The next steps in life can be challenging for a number of reasons, not least of which, simply trying to determine what it is you want to do next rather than what you’re told is right to do. With many students currently receiving their A Level grades or similar this week, it felt prudent to discuss the choices available to you all in this week's blog, carrying on our focus on Growth this month.
So with that said, let’s dive in.
A good choice for those not wanting to carry on learning through a school or college would be to enroll in a course. Courses allow you the freedom to deliver work within your own time, and usually with much less scrutiny compared to learning within a school environment. There’s a lot of universities starting to work closely with various partners who provide courses, such as Berklee College of Music, but there’s also many artists creating their own courses or working with providers to create new ways to teach the fundamentals of music production, composing, and much more specific topics within the sphere of music and audio engineering.
You’ll often find that these courses are referred to as masterclasses or similar, which is a great way of describing them I find as unlike a school, a course will be one overarching topic broken down into more bite size chunks to help you learn faster; the downside is that one course might not satisfy the knowledge you’re after by taking the course in the first place so make sure you do your researching before enrolling in them.
For the most part, you can do basically all courses online from the comfort of your own home, and there’s many topics, artists, and providers to choose from; but to help you find one a little easier, some of the better course providers I’ve found are:
In these 6 options, you’ll find everything from courses made in conjunction with music universities, through to real world artists teaching a range of topics, as well as full mixing tutorials and learning the basics and advanced techniques in how to become an audio engineer or similar.
Mix With The Masters take it a step even further by allowing you to visit their studio in south France, and work with major producers in real life for a week - recently they hosted a seminar with Chris Lord-Alge.
Schools are often the most obvious choice for many when it comes to learning more, and growing your skills within audio. There’s a plethora of colleges and universities across the world, many extremely prestigious and their names hold a great deal of importance within the industry. There’s a range of topics taught within the time you’re studying at these schools, and usually the average time it takes to complete and graduate can range from 3 to 4 years depending on how intense the curriculum is.
The downside of schools is that they’re expensive and the student loans you’ll need in order to fund your education can be astronomical, but the professors and lecturers who teach within the many institutions available are usually extremely talented at teaching and at their craft, so if you decide on this option then the likelihood is that you’ll advance your skills greatly by the end. Another major thing to consider is that many of the people I know who have graduated from their universities have mentioned the large amount of work entailed in achieving their diploma and very limited free time.
In my personal opinion, the issue I have with schools isn’t that they don’t have enough reputation, or that the people that teach aren’t good at what they do; my problem is that I have always learnt better by doing and problem solving. So, when it came to me even completing a college course in music production, I left before even 6 months had passed as it just wasn’t engaging enough.
Communities and Practice
I have been asked many times over the course of my studio being open, which of these options I personally would recommend; and the answer is always the same - Communities and practice. For me, it bodes the best results time and time again and there’s no downside as far as I have experienced in learning in this way.
When I dropped out of my college course, I was determined to learn by myself and by practicing each day, and by solving problems I came across and by doing my own research, watching many how to videos online allowed me to learn while doing far more effectively, efficiently and led to me remembering how to overcome or avoid mistakes much more fluidly the more I practiced. The downside when I was learning was that there wasn’t nearly as much useful information online as there is today and the communities and forums I was a part of were full of egos and poor advice which definitely slowed down my learning.
Produce Like A Pro is ran by multi-platinum producer, and Grammy nominated, Warren Haurt - within the abundance of videos and lessons on the website, you have everything you'll ever need at your fingertips!
Today however, there are some incredible communities online where the people involved are kind, full of enthusiasm and only want the best for you and your skills. JZ is actually involved in many of these communities in one way or another as we believe in what they’re doing day in, day out. 3 that I would highly recommend are:
Each of these communities have both an abundance of resources such as entire mixes to practice within, videos to advance your skills, as well as them being run by some of the best minds in the industry who have worked on countless records many of us know and love. In my humble opinion, if you’re looking for the best option in how to take your next steps in audio engineering, then this would be the one I'd recommend time and time again.
As a last note, if you’d like to learn more about audio engineering right now, you can also check out some of the eBooks I’ve written that will help you straight away! I’ve linked some of my favorites below for you to read, and you’ll be able level up your recordings in no time at all: