i need you guys to read this seriously...and i need honest serious advice.
Old 30th January 2008
  #1
Lives for gear
 
xmostynx's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
i need you guys to read this seriously...and i need honest serious advice.

before i consult my parents-who will tell me I'm very wrong...and i am a quitter and what not.

here is my problem.

I graduated college with an Associates Degree back in 2005.

I got a very good job mixing FOH at a casino- replaced 1 engineer there who was employed for a few years, and now I'm pretty much underneath the Chief Engineer there.

So I'm 2nd in line. I work there mixing all sorts of bands 3 -4 nights a week. I make 18.75 an hour- 125 dollars a night.

I went back to school- and i believe i made a serious mistake.
I have about 10 classes left until i get my BA in science for production.

I go to class 2 days a week, 8 hours a week, plus homework your looking at about 18 hours a week.

I also freelance in my small studio in my apartment- from drum editing, to mixing independent films, to mixing the bands i record live from my FOH gig. Alone my studio makes me enough money to keep being a slut and buy new toys.

my FOH gig pays all my bills and leaves me enough money to live.

At work, i'm expected to be the highest level of professional possible. I have dB regulations, and when I'm there I'm managing 2 bands, 1 jazz band in a piano bar, and 1 large (rock, country, dance...whatever else) kind of band on the main stage, which i'm mixing. I am very backed there, and they always push me to be better than I am. My cheif engineer walks in and rarely tells me my mixes need help, and when they do its slight.

don't get me wrong- i'm not a genius, i have alot to learn.

This is where you think school would be helping...however when i walk into the doors of school i feel dumb. the kids that go there are good kids...but they are still kids..

i'm 22 and i'm still a kid, but my goals and ambitions are way above those kids.
I pay all my own bills- these kids pay none of their own.

Today- we where supposed to mix a 5 piece band. with the schools turbo sound system. after the entire system was up and wired, and ready to go- the cross over unit is blown out of it, so there is nothing but bass coming out of the system.

a 5 piece band is a small band considered to the bands i work with at work...sometimes 9 piece bands with horn sections.

At work i'm running nice gear, ashley crossovers/eqs A&H GL 4000..crown amps...
let me say this again- at work i am expected to be the best professional as possible
my mixes must be clear and warm. i'm the youngest there, and everytime the head bosses come in to 'check' our mixes, mine shine like gold.

i mix good- not to sound like a dick, but its just something i'm good at.

at school i have a turbo system with a eurodesk board, and dbx eq's...

however i feel like school is holding me back- i'm spending 20 hours a week - and i'm up to 86k in debt because of school... i am learning nothing. i'm being taught how to use avid xpress....

im wasting my time and the rest of my money on this education- to have what? a BA degree?

how much will this degree matter in my life?

i need advice- do i coast through the rest of this schooling or do i quit?
i am teaching the teachers how to use beat detective in pro tools- its just not right..

tonight was the string that broke my back..
i felt like a fool in front of 300 kids.

this system is maintained by a head technical director that knows nothing.
he didn't even know how to trouble shoot the system...
nor did he know where his wiring diagram for the system was..

i mean..c'mon- the simple things- just not taken care of..

what do i do?

i'm lost, confused and a bit upset.
I have lost all confidence in that school- i'm not mad, i'm just not into wasting my time.

I'm teaching myself electronics, and trying to build a pre-amp- do i cut my losses there and take some classes at a community school on electronics?

do i finish out the last 10 classes (2 classes every 3 months)
what do i do?

these kids don't even understand the ratio numbers on a compressor...
soft/hard compression- no idea.

do i write a letter to the dean?

when i graduated the first time, no employers even came to graduation.
i got my job because of my audio reputation.
and since then its grown 1000x and i've gotten way better.
i've not went on tour with a few bands because of school-
i have not done alot of things because of school..

i feel like its holding me back-
maybe i'm wrong.
maybe i'm just down in the dumps..

but its been maybe 6 months where i've consciously thought about this.
and now i need some advice because i'm ready to never go back cut my losses as start doing some serious work.
Old 30th January 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

Although you have a sweet job right now, you may not always have it. I wish I had the opportunity to earn a BA in ANYTHING. It might be your savior one day when there are no audio gigs left. I'd say finish school. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Old 30th January 2008
  #3
The Audio Whisperer
 
donsolo's Avatar
alright my perspective is a bit different
I dropped out of Berklee just about a year ago for similar reasons. Not really the students that drove me nuts, who cares what they think? But the quality of teaching declined quickly as you got into the higher level classes. Not that the teachers were worse, but the material became more and more repetitive(I probably was in the wrong major but too far in to just switch). It got to a point where it was "I'm in the middle of cutting this record and I'm learning more doing that than going to school full time." Money was a big factor too. I pay $400/month on student loans and to finish would have doubled that.

