DIY With DHI: Studio Time
It’s not exaggerating for me to say that each year, there are literally thousands of Recording Arts graduates looking for recording studio time. Here’s one of the biggest questions I get from both students and parents alike: “So…how over saturated is the market for people who do this kind of thing?” My reply is simple. I always try to paint the most realistic picture for anyone looking to break into this industry; tell them it’s not about the number of people all trying to do the same thing. It’s more about who you are as business person, and who you’re willing to talk to that can give you opportunities. In the same way, I always end with my favorite factoid about Dark Horse Institute, and that’s the year’s worth of free studio time available to each graduate of the program. Let me repeat myself just so we’re on the same page. I said:
Every, single Dark Horse Institute graduate has the opportunity to record at the world-class Dark Horse Recording for FREE up to a full year following graduation.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, I was talking about Recording Arts graduates desperately looking for studio time to further hone their skills in a real, working recording studio. So if you’re asking about the market? Well, for the 600 plus graduates that will come out of the “Big Box” recording school this year, the real question is where do they go. Because DHI students? Well, that’s where the rubber meets the road for this audio engineering program. I can speak for myself in saying that just because I spent 8 hrs in a lab on some of the greatest gear on the planet back when I was in recording school, it didn’t mean I could apply it when I graduated. After I moved to Nashville, set up a make shift studio in a 2 bedroom apartment, and took an internship, I didn’t have many opportunities simply handed to me. I certainly didn’t have the opportunity to get in front of gear as an intern of one of the hottest studios in town. In fact, there were many a 10 hr shift spent stealing longing glances as control room doors slowly closed after I changed out the trash bags.
Where am I going with this DIY?
Recording music is a hands-on game. It’s not for the faint of heart or those seeking immediate gratification. I’ve never read it, but I subscribe to the “10,000 hour rule” outlined in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success. His theory is that the key to success in any field, is a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. So you want to win a Grammy and be an “expert” in your field? Put in your 10,000 hours. Want to charge the kind of money that Chris and Tom Lord Alge make mixing more than half the songs you hear in the top 40 on any given day? Find the sign up sheet, son, and put in your hours. That’s it? That’s all? Well, not exactly. Proper training and an absolute knowledge of basics earns you the right to start punching your ticket, but a lot of the big dogs will tell you to immerse yourself in music production. Ask questions. Take people out to coffee. Be relentless! And guess what? If you’ve graduated from Dark Horse (or are thinking about attending…as well you should), you can begin to put in your time at one of the most well known studios in the world – for FREE! So quit complaining about all the rocks in your path. Keep em. In fact, they just might help you get started building your own castle.
Sean Rogers is the Director of Student Services at Dark Horse Institute as well as a seasoned producer and audio engineer. He has over 7 years of career counseling experience and is credited for his work on major label projects for artists such as Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, and more.