Post-Secondary

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Post-Secondary

Postby Nick H. » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:37 pm

In the process of 'Burnsy's ProTools Learning Thread' taking a bit of a detour, I thought a few interesting discussion topics came up, particularly in relation to post-secondary education. Lately I've been curious about what advantages are attainable in audio engineering via schooling in that field. As some of you know, I've never had any formal training in a strict sense, but I feel as though I've learned a lot from spending as much time as I can in a studio, doing work for others and producing my own record. This is likely self-evident; of course spending time working in or around a specific field of interest will yield results, except in extreme cases. That being said, this equation of time spent equating, and proportional to, skills learned, appears problematic to me in practice. I've worked with an intern here that's graduated from Atlantica who objectively knew much less than I did. This is someone who, regardless of setting, spent at least a year of concentrated effort honing these skills. It should be noted that this intern is a remarkably intelligent person who became, to my knowledge, a very useful person during his time at the studio. And yet, conversely, watching Andrew work makes me want to spend the rest of my life enrolled in audio engineering courses because of how profoundly his technical knowledge impacts the final artistic result. Basically, I am trying to reconcile two extremes and obtain some notion of how audio education benefits its students.

Thoughts?
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Christian LeBlanc » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:04 pm

I've already said my bit in the other thread, and don't have anything useful to add here. I do have questions for everyone, though. I believe in general that learning by doing is a better teacher than learning theory in a classroom, without the benefit of practical experience. My question: does Atlantica still provide excellent theory? If so, they would be an excellent resource for someone like yourself who already has a lot of practical experience. Theory on top of practical experience is better than theory without practical experience; without, it's less likely to stick, which could explain why Atlantica graduates don't perform to expectations.

I don't mean to knock Atlantica; I sat in on a class once and learned more about synthesis in one session than I had in months on my own, but again, I had some practical grounding beforehand. Plus Dan is an awesome teacher.

If you ever plan to move to another city, would Atlantica credentials help give you an edge over other applicants for a job? I can't answer that, I can only raise the question.

Instead of Atlantica, would a course on electronics and electricity be a better use of your time? What about physics, particularly as it relates to sound? I guess it all comes down to the best place for you to get Andrew's technical knowledge that you said you wanted. If you're currently taking English Lit, how hard would it be to change your major? Or even take electrical, physics etc. as a minor?
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Alain Benoit » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:40 pm

Christian LeBlanc wrote:Instead of Atlantica, would a course on electronics and electricity be a better use of your time?


It's going to be hard for me to answer this without swearing. So here it goes, Hell yeah!! A two year electronics technology course would be an outstanding asset to anyone wanting to be a recording engineer, add to that a great base in music theory and you'll have a leg up on any Atlantica graduate and skills that could be marketed outside the audio world.

Christian LeBlanc wrote:What about physics, particularly as it relates to sound?


Sure if you want to me more of an acoustician then a recording engineer.

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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:31 am

Alain Benoit wrote:
Christian LeBlanc wrote:What about physics, particularly as it relates to sound?


Sure if you want to me more of an acoustician then a recording engineer.

A.

I would tend to disagree there. Many of those principles help with comprehension of the subject matter you run into with audio as well as music. Being a physics nerd in high school helped me easily grasp many concepts of "sound", audio equipment, and their applications. Wave theory for starters.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:13 am

I was a consistent proponent of people seeking formal post secondary education in audio and production, but now with the situation being as bleak as it is with the recording industry, I don't know if the immediate possibilities when you complete a program are enough to justify the immense financial investment for the better of these available courses. The only area of the business that hasn't shrunken to the extent that recording has is the live production end of things, but if what you are hoping for is a job in a studio engineering/producing.... It just seems so far out of touch with what the market is like, and I don't just mean in our tiny region.

I will say that I'm certain my experience with formal post secondary industry education helped me be as successful as I have. I've never looked back and thought it was a waste, but there's a reason why the overwhelming majority of my business has been in the live end of things. In this market, it was essential for me to go that route in order to be able to make a living and only work in the business and not have to float a day job. I know that things are more substantial as far as a recording industry is concerned in larger centers, but the amount of work is massively outnumbered by the amount of available talent no matter what.

