College, Music Industry, etc. (Advice and Experiences)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by TheChariot, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Alright... so the situation goes:

    I'm 18, and in my Senior year of High School, I had to do the whole college destination and crap like that. And well... I had plans to aim for a Community College (Cuz we're poor and divorced, like the rest of the nation) to major in Audio Production. That school's located in Rochester, NY, close enough to drive home every day. After that, there's a state school I could have transfered to to complete my Bachelor's.

    Well.... that went to crap. October rolled around, and I was taking a Broadcasting/Production class, and one day we had this woman come in and give us all a presentation for a college. BAM!.... life changed in an Instant.

    Long story short.... I plan on going out of state and moving to Boston in September, where I will attend the New England Institute of Art (Part of the national Art Institute) and take their Associates course in Audio Production. They DO offer a 4-year course... but I dunno if its for me. I can decide that later anyways....

    But.... after Federal Aid, I'm looking at about $40,000 in student loans on my plate. I also won a $5,000 scholarship, but that will hardly make a dent. All of this I'm prepared for... but... the main thing I'm curious of, is how potentially successful I can be.

    Has anyone else taken a gamble and dropped a ton of cash on school like this? I'm sure some of you have... but has it been involved in the music industry? My main goal is to end up in a recording studio as soon as possible. My dream job.... probably to own and operate.... although I'm sure that's one of those "20 years from now" type of plans.

    As far as my dedication to what I want to do... there's no question. This is what's going to make me happy. I just want a job that I can do till I'm old (since I'm guessing my generation will face a mighty tax burden), and I also just want something that I can get up for in the morning and not despise. You know the facts... most people hate their jobs... and I cant be like that. I went through way too much crap in my adolescence to not be happy at work :cool:

    Also, I've given myself as much experience as an 18-year-old can at recording. I recorded my 3-piece band in my basement with a Mackie PA/Mixer, 4 mics and a DI. It took FOREVER because of our lack of equipment, and my persistence on getting a good sound... but I'm proud of it now. I've also done a couple local bands in the area for free, just for a little experience. I invested in some books that seem to be targeted to those at the Amateur level (Paul White) because I'm EAGER to really start learning stuff. Beit in Live Sound, Mastering, or Producing/Engineering.

    But probably my biggest asset is the fact that I act way more professional than most kids my age. I'm not scared to meet the right people and shake the right hands... because that's what gets you places. ;)

    Ok, long post..... but anyways, let me know any experiences any of you have had, any advice you've thought up, or feedback you wish to share. Anything positive or negative I'd love to hear, because I trust a lot of the judgement of people here. Thank you very much :cool:

  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Sounds you're set on what you want to do - seems like you just need to figure out the best way to do it.

    The bane of every college student are General Education (Gen eds) classes. You have to take them to graduate from any kind of accredited program, and they inlclude the basics like English Comp, science classes, history, etc.

    If you're willing to get the legwork done, you can find out if what classes you can take at your local community college that you can then TRANSFER to your new school in Boston. This can save you mega bucks, as you can take anywhere from one to two years of school at your community college, because you won't get into the classes that apply to your major until sophomore or junior year anyway.

    However, you HAVE TO CHECK AND GET IT IN WRITING what classes from YOUR school the other school will take. DON'T ASSUME that because they have a class called "English 1" and your school has a class called "English 1" that it will transfer. You can very easily get screwed if you start assuming what will and won't transfer. (My girlfriend went from one University of Wisconsin school to another - she took it BAD from them. They're in the same school system, but they wouldn't take a whole bunch of her credits!)

    This will involve some long phone conversations with counselors from both schools, but if you're willing to get it done now, you can save your money, go to community college, and then transfer to Boston.

    Get everything in writing! Or you'll be sorry!
  3. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Yeah I thought about that, and they said a lot of stuff isnt transferable. My GenEd classes dont look too horrible anyways. 2 Semesters of English, 1 of Math (Algebra), 1 of Physics, 1 of U.S. History, and I think possibly a Humanities. According to my curriculum, I will begin working at my major in the first semester (2-year program). I believe I have Survery of the Music Industry in the first semester along with a Computer Course for MacIntosh. I DEFINATELY need that, because on the placement exam I knew a ton of crap about Windows, but the Mac portion was just a bunch of educated guessing.

    As for my High School Academics... I was one of those smart kids that didnt try. :p I'd do less than half of my homework, but my test grades were always high enough to bring me to passing. And when a class challenged me (Chemistry, or example) I put in more effort and adjsuted accordingly.
    My Final HS Average was an 81... but I graduated with Honors, because my state exam grades were what counted when it came to receiving honors or not. :smug:
  4. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I feel your pain on the student loan/debt. I got my first bill for Roosevelt, and well.....i'm student loan shopping. Hoping my 'rents let me get a job after freshman year, i'm still going to be in massive debt, but-in order to follow the dream, i gotta be.

    Good Luck man.