I do some film scoring work, I was FOH at a nightclub, I play out a bit, and I'm still recording. I think that it's probably EASIER to get some gigs with a degree but I think the gigs that you would get BECAUSE of it are going to have some messed-up values.

I don't really regret dropping out but it will probably hold me back in my day job. That is probably where you'll feel the lack of degree. If you hit a dry spell and need to get a corporate gig, it's going to make a difference.

But also, it really depends on what you're TRYING to do with your skills. If you want to be an FOH mixer at a large venue or large tour, maybe having the degree can't hurt. If you want to be freelance cat, I think your resume will wind up with more important things on it.

I just remember realizing how much I was screwing myself over by taking on so much debt. If this gig you have now can pay the loans as well, I'd probably finish up with 10 classes left. Touring is REALLY overrated IMHO.
Old 30th January 2008
  #4
Gear maniac
 

There isn't much left to do to get your degree so you may as well do it.

The things that make you feel low are good things... it lets you realise what you do have/know.

What degree indicates is that you are capable of sticking to something rather boring and , in a practical sense, useless.

The things that happen in class are a small part of what you learn, you seem to have noticed this. That is a good thing.

Above all don't despair and keep going, you're nearly finished and it's a great lesson in tenacity and patience.

More power to your elbow and remember "nil carborundum illegitim"
Old 30th January 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
cajonezzz's Avatar
 

Get your degree. While you can.

You are way to close to bail now, and I think having that BA will help you down the road, not necessarily in a sound gig.

Your best bet to make a little more $$$ would be a touring gig, but don't expect to be a mixer off the bat. Make sure your tech / trouble shooting skills are solid.

If you have tech skills and aren't afraid to do some non music install work, and mix freelance, here in So. Cal you could probably make a solid living in not a lot of time.

I'd be a little concerned about having a battle plan to clear all that debt tho.. holy moly. How'd you manage to pile that up on an AA?
Old 30th January 2008
  #6
In the past several weeks I have been considering the same exact things, and feel as if I am in the same exact position as you are right now.

I think you'll realize that you just need to have a little more patience, stick it out, finish it and move on.

It's strange because I also considered the whole community college for electrical engineering thing. But I personally decided to stick it out.

If nothing else, a BA looks good when your meeting a girls parents... haha
Old 30th January 2008
  #7
Lives for gear
 
china jam's Avatar
 

Stick it out!

...then forget about it

Otherwise you'll eventually regret quitting so close to the end.
Old 30th January 2008
  #8
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
 

Nerves always seem to get frayed towards the end. The wise conservative advice would be to stick it out.

It depends on what you want. I never got my degree and never looked back. I'm now a professor at a community college and am still a full time musician. In sound I don't know where a degree is going to take you except to teach in a University, and if you can prove your professionalism and they really want you, a degree isn't even necessary.

You can only give or take your own advice.
Old 30th January 2008
  #9
Lives for gear
 
xmostynx's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
this school is super expensive..and honestly..

i took alot of 'student' loans out to get gear.
do i regret the 'gear' loans..
absolutely not.

but having a pro tools rig for over 5 years, gave me a clear advantage.
i can edit very very fast.

i also treated my room with broad band absorbers and bass traps- that are all portable so i can take them with me- (this helps my mixes dramatically)

i also took loans out for housing- so i could just concentrate on audio.
for the last 5 years i've done nothing but mix, record and edit audio. almost non stop.
i've built up alot of mixing credits, i've met alot of people...and for being 22- i've paved a decent road in the industry locally.


my way to dig outta this debt...
is to buy a building-rent it out and use that income to get outta this hole.
one good thing is that they are student loans- i can pay these off for the rest of my life, as long as i'm making payments on time i'm good.

if i can nail a deal on a commercial building (i'm pretty handy with home stuff, dad built our house, as well as my brothers, so i learned from helping them.)

thanks for all the great responses.
i really appreciate all the good people here.
i'm gonna skate through school- i don't even care if i get D+'s i just need the paper.

btw.. 3-2 penguins (if you like hockey)
Old 30th January 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 
cajonezzz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xmostynx View Post
this school is super expensive..and honestly..

i took alot of 'student' loans out to get gear.
do i regret the 'gear' loans..
absolutely not.

but having a pro tools rig for over 5 years, gave me a clear advantage.
i can edit very very fast.

i also treated my room with broad band absorbers and bass traps- that are all portable so i can take them with me- (this helps my mixes dramatically)

i also took loans out for housing- so i could just concentrate on audio.
for the last 5 years i've done nothing but mix, record and edit audio. almost non stop.
i've built up alot of mixing credits, i've met alot of people...and for being 22- i've paved a decent road in the industry locally.


my way to dig outta this debt...
is to buy a building-rent it out and use that income to get outta this hole.
one good thing is that they are student loans- i can pay these off for the rest of my life, as long as i'm making payments on time i'm good.

if i can nail a deal on a commercial building (i'm pretty handy with home stuff, dad built our house, as well as my brothers, so i learned from helping them.)

thanks for all the great responses.
i really appreciate all the good people here.
i'm gonna skate through school- i don't even care if i get D+'s i just need the paper.

btw.. 3-2 penguins (if you like hockey)
Move to a town where you have more opportunity.

Ya gotta fish where there are Fish...
Old 30th January 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Biggest regret of my life was not finishing college.........I was THAT CLOSE and I burned out.

UC Berkeley 1969 dropout.

Get the degree. It can haunt you like a bad dream all your life if you don't hang in there.
Old 30th January 2008
  #12
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

Get the degree. The music business sucks and who knows, it may get worse. If you make a lateral move, you will need the degree and will be so thankful you stuck it out. Don't quit!!! Hang in there.
Old 30th January 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 
CrankyRayHanky's Avatar
 

Exclamation

First year, I would say you have a choice...but you're at the end- FINISH IT

Besides, later on you can always add to or change your career by getting a masters

write that letter to the dean after graduating and let them have it
Old 30th January 2008
  #14
Lives for gear
 
xmostynx's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyRayHanky View Post
First year, I would say you have a choice...but you're at the end- FINISH IT

Besides, later on you can always add to or change your career by getting a masters

write that letter to the dean after graduating and let them have it
after tonight i'm going to write a letter to the deal regardless..

not only was i feeling like a fool- but it is completely unprofessional to haul a sound system that is not properly maintained and checked over.

we have limited access to gear, and qualified students should never be left to hang like i was tonight. what if i had a band showing up to the show to hear my mix? and the PA didn't work...???

it made me ashamed to be in my school and after 86k i shouldn't feel that way-

the dean will have to hear me out.
Old 30th January 2008
  #15
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 

You wont always be working with quality gear.
Learning to deal with compromised situations, especially in a non critical environment like college, is as valuable as the piece of paper qualification itself.
You have many years ahead and don't know what's in store for you.
Keep your head down (don't rock the boat) and finish your studies.

If nothing else, it proves you can work hard and stick with a task.
You'd be surprised how many hip, music business employers still want to weed out the flakey dudes who wont stick with it through thick and thin.
Old 30th January 2008
  #16
Lives for gear
 

You're so close, I think it'd be a real mistake not to finish it.

No telling where you'll be in 2 or 5 or 10 or more years. That paper may make all the difference one day, when you least expect it and need it most. Plus, a degree isn't gonna get any cheaper than it is now unless the entire edu system is scrapped and rebuilt.

So finish it - get it behind you. With your practical experience, your obvious passion, your proven audio skills, AND a degree ... there aren't many who would be able to compete with you for a decent position.
Old 30th January 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 

You've invested so much already.... for the sake of a bit extra, finish up and then wash your hands of it. Years ago I used to play saxamaphone. I had an alto but loved borrowing my teacher's baritone. I would practice on the baritone until my lips were about to fall off, thinking I sounded like crap because it was almost bigger than me (at the time) and hard to play. But then I would switch over to the alto and shred like I was Dave Koz.... well, in my mind anyway! Point being, working on the harder gear will make you better in the long run.

Anyway.... Where I come from no one gives a rats ass about a degree. Can you pull a good mix? No? NEXT! Can you? Yes? You're hired.
Old 30th January 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 
uncle duncan's Avatar
 

A little OT, but take care of your ears. If you want to work in audio the rest of your life, you'll need them. Being in a nightclub 3 or 4 nights a week is a really good way to ruin your hearing. But you're young. You won't notice it for a while. Trouble is, by the time you do notice the damage you're doing right now, it'll be too late to do anything about it.
Old 30th January 2008
  #19
Gear addict
 
Jayro_Rockola's Avatar
 

I might be barely squeaking by making records I love (or can stand) out of my meager studio now, but I will always have a college degree. Don't stop man, get that piece of paper. Because like it or not, sometime down the road that piece of paper will convince some ******bag to give you a job/loan/daughter's hand in marriage.
I'm sure glad I have mine!
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