Lastly (for now) I will suggest that if you decide to pursue a program in music/recording business studies, whenever possible attend one of the programs in a major center like Toronto where the industry is substantial. Not only will you have access to a more experienced faculty, which IMHO matters as much as any program structure, but you will have proximity to far more opportunities to meet and work with potential employers once you are finished with your education experience.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:17 am

Nick H. wrote:In the process of 'Burnsy's ProTools Learning Thread' taking a bit of a detour, I thought a few interesting discussion topics came up, particularly in relation to post-secondary education. Lately I've been curious about what advantages are attainable in audio engineering via schooling in that field. As some of you know, I've never had any formal training in a strict sense, but I feel as though I've learned a lot from spending as much time as I can in a studio, doing work for others and producing my own record. This is likely self-evident; of course spending time working in or around a specific field of interest will yield results, except in extreme cases. That being said, this equation of time spent equating, and proportional to, skills learned, appears problematic to me in practice. I've worked with an intern here that's graduated from Atlantica who objectively knew much less than I did. This is someone who, regardless of setting, spent at least a year of concentrated effort honing these skills. It should be noted that this intern is a remarkably intelligent person who became, to my knowledge, a very useful person during his time at the studio. And yet, conversely, watching Andrew work makes me want to spend the rest of my life enrolled in audio engineering courses because of how profoundly his technical knowledge impacts the final artistic result. Basically, I am trying to reconcile two extremes and obtain some notion of how audio education benefits its students.

Thoughts?


Firstly, Andrew went to OIART. The intern you are talking about went to Atlantica. Apple to bananas. Don't let their similar price tags fool you.

Now this isn't about some cheap shot towards the latter; The intern in question is kicking his ass all the way back home for having spent $20K on what amounted to not much of anything tangeable. When Andrew left OIART he had a solid foundation that would serve him well as he began his work in various studios. The intern in question left the other place not being able to to solder to save his life, thinking that his mixes should be sent to mastering peaking at -0.1DBFS, not knowing any key commands in Pro Tools except for the one to consolodate regions and a bunch of other things I can't remember at the moment, but it was pretty bad. He knew it after spending just a few days in the shop with us too. We took him on because albeit whatever he taught (or not taught), he was an exceptionally bright kid and (for the most part) driven kid. Over the course of the 8 months he worked for us, he continued to impress up until the end when personal drama was interfering with his work and eventually he had to move away. He ended up building a 96 point half-normalled TT patchbay pretty much on his own. This was two months after he spent 95 minutes building a fault TRS to XLR cable. His progression in 8 months was for the most part excellent. But can you imagine if he went to OIART for a year instead?

Now Andrew is in many ways not much different than the young intern. Both are highly intelligent, the big difference is that Andrew received a much higher level of education and has nearly 10 years of consistent experience under his belt now. Andrew has both, which is what makes people like him so damn effective in their roles. The real litmus test to the education factor though would have mostly come if you had met Andrew just out of OIART, because by the time you met him I'm willing to bet that the experience factor played a substantial role in terms of what was most impressive to you.

Best analogy I can think of is a house. The education is your foundation and the house is what you do with it. Now whether that education comes from a school, or it is self-taugh is inconsequential, so long as the information is accurate. That is the key, if you go to a "school" that gives you bad information, you are no better than a DIY guy that gets all his information from reading gearslutz. However there are cases of of DIY guys that can literally blow away most schooled guys in terms of sheer knowledge.

That brings me to another example. Alain. He has no "formal" education in the field of either audio or electronics. Yet neither Andrew or Malcolm would be able to fault him in anything related to audio or electronics. So the question is, how would you account for that?
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Alain Benoit » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:49 am

Malcolm Boyce wrote:
Lastly (for now) I will suggest that if you decide to pursue a program in music/recording business studies, whenever possible attend one of the programs in a major center like Toronto where the industry is substantial. Not only will you have access to a more experienced faculty, which IMHO matters as much as any program structure, but you will have proximity to far more opportunities to meet and work with potential employers once you are finished with your education experience.


That more than anything else was the key to Keith's early successes.
He will tell you that it was all about making contacts.

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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Alain Benoit » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:53 am

Mathieu Benoit wrote:That brings me to another example. Alain. He has no "formal" education in the field of either audio or electronics. Yet neither Andrew or Malcolm would be able to fault him in anything related to audio or electronics. So the question is, how would you account for that?


