate. She literally couldn't hook up a cassette deck to a small console.

see the pattern ?

imo, this profession was best learned in something akin to the guild system. You "paid your dues", much like an apprentice learns while working for a master carpenter or electrician. And it f'ing worked really well.
with the advent of cheap gear, home recording and overall demise of the music industry, that structure has been all but destroyed and the real opportunities are significantly fewer.

there are opportunities to make a living in post production, sound for picture and commercial work, but that stuff isn't cool like working with the stars. that last part is what the poor bastards are sold on by the magazines, the manufacturers and, worst of all, the for profit educational ripoffs. all of those folks prey on the unwitting with thinly veiled lies and they should be taken out and shot.

I wince every time there is a post that starts with "I don't know anything about it but I want to set up a mastering studio". Gee, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

any monkey can be taught to twiddle a knob. that's not learning a craft or trade that will allow you to make a living or even a decent product and there are a lot of monkeys that read GS. that's is an awful lot of the blind leading the blind. oh well...
/rant
.

Indeed. Great post!

.
#15
15th March 2013
Old 15th March 2013
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Probably all these schools are really guilty of is they don't point out "The Obvious": obviously it's a tantalizing, captivating profession; obviously there's intense competition; obviously if you think taking a course of schoolwork is going to get you into the industry, you're nuts.

From my experience, you need the kind of mindset that treats schoolwork with contempt; that listens to others' formulas with a blind eye; that hews true to your own inner madnesses, rather than adopting other people's.

Because, full disclosure: I was a starry eyed dreamer once, I had no reason to think it was a feasible career path.... surprise!
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#16
15th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Because, full disclosure: I was a starry eyed dreamer once, I had no reason to think it was a feasible career path.... surprise!
yep, same here. it's more about self motivation than anything else.

you have to really, really want it.
no school can provide that drive, it comes from within.
#17
15th March 2013
Old 15th March 2013
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Look at all the colleges, universities and conservatories turning out more and more violinist, cellist, vocalist, and other musicians every year. There maybe a slim chance that 1 in 100 will get a good job in music and the rest may soon have to learn the phrase "do you want fries with that?"

The cost of going to a "good school" for music can set the student's parents back a quartet of a million dollars or more for their "education". If they decide to go on to graduate school the cost is astronomical.

Do these music schools tell their graduates that their chances for success are less than 1%??? I doubt it. They tell the prospective student about some of their graduates who went on to solo careers or are now a part of the string section of a major orchestra but they don't tell the new students how many of their graduates are working in allied fields or flipping burgers at Micky McDs.

Back in the 60's when I was going to college there were no schools in America that offered courses in audio engineering. If I wanted a degree in audio I would have had to go to Europe and get a Tonmeister degree and even though I had 8 years of classical piano I would not have been able to pass the musicianship test to get accepted. So I went to an American college and got a degree in Broadcasting which is about as close as I could get to audio. The college I went to taught me a lot but the two most important things it taught me was 1) how to study and 2) how to find information.

Today a lot of young people who get degrees in audio don't really know as much about what they are doing as I did when I graduated in broadcasting and their practical skills are pitiful. When I was in college I ran an on location recording business and on weekends did record hops for the fraternities and got a lot of practical and business experience under my belt before I ever graduated.

I personally know three people who graduated from Full Sail, one is selling Verizon cell phones. one is living at home with his parents and one is working at GC. The one that is selling cell phones gradated from Full Sail with honors. He tried to get jobs in this area but was not able to make any money and wound up being a non paid intern in a studio for 6 months with no real hope of getting a job.

I think what is happening in these schools is deplorable but unless these school can be proven to be intentionally lying to their graduates I don't think there is much that can be done. Too bad for someone who has their eyes on a career in audio only to find out there is no need for their services when they graduate.

FWIW and YMMV
#18
15th March 2013
Old 15th March 2013
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it's the educational system's version of the casting couch
#19
15th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trev@Circle View Post
yes but the philosophy majors know that going in.
Up to a point

I think I can honestly say that my philosophy degree never got me a job, but I've never had a job where I haven't used what I learnt while studying for it.

Maybe that has some relevance?
#20
15th March 2013
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
Up to a point

I think I can honestly say that my philosophy degree never got me a job, but I've never had a job where I haven't used what I learnt while studying for it.