    That's all
  5. Is it possible to go out and be a gigging/touring player after college when one is saddled with student loan debt? Surely those guys don't make a ton of money, and schools like Berklee aren't cheap. I'll have $22k to pay off when I finish school. which I hope to get taken care of as quickly as I can so it's not hanging over me forever.
  6. $20,000 a year is big bucks. I would want any kid of mine to make darn sure the school is worth it. Ask to interview some of their graduates. I have a 27 year old son who is making $25 an hour as a diesel mechanic 5 years out of a one year public technical college program that cost him $6,000. The one year program got him a job pushing a broom in a Kenworth dealership and he did the rest himself. OTOH, the son of a neighbor went to a big name private mechanical / technical college for 2 years at $20,000 a year and he is making $12 per hour. Part of the difference is that my son is more assertive, mechanically more adept and works harder. But who got more for their money? You sound like you have a good set of goals and generally have your head screwed on straight. So ask the school to provide you with some references. A good sales person can make almost any product seem irresistable, but you want to know if they will deliver on their promises, both implied and explicit. You are hiring them for the job of teaching you a career. Make sure they can do that job and are worth the salary they are asking for.
  7. Here's another example. After a bachelor's degree in accounting and 15 years in the field, my wife decided that she hated the work and never met a CPA she liked. She wanted to work outdoors. She ended up going to a two year technical college for an Associate degree in surveying. We struggled for several years while she was getting a start in the field and then she discovered a Master's program operated at night at the Colorado School of Mines, 300 miles away near Denver. She got in and spent 3 years working in the day, going to school at night and coming home on weekends. The semester before she graduated she started looking for jobs. She dropped off a resume at an engineering firm about an hour from home and got a call from the principal partner. He asked, "Let me get this straight. You are a licensed surveyor and you are a graduate student at the School of Mines?" When she answered yes, he said he wasn't planning to hire anybody, but he had to talk with her. She is now managing her own department in a dream firm with a dream boss and on her way to partnership. The technical college got her the "grunt" survey jobs. Ambition and hard work got her ahead and then she found the School of Mines. The reputation of that college for producing top quality engineers is so strong that it got her an interview even though the boss wasn't thinking of hiring anybody. He created the position for her after the interview. But without the Colorado School of Mines on her resume, she would never have had the opportunity. Her student loans total $54,000, but we are paying them off at $300 per month for the next 25 years. Actually we'll have them paid off much faster. But I would say the high cost was worth it. Plus the School of Mines is so cool that instead of a piece of paper, her Masters diploma is a Sterling silver plaque!
  8. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I know three guys who have audio production degrees from the same place in Arizona. One of them just got laid off from a music store. One runs sound for a community college. One works with Babyface and is turning down big name touring gigs.

    Who you are is a large chunk of the "is it worth it?" calculation. Is it worth 40k to find out that you're brilliant and effective but people hate working with you or that you aren't willing to put up with whatever abuse involved with paying your dues? Are you ready to duke it out with the enormous amount of people who shoot for audio production after they realize that they can't hang with being a pro musician? Are you fine with the idea of getting your degree and only being able to find work producing music that you hate because it's the only way to pay the rent on top of your loans?

    On the other hand, following your dreams is a great way to avoid regret, and avoiding regret is a great practice to get into early on in life. You're only 18 once and the younger you are, the more easy it is to say "in a year I'll look back on this and laugh".

    I dunno.. I wouldn't do it. But props and good luck to you if you decide to.
  9. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Thanks for all your input thusfar guys. Keep it comin.

    Just last night I drove my friend to a job interview and he got hired on the spot. $9.00/hr, Medical, Dental, good clean workplace, and a not-so-tedious job.

    I got to thinking... with that, I could sit around Rochester, save up money, and start saving for my own studio and learning with my own equipment. It sounds really good sometimes... but I just get to thinking that I'll get sucked into the workforce, and I'll be in that same position for 15 years probably. Chances are, I'd have all the money I need to provide for a family, should that be the way life turns out.... but I just cant see myself wasting what potential success I could be looking at.

    The tecnical know-how... its definately not all there... but for 18, I'm definately teaching myself in the right ways. But the thing that makes me really feel like I have a shot is my personality and professionalism. I write killer essays, put forth intelligent conversations (On almost any topic you can throw at me).... I'm not a "nod and obey" kind of guy... because thats boring.. and when you act like a dud, you get a dud job.

    I saw a few impressive looking resumes from Audio Tech. graduates from the Art Institute, but I havent talked to any graduates directly. Sounds like a cool thing to ask about, to be honest. I'll look into that.

    That's something I came to learn. My admissions officer sounds more like a used car salesman than he does a guy working for an Acredited school. :rolleyes: I play his games, I guess.... but I'm trying to do all I can to not be one of those kids who just jumps off a cliff without asking whats at the bottom. For example, looking for input from TB Musicians.... the idea just popped up, and its already paying off. :smug:

    Share anything you wish! I'm eager to hear it.
  10. The education that you get can never be taken away from you. You can lose your house, car, musical equipment and even your family, but unless you suffer a brain injury, you will still have the knowledge you gain. A college is supposed to provide you a means of getting that education in an efficient and organized manner so that you can learn valuable things quickly and be able to use them effectively. While I am highly sceptical of private technical schools that exist on the basis of the commitments of their students to 15 to 30 years of financial servitude, some of them are excellent opportunities to get ahead quickly. I am not saying don't go to the school. I am saying to make them prove to you that they will do a good job. You are paying the bill, so they are your employee. Make them work for their money.
  11. Don't_Fret

    Don't_Fret Justin Schornstein

    Dec 10, 2003
    East Coast, US
    Yup, great suggestion. That's what I'm doing this year before I go to Boston.
  12. ive done the same thing, except not quite to ur extent. im study audio engineering at a college called SAE, they're world wide so check out their website i think it is. anyway, its a one year course, $9000 AUD, u get cert II and cert IV in audio engineering, and then u can go on to do a degree if u want.
  13. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    They BETTER be worth it now... I just had to get a horribly painful tetnus shot :bawl:

    I probably cant drum for like 2 days now.