I am truly an autodidact but I would jump at the opportunity even this late in life to go to college for two years and study electronics engineering. Unfortunately I cannot take that much time of work to go to school, I would loose my house.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:23 pm

Alain Benoit wrote:
Mathieu Benoit wrote:That brings me to another example. Alain. He has no "formal" education in the field of either audio or electronics. Yet neither Andrew or Malcolm would be able to fault him in anything related to audio or electronics. So the question is, how would you account for that?


I am truly an autodidact but I would jump at the opportunity even this late in life to go to college for two years and study electronics engineering. Unfortunately I cannot take that much time of work to go to school, I would loose my house.


If I won the lottery, I'd be a perpetual student. I'd have a doctorate in astrophysics and a degree in classical composition.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Burnsy » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:17 pm

When I get a chance to rant and rave, I will. Currently trying to study. Trying.... drool
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Burnsy » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:42 pm

I think an important thing to consider, is why the individual is going to school in the first place. The obvious answer would be, to get full time employment after graduation. The other obvious answer is to seek knowledge and skills in an area of desired employment, or something you enjoy doing. And then there are a plethora of other responses... and I fall into this category.

I am selfishly taking Audio Engineering at school, and paying a hefty sum for it..... because dammit, I want to. And I'm also taking this because I have something to prove to myself, to people who believe in me, and especially people who never believed in me. If I graduate from school, with the ability to sonically craft my material how I want to, then I have acheived my goal. I will be able to create my own music, sounding good, until the day my ears die on me. If this allows me to sell records, or get clients, or work from home, or work in a "real" studio, or a live environment, then to me.... it's all icing on the cake. This training is something I will always have, like being able to swing a hammer, or cook a fantastic meal, or open the guts of an engine, and tweak it..... just the way I like it. This is my foundation, and if it serves only me, I have accomplished what I have set out to do. Now, I have intentions of working with other people, and being successful in the field.... but in my own personal circumstances... just having the opportunity to be in school again is a major humbling experience. Many years ago, I wrote myself off... my passions and my abilities. So this.... not to get all weirdy.... is a rebirth for me. And I am a proud student, also mature....34 years old, and at least 14 years older than everyone else in my classes... But this is my circumstance, and these are my reasons for going to school, and I accept them, and i am thankful for them. Some may call me foolish, or outlandish, selfish, or not very future-oriented. But with all due respect, I don't care. It's my life, and I owe this to me.... so here I am.

I didn't have the possibility of moving to Ontario, or some other Central location, so I took what was available to me, given my personal circumstances. I've had the desire to be able to record, and mix, and master my own material for a long time (with the help and community of others of course). I have albums worth of songs, and I've always wanted to create my own works, and be proud of them. So schooling for me...right here...right now, is the next step for me. And I am doing the best I can. What's next.....I'm not sure. And that's ok with me.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:52 pm

Tom. I know a bit about you, and I can say that you are doing what you are doing for honest and correct reasons. You will most certainly feel a great sense of accomplishment afterwards and your confidence in everything you do with what you've learned will be substantial.

I look forward to us catching up, and hopefully collaborating on something creative in the near future.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Christian LeBlanc » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:55 pm

Wow, you're me, only with guts!

Sounds to me like you're doing the right thing. If you're training to do what you'd like to do if you didn't have to do anything, then it sounds right to me.

Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...I'm 33 and still can't answer that yet. Choosing your educational path at that age, without the benefit of experience, doesn't work out for everybody.

Best of luck on your exams, Burnsy!
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:02 pm

Christian LeBlanc wrote:Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...I'm 33 and still can't answer that yet. Choosing your educational path at that age, without the benefit of experience, doesn't work out for everybody.

I'm one of the lucky ones that felt a calling for the line of work that I went on to pursue very early in life. It was hard for me to understand how so many didn't/don't at the "graduation" stage of their life, and I think that says something about our society as a whole.

In grade 12, I was told two things about wanting to get into the music biz. It's impossible to get into that, regardless whether you have a formal education or not, and if you happen to get through that, you certainly won't be able to work in this area. How do you suppose that worked out?
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Burnsy » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:32 pm

Malcolm Boyce wrote:Tom. I know a bit about you, and I can say that you are doing what you are doing for honest and correct reasons. You will most certainly feel a great sense of accomplishment afterwards and your confidence in everything you do with what you've learned will be substantial.

I look forward to us catching up, and hopefully collaborating on something creative in the near future.


Thanks Malcolm, and I agree. I'm very glad to have made this decision for me. So very very long awaited really. I'm certain our paths will cross in the future.
Christian LeBlanc wrote:Wow, you're me, only with guts!

Sounds to me like you're doing the right thing. If you're training to do what you'd like to do if you didn't have to do anything, then it sounds right to me.

Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...I'm 33 and still can't answer that yet. Choosing your educational path at that age, without the benefit of experience, doesn't work out for everybody.

Best of luck on your exams, Burnsy!


Sometimes it takes a really rude awakening to make things happen, to make critical choices, as was in my situation. And taking the risk, for better or for worse, is a decsision I had to make. So, I'm fortunate, I really have nothing to lose. Thank you for your well wishes. 1 more day of work, then a few to breathe easy.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Burnsy » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:40 pm

Malcolm Boyce wrote:
Christian LeBlanc wrote:Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...I'm 33 and still can't answer that yet. Choosing your educational path at that age, without the benefit of experience, doesn't work out for everybody.

I'm one of the lucky ones that felt a calling for the line of work that I went on to pursue very early in life. It was hard for me to understand how so many didn't/don't at the "graduation" stage of their life, and I think that says something about our society as a whole.

In grade 12, I was told two things about wanting to get into the music biz. It's impossible to get into that, regardless whether you have a formal education or not, and if you happen to get through that, you certainly won't be able to work in this area. How do you suppose that worked out?

(lap. Sometimes the people who are supposed to "know" and guide you in your life or career, are the ones who have no sweet F'n clue what they're doing...or how to truly help those who are "outside the box."
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby macrae11 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:08 pm

Well I've been meaning to post in this thread since I saw it but wanted some time to sit down and do it right. In the mean time most of my points were already very eloquently stated, but I'll chime in anyways.

First off there is no stock right or wrong answer. I'm very pro education, both from a student and an instructor point of view, but I understand how it's not the right move for everyone. I think there are two basic reasons to get an education, 1 to get a job, and 2 to better yourself as a person. Whether that's learning a new skill, learning about yourself, or honestly the most critical step learning how to learn. So few people coming out of high school know how to learn. Sure they might know how to ingest some information and regurgitate it back out again, but really learning is a whole nother topic. It's not something that's easy to teach either because everybody learns differently. I teach the way I would like to be taught to, which means some people don't get as much as maybe they could out of my class. I do try to spread my style around as much as possible because I'm sure no one learns quite like me, but my personal preferences still come through.

For your situation Nick I'm pretty certain you know how to learn, which makes you much more flexible.

There are people like Burnsy though, who seems to know how to learn but knows that he learns best in a structured classroom environment. So school I'm sure is the right place for him, but I'm sure he would do fine with or without it. I think it's pretty self explanatory if you want to learn for self edification. While in a practical sense you do have to plan for such an endeavor, as long as you get to the finish line alive you've essentially accomplished your goal.

So brass tacks then, to get a job. When I was in Grade 12 I was much like Malcolm and knew what I wanted to do with my life. Had no idea how to get there, but knew what I wanted. (Actually my first goal was to work in broadcast for TSN, Maple Leaf Entertainment etc. Never happened but that's neither here nor there.) I randomly walked into my guidance counselors office, whom I'd never met before, and while filling out a "job survey" saw a poster for OIART on the wall. Fate much? I didn't even really get the big picture then but in that situation it really comes down to money. Option A: work/volunteer at a job/internship, learning as I go until I know enough to get the job I want. Option B: Go to school, graduate and hopefully land the job you want, or at least start a little higher up the food chain. If Option B >= Option A in terms of time and money it's a no brainer, go to school. If Option A is faster and you have more money in your pocket at time you get your job, you have to weigh how important the first two things I talked about are.

One last thing that everyone going to school needs to remember is that graduation is not the finish line, it's just barely into the race. You've got a head start on people who didn't get an education, but that doesn't mean you'll stay in the lead. It's not like a teachers degree where you wait in line with your degree for the first applicable job to open and then ride out the rest of your career. Not saying teachers do that, but it's an option. Doesn't work in this industry.

One last caveat, all of the above scenarios involve competent educational institutions and people who are hard working and dedicated to their craft. Students who are just looking for creative ways to fill time and spend their parents money need not apply.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby macrae11 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:24 am

An addendum to last nights post. My opinion of post secondary education has skyrocketed and I now think everyone should go to school regardless of everything I wrote above.*

*This has nothing to do with the bottle of Bowmore Scotch that my graduating class surprised me with this morning. Time to step up your game Burnsy! :twisted: j/k
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Alain Benoit » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:39 pm

Christian LeBlanc wrote:
Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...