Maybe that has some relevance?
.

As Steve Martin said - in college you learn just enough philosophy -

...to screw you up for the rest of your life.

.
#21
15th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
yep, same here. it's more about self motivation than anything else.

you have to really, really want it.
no school can provide that drive, it comes from within.
.

Word.


Also, great post, Thomas Bethe...much truth in your post.

.
Trev@Circle
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15th March 2013
Old 15th March 2013
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Great input guys. Im wishing I named the thread slightly differently now for future students thinking of going to audio school. If only there was a magic fairy that could change this stuff...

#23
15th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

As Steve Martin said - in college you learn just enough philosophy -

...to screw you up for the rest of your life.

.
#24
15th March 2013
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#25
16th March 2013
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To be honest, I find it amazing how many big name universities are now implementing an audio engineering or audio engineering-alike Bachelor program, it has become quite trendy nowadays, 6 years ago no one knew what an audio engineer was, now, every highschool kid wants to become one.

The thing that troubles me is that Ive been looking at it from the simplest perspective, the economics point of view. The music industry as an industry is shrinking every day, demand for audio engineers is getting smaller and smaller yet the offer is increasing at alarming rates. I dont know what the music business is supposed to do with so many engineers and producers injected in the industry every 6 months, perhaps it is wise for us who are doing this for a living to consider retreat before its to late.

In my opinion, if you want to be an audio engineer you have several choices, but it all boils down to 2, you go to college or you dont, but if you go to college, get an EE or Computer Science degree, rather than a audio engineering degree...
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#26
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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There are LIES.

There are DAMNED LIES

Then there are STATISTICS.
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#27
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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Originally Posted by targa2 View Post
There are LIES.

There are DAMNED LIES

Then there are STATISTICS.
.

Right.

You can learn all you need to know about the effectiveness of (these) programs and schools,
by simply talking to the graduates - most of whom are unemployed (or barely employed), with a ton of debt.


Once again, from the School of Audio Engineering (SAE):


Become a Music Producer:

"Music Producers can earn a median annual salary of approximately $50,000*."


http://us.sae.edu/dynamicpages/Music...ic&loc=newyork

The cost of attendance for the Audio Technology Program in New York is $34,223


Again, I'm not saying it's literally IMPOSSIBLE to make $50,000 per year as a music producer in the US.

But the chances are slim to none that MOST graduates will accomplish this.

And even if they DO, $50k is still a basically SHITTY income in the US today -
ESPECIALLY, in any of the major metro areas - WHICH IS WHERE ALL THE SAE SCHOOLS ARE!!!!!

These major metropolitan areas - NYC, LA, SF, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Nashville
are literally THE MOST COMPETITIVE music industry cities IN THE WORLD!


What makes a newbie "music producer" think they're going to graduate SAE - with a mountain of debt -

- and then go intern somewhere for free - in these EXTREMELY competitive markets -

and then earn $50k per year professionally - when???...and how???...and where???


$50,000 per year is roughly $25 per hour 40 hours per week.

Again, not impossible, but how many music producers do we all know who are earning this?


Besides, isn't EVERYONE a music producer now?

Every young musician is producing their own music - it's part of the whole music creation process now.

And who's BUYING music?

What clubs are PAYING bands to play?


The whole thing makes zero freeking sense.

Total freeking scam.

I'd be astonished if the poor ****ers teaching these courses at SAE are even earning $50k

.
#28
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
I'd be astonished if the poor ****ers teaching these courses at SAE are even earning $50k
.
"Those who can, do
Those who can't, teach."

NYU tuition is ~$60k per year and the Clive Davis recording program in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU is cranking them out too.
My feeling is that the superior schools in the major markets, (NYU Tisch, USC Spielberg School, Belmont, MTSU) will at least get the kids a decent and well rounded education in addition to better opportunities to intern/get a foot in the door at real facilities with a chance to move up. When you start looking at the for profit and junior/community college programs in the middle of nowhere, not so much.

My advice to any aspiring kid is to focus more on the ENGINEERING side with less focus on the AUDIO side. A more conventional degree in EE or at least the real technical electronics side will carry them much further plus having a well rounded education that teaches them to think and not just twiddle a knob. It does require a more rigorous course of study and isn't quite as cool to tell the babes at the bar. But down the road, that EE/Tech grad will be making large $ designing or repairing the next cool thing in gear while the audio only grad will be behind the bar serving drinks to the EE and the gorgeous babe standing along side him.
(Sexist example used for illustrative purposes only )
#29
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
"Those who can, do
Those who can't, teach."

