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University of Edinburgh MSc in Sound Design - anyone know about it?? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 27th December 2010
  #1
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University of Edinburgh MSc in Sound Design - anyone know about it??

Hello,

This is my first post here in this subforum...

I have been interested in sound design for some time now, and I was considering pursuing a Master's program, such as the above mentioned one offered at the University of Edinburgh. I would love to live in the UK, and the program seems pretty solid and pertinent to my interests. I was wondering if any the users here who work in sound design are graduates or know any graduates from the program. I don't expect any job in this industry to be handed to me, no matter what level of schooling I might have achieved, but it would be nice to hear some feedback from an audio professional working in sound design that completed the program and went to make a career for themselves.

I am also wondering if there are a number of similar programs, especially in Europe, that offer a similar program, ideally one that results in a master's degree.

Here in the states, there are a number of audio schools, including one of the biggest, which happens to be here in my area: Expression College for Digital Arts. This is an all-encompassing program, with a lot of hands-on activity, but it is geared more toward those audio people who are aspiring to engineer music. While I would never turn down an engineering gig, there is not a lot of work considering how many people are looking. I don't want to be one of the hundreds of people that I know who are faced with the reality that the recording studio is evolving to be something much more niche.


So, is there anyone composing or doing sound design professionally (or has been unsuccessful) that went through this program, or went through and can recommend a similar one??

Thanks very much,

Patrick
Old 27th December 2010
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Have a look at the Uni of York. They do an MA/MSC specifically in Post-production; you choose between specializing in visual effects or sound design but all students share some of the modules which means you get a really good sense of the overall process, not just the sound part. They've also just got a completely new building with some really high end facilities, all open 24/7, its awesome.

I'm doing the course at the moment so feel free to PM me if you want some more info.
Old 27th December 2010
  #3
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Dallas Taylor's Avatar
 

Why exactly are you wanting a Masters Degree? If the ultimate goal is to get a job, I say, go get a job now. If you want to work, buy a rig. You'll be no better prepared in 2 years with a Masters IMO. You'll just have a ton more debt. Now, if you want to *teach*, you'll need a Masters.

When I got out of college, I decided to move to LA and get my "Masters" in the real world.
Old 27th December 2010
  #4
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Getting a Master's Degree can be useful in the future if you ever want to branch out and teach. If you have the time and money, go for it!
Old 27th December 2010
  #5
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I did it.

Hi there,

I went to Edinburgh and did this course last year and have just graduated.
Now, obviously there are never any promises regarding jobs-but a masters will open lots of doors that a degree won't.

In regards to the course, I couldn't recommend it highly enough- I think the main great thing about it for me was a building (with studios) that has 24 hour access and always has people working inside it (and I mean at all times!). The course is tailored so if you know what you want to study in particular you could lean towards that and the dissertation is totally open.
The course is heavily centered on sound design for films and games-things like foley and ADR recording, also on using programming languages like Max/MSP to create custom sound design tools.

You work alongside visual digital designers who hang around in the building as well as people doing digital composition and music. I learn't as much from the people hanging about as I did from the course.

There's also plenty of opportunity to do recording just from being in touch with the school-its all about getting stuck in!

I hope that helps. In terms of jobs, I think in the sound industry-doing this masters will def increase your chances! I'm currently starting a business setting up primarily mobile recording services and never would have started this without the experience of the masters!

Good luck with whatever you do!
Old 27th December 2010
  #6
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An aside--I have a cousin who teaches music composition there. If he is an example of the faculty then they are a happening institution. He manages to combine all the erudition of Euro classical music tradition with an appreciation of the new, the non-Western and the non-traditional. If the dept you are looking at is anything like the music dept, then it's worth a close look, I'd say.
I have no idea if a master's degree helps with getting a job in post....?

phil p
Old 27th December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 

Having been involved with quite a few tertiary level institutions I think one of the few ways for an outsider to judge their quality is to look at the experience of the staff and what's happened to the alumni; something you can do on the Edinburgh website. My impression is that if you want to spend a couple of years making Max patches this might be a good place but if you want to do game or film sound design you might be better off just buying some gear and/or getting a job.

As for a "Masters opening doors a degree can't" that's just simply wrong. In my experience (limited to uk) a qualification in some form of sound design may even be a bit of a disadvantage.

Finally, most sound people I've met in England would give their right arms for the chance to work in the US. OK, there are some decent and reasonable budget films made over here - not very many - but they're all done in London. Studying film sound design in Scotland is a bit like doing Polar Studies at the University of Timbuktu. The US is the centre of world cinema - why leave?
Old 27th December 2010
  #8
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Wow guys thanks for opening the discussion here....

Quote:
Have a look at the Uni of York. They do an MA/MSC specifically in Post-production;
Thanks johnathan. I hadn't realized how involved the post department at NYU was, and that is definitely something to consider.

Quote:
Why exactly are you wanting a Masters Degree? If the ultimate goal is to get a job, I say, go get a job now. If you want to work, buy a rig. You'll be no better prepared in 2 years with a Masters IMO. You'll just have a ton more debt. Now, if you want to *teach*, you'll need a Masters.
When I got out of college, I decided to move to LA and get my "Masters" in the real world.
I think your point is valid, DT. I disagree that I'll be no better prepared than if I were to just jump in. I would have the experience of being immersed in an environment of technology and competition that would be invaluable.

I would be familiar with gear that is out of my price range for when I do get an opportunity for myself; I would be able to competitively place myself and my ability within a small sample of people whose drive and talent I'd be up against. I'd be able to get a level of analysis and scrutiny about my work far better than the mere knowledge of whether or not I got the job; there are a lot of reasons to be schooled in the field....the question is whether these pros outweigh the major con - years of debt (and I will admit, my parents are willing to support me to some small extent)...I don't think there is a simple, all inclusive answer. Let me ask; what was this college you got out of and what did you study before your successful move to LA? I studied philosophy with a minor in electronic music.

Also, the ulitimate goal is not merely to get a job. I would love to live in the UK or somewhere else in Europe, for that matter, for an extended period of time. I am really excited by the many and different cultures and proximity of them to each other. The US is a big place

Also, I am really into electronic music (dance and otherwise), and the kinds I'm into are much more popular and lucrative in Europe. Scotland, of course, isn't as ideal, but the program looks good, and I'll be a hell of a lot closer to Germany and France than I am now.

Quote:
In regards to the course, I couldn't recommend it highly enough- I think the main great thing about it for me was a building (with studios) that has 24 hour access and always has people working inside it (and I mean at all times!). The course is tailored so if you know what you want to study in particular you could lean towards that and the dissertation is totally open.
The course is heavily centered on sound design for films and games-things like foley and ADR recording, also on using programming languages like Max/MSP to create custom sound design tools.

...

I hope that helps. In terms of jobs, I think in the sound industry-doing this masters will def increase your chances! I'm currently starting a business setting up primarily mobile recording services and never would have started this without the experience of the masters!

Thanks there Kyle...I am not a big gamer, but designing sound for games is something very interesting to me. I love max msp and programming as well. I'm curious to know what ends up happening to this mobile recording business of yours - keep me posted!


Quote:
Having been involved with quite a few tertiary level institutions I think one of the few ways for an outsider to judge their quality is to look at the experience of the staff and what's happened to the alumni; something you can do on the Edinburgh website. My impression is that if you want to spend a couple of years making Max patches this might be a good place but if you want to do game or film sound design you might be better off just buying some gear and/or getting a job.

As for a "Masters opening doors a degree can't" that's just simply wrong. In my experience (limited to uk) a qualification in some form of sound design may even be a bit of a disadvantage.

Finally, most sound people I've met in England would give their right arms for the chance to work in the US. OK, there are some decent and reasonable budget films made over here - not very many - but they're all done in London. Studying film sound design in Scotland is a bit like doing Polar Studies at the University of Timbuktu. The US is the centre of world cinema - why leave?
Thanks for this reply, it gives me a lot to think about.

In what sense would a qualification in sound design be a disadvantage?

I did know that where I'm from is the capital of cinema, (with, perhaps the exception of Bombay, Indiaheh), but as I mentioned earlier, I am also interested in the oppurtunity to live in a different country, a different comfort zone, and a different environment. I do often consider moving back in with my parents who live in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and am realizing how lucky I am that that oppurtunity is there. I can't see it as a bad thing having a master's in the field if I ever did, and I'm curious about that comment. However, the possibility potential to find work is a justification to pursue this program, or one like it.....I'm not neccessarily seeing as the best possible cirumstance; I just came upon this one, and was hoping that some out there had some other suggestions as well.


So, once again, thanks everyone for your time
Old 28th December 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
Thanks johnathan. I hadn't realized how involved the post department at NYU was, and that is definitely something to consider.
Think you may have misunderstood, I meant York, England not NY!
Old 28th December 2010
  #10
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Dallas Taylor's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
I think your point is valid, DT. I disagree that I'll be no better prepared than if I were to just jump in. I would have the experience of being immersed in an environment of technology and competition that would be invaluable. I would be familiar with gear that is out of my price range for when I do get an opportunity for myself.
You'll get all of the gear immersion + loads of *real* professional guidance in the real world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
I would be able to competitively place myself and my ability within a small sample of people whose drive and talent I'd be up against.
A small sample of students will not give you a real world gauge. I personally don't see the point in spending tens of thousands of dollars to "competitively place myself" in a very false environment. Yes, the buttons and knobs might be the same, but it's not the real world. Brains & ears make things sound great. Tools just help. Surround yourself with the best brains & ears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
I'd be able to get a level of analysis and scrutiny about my work far better than the mere knowledge of whether or not I got the job
I just think you're seeing this backwards. It seems like you're putting more value on the opinions of students and teachers over the opinions and guidance of *real professionals doing the work*. (see brains & ears above)

For example: One the most influential Sound Designers to me while I was growing in my early career was Leslie Shatz, who worked on most of the Gus Van Sant films. Instead of schooling and over-thinking every nuance of what he may have been thinking, I called up the studio he worked for and begged for an Internship I didn't get it, but that was the approach I took with everything and eventually landed a gig at NBC/Burbank, then Fox LA, then G4, then Discovery, then my own biz working on tons of stuff all over.

It definitely was not "just getting a job". I learned more in the first few weeks of my real world work, than I did in hundreds of weeks in college.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
there are a lot of reasons to be schooled in the field..
I totally agree. I have a Bachelors and many certificates from various "audio specific" schools. But, at some point you gotta actually get out there and work. I don't know a single person with a masters in sound design actually working in the field. ..and even if there is one out there, I couldn't even tell you. I couldn't even tell you where any of the hundreds of *amazing* Sound Designers, Editors, Mixers, etc.. I've worked with even got their Bachelors Degree.. if they even got it? It's just not something that matters in the field. Experience matters. What you create, produce and achieve matters. Don't get me wrong, technical training is very important, but moving into a Masters Degree in something like Sound Design starts to throw up red flags to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
Let me ask; what was this college you got out of and what did you study before your successful move to LA? I studied philosophy with a minor in electronic music.
I studied Music (Trumpet)

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
Also, the ulitimate goal is not merely to get a job. I would love to live in the UK or somewhere else in Europe, for that matter, for an extended period of time. I am really excited by the many and different cultures and proximity of them to each other. The US is a big place
Man.. me too. I've got a family to feed though heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickg View Post
Also, I am really into electronic music (dance and otherwise), and the kinds I'm into are much more popular and lucrative in Europe. Scotland, of course, isn't as ideal, but the program looks good, and I'll be a hell of a lot closer to Germany and France than I am now.
Oh.. I figured since this was in the Post Production forum, you wanted to do Post primarily?

Obviously, I don't know you, nor can I evaluate your decisions really. It does kind of sound like you're still trying to figure out the direction you want to go specifically in life. You're clearly a talented dude based off your music on Sound Cloud, but you don't need school to tell you that. However, if you've got the cash and time, go ahead!

I just don't want any students out there to think that they've got to get a Masters to compete, it's just absolutely not true.
Old 28th December 2010
  #11
Gear Head
 

If you're really stuck on studying in Europe then have you considered Berlin? - it's cheap, happening, has a burgeoning post industry and a historical association with sound, also it's the place for electronic (and other) kinds of music.

You'd learn some German too.

Alternatively you could apply for this:

https://www.lucasfilm.apply2jobs.com/ProfExt/index.cfm?fuseaction=mExternal.showJob&RID=2969&CurrentPage=1

I know what I'd do.......

Good Luck!
Old 30th December 2010
  #12
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Thanks again everyone for your time.

Dallas, I actually think you're spot on about many of your observations. Definitely this one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Taylor View Post
It does kind of sound like you're still trying to figure out the direction you want to go specifically in life.
Lol Johnathan, I'll look into it for sure.

Patrick
Old 27th January 2011
  #13
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A masters will help you if you ever want to teach, do forensic or legal consulting work. It also might help you if you are looking for an audio job in Government, corporate security as well as large scale system integration or acoustic design work.

As far as in commercial post-production (film, television, games, etc.) goes, not so much.

That said, not a bad thing to have to fall back on.
Old 29th January 2011
  #14
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If the UK is where you want to go, then regardless of whether you want a Masters or not (though you do get one upon completing the course) then the NFTS (National Film & Television School) in Beaconsfield has to be the #1 place to consider.

Everything about the place is geared up to equipping you with the skills, contacts and experience to work in the industry upon graduation - you're studying alongside Director / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor / Animator / Production Design / Composer / Documentary Maker specialists, all of whom are making several short films a year (and so require sound), so it's nigh on impossible to leave the place without a great looking CV and calling card. A bit of research on the NFTS's alumni will quickly give you an idea about the nature of the place. From the point of view of what you want to study, it's telling that this wee, underfunded place in the middle of nowhere in the UK, has won numerous MPSE Golden Reel Awards for sound. In a nutshell, the Sound department really is world class.

National Film and Television School
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