Not only did I always knew what I wanted to do from a young age, by my mid thirties I had exceeded my every dream.

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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby macrae11 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:49 pm

Alain Benoit wrote:
Christian LeBlanc wrote:
Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...



Not only did I always knew what I wanted to do from a young age, by my mid thirties I had exceeded my every dream.

A.


Yeah but when your dreams are limited to eating 3 bags of Cheetos in one sitting it's not really that big of a deal. :-P

Seriously though I'm basically in the same boat. Life's certainly taken me down some different roads that I wouldn't have guessed, but the destination is where I really wanted to be.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:56 pm

macrae11 wrote:
Alain Benoit wrote:
Christian LeBlanc wrote:
Noone (ok, mostly noone) finishes high school knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up...



Not only did I always knew what I wanted to do from a young age, by my mid thirties I had exceeded my every dream.

A.


Yeah but when your dreams are limited to eating 3 bags of Cheetos in one sitting it's not really that big of a deal. :-P ....
It's seriously a good thing I didn't have a mouth full of coffee when I got to that...
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:00 pm

Burnsy wrote:I think an important thing to consider, is why the individual is going to school in the first place. The obvious answer would be, to get full time employment after graduation. The other obvious answer is to seek knowledge and skills in an area of desired employment, or something you enjoy doing. And then there are a plethora of other responses... and I fall into this category.

I am selfishly taking Audio Engineering at school, and paying a hefty sum for it..... because dammit, I want to. And I'm also taking this because I have something to prove to myself, to people who believe in me, and especially people who never believed in me. If I graduate from school, with the ability to sonically craft my material how I want to, then I have acheived my goal. I will be able to create my own music, sounding good, until the day my ears die on me. If this allows me to sell records, or get clients, or work from home, or work in a "real" studio, or a live environment, then to me.... it's all icing on the cake. This training is something I will always have, like being able to swing a hammer, or cook a fantastic meal, or open the guts of an engine, and tweak it..... just the way I like it. This is my foundation, and if it serves only me, I have accomplished what I have set out to do. Now, I have intentions of working with other people, and being successful in the field.... but in my own personal circumstances... just having the opportunity to be in school again is a major humbling experience. Many years ago, I wrote myself off... my passions and my abilities. So this.... not to get all weirdy.... is a rebirth for me. And I am a proud student, also mature....34 years old, and at least 14 years older than everyone else in my classes... But this is my circumstance, and these are my reasons for going to school, and I accept them, and i am thankful for them. Some may call me foolish, or outlandish, selfish, or not very future-oriented. But with all due respect, I don't care. It's my life, and I owe this to me.... so here I am.

I didn't have the possibility of moving to Ontario, or some other Central location, so I took what was available to me, given my personal circumstances. I've had the desire to be able to record, and mix, and master my own material for a long time (with the help and community of others of course). I have albums worth of songs, and I've always wanted to create my own works, and be proud of them. So schooling for me...right here...right now, is the next step for me. And I am doing the best I can. What's next.....I'm not sure. And that's ok with me.


I'd hire you based on this post even.
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:12 pm

I knew what that I wanted to be involved in music since the age of 14. My guidance councellor though that to be unwise. I moved to Boston shortly after my graduation, and then I came back and studied mech. tech. at NBCC. Great program, I aced it. For one semester. It wasn't for me. I went on the road with a band for the rest of the time my friends were going to college and university. I learned a lot about the real world that way, all the good and the bad. Stuff I would've never learned in school.

Once I was done with that I settled in to SJ and got a good government salaray job, and then I started slowly rebuilding my ambitions from there. Doing anything relating to audio production was never my intention until just recently.
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby Nick H. » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:04 pm

Does the actual post-secondary certification, not the experience incurred along the way, have much bearing on how employable a person is?
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Re: Post-Secondary

Postby macrae11 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:19 pm

Depends on what employment you're seeking. If you're looking for a corporate audio gig like say CBC(don't bother) it would have some relevance. For average mid-sized recording studio, not really. Typically having a sheepskin will generally give you 30 seconds to prove yourself worthy of a job instead of the typical 15 seconds not having one gets you.
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