NYU tuition is ~$60k per year and the Clive Davis recording program in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU is cranking them out too.
My feeling is that the superior schools in the major markets, (NYU Tisch, USC Spielberg School, Belmont, MTSU) will at least get the kids a decent and well rounded education in addition to better opportunities to intern/get a foot in the door at real facilities with a chance to move up. When you start looking at the for profit and junior/community college programs in the middle of nowhere, not so much.

My advice to any aspiring kid is to focus more on the ENGINEERING side with less focus on the AUDIO side. A more conventional degree in EE or at least the real technical electronics side will carry them much further plus having a well rounded education that teaches them to think and not just twiddle a knob. It does require a more rigorous course of study and isn't quite as cool to tell the babes at the bar. But down the road, that EE/Tech grad will be making large $ designing or repairing the next cool thing in gear while the audio only grad will be behind the bar serving drinks to the EE and the gorgeous babe standing along side him.
(Sexist example used for illustrative purposes only )
.

Indeed...crazy, crazy, crazy...SMMFH...


My advice, as always, is AVOID THE DEBT.

Unless you have a CLEAR FOLLOW-UP BUSINESS PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!


I repeat this over and over, because it's NO JOKE.

It's LITERALLY A LIFETIME OF INDENTURED SERVITUDE TO BANKS - with almost ZERO guaranteed income!!


Imagine graduating with an acting MFA from Yale - and $150k-$200k in student loan loan debt (or more).

And then moving to Hollywood to try to find work?

As an ACTOR???? (one in how many millions?)

...(meanwhile, all the real actors have been working in the industry since they were children).

Of all the **members** of the Screen Actor's Guild, only 2 percent make more than $200,000 a year,
while 8 percent make between $10,000-$30,000, and 90 percent are mostly unemployed.

There are around 100,000 working GUILD actors, only around 50 would be considered stars.

Read that again - 90% of the GUILD, that means DUES PAYING MEMBERS are unemployed.

So, if 100,000 GUILD ACTORS are working, that means 900,000 are UNEMPLOYED!!!

In Hollywood, you can throw a penny, and hit an unemployed dues-paying SAG actor.

This is 900,000 GUILD actors (90% who are not working, but are mere starry-eyed dreamers,
like most musicians).

So, if we remove the 90% unemployed DUES PAYING MEMBERS, we get the REALITY of millions of unemployed actors -
MOST of whom are NOT dues paying members of any guild, but mere starry-eyed dreamers.


I wonder how many of these million dues-paying SAG actors have unmanageable student loan debt?

And how many of the non-union actors (easily another few million) have unmanageable student loan debt?



Well, your chances as a musician or audio engineer are just about the same.


You might be better off with a degree in poetry, dance, photography, web design, journalism, blogging, communications, printing, shoe repair or the culinary arts.

(This is sarcasm, btw ).


It's the student loan debt that REALLY pisses me off.

The schools, banks and government institution executives
all manage to make off with our well-earned tuition money and government loan tax dollars.

So the students and taxpayers get ****ed.

It's really QUITE a scam!

And, as always, the poor and least educated suffer the most.

As taxpayers AND students, we get screwed by the government twice.


Again, do what you love. Study what you love. Knock yourself out.

Just don't take on heavy unmanageable debt doing it!



And how do you KNOW what's "unmanageable" debt???

You have to do the basic potential professional employment math, BEFORE you start applying for all those loans.


Talk to professionals in the real world. Visit studios. Contact producers and engineers.

Ask them what they make. If they won't tell you, ask them what they charge.

Then do the math. What are their carrying costs, including gear upgrades, etc.?

(How much are THEY paying back in student loan debt now!? )

How many salaried employees do they have? What do the employees earn?

They're not going to give you this information easily, so you have to figure it out for yourself.


If you want to be a starry-eyed dreamer, fine - just don't be a starry-eyed dreamer IDIOT.


Everyone kids themselves while they're in school, and then they graduate - and they're ****ed.


The Disney shit in our country has to stop.

.
#30
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
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Best documentary about college, ever:

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