How To Become a Successful Audio Engineer, Producer or Musician.
Updated April 29, 2019
In this video, Steve Lamm, Grammy winner and former Audio Engineering Instructor at Dark Horse Institute, discusses the fundamentals of starting your career in the music business.
So you want to be an audio engineer, musician or music producer? Do you want to help others create their music or learn how to improve your music? In this episode Steve discusses education, getting your first job, and how important attitude is in building your music career. Starting a career can seem an impossible feat however by focusing on the task at hand… the session, loving what you do and knowing when to switch hats (something Steve obviously loves) you too can follow your dreams. See Full transcript below.
Steve Lamm: So you want to be an audio engineer? You want to be a producer. You want to be a musician. How are you going to go about it? Well, it’s going to take a lot of hard work but I can tell you it is definitely worth while work. It’s a fun industry and it’s a great thing to be creative as a way of life. Why do you want to be an audio engineer? To be a producer? Is it because you love music and you want to help other people create the best music they can create or is it because you want to get really good at producing and engineering your own music?
Well, both are great reasons but they’re very different reasons. How do you get into this industry? Well, for a long time the only way was really to just knock on doors until somebody let you work for free for a long time. Then, you could finally get a chance to sit in front of the console. Today, it’s a little bit different. There’s a lot of opportunities including Dark Horse Institute where you can get a real good education on the basics of audio engineering. So, then what? Well, interning is a great place to start. Working in a studio for free people go, “I don’t want to work for free.” You’re not. You’re being paid in experience and that is invaluable.
So what’s the audio engineer do? They get the great sounds. They make sure everything sounds up to snuff according to the producer and they don’t say much. They’re very quiet. They do their job and they are great with their ears, listening, making sure everything is being recorded properly and sounds amazing. So what’s the second engineer do? They assist the first engineer, so that means a lot of microphones set up, setting up mic stands, patching the patch bay, moving stuff around, getting ready for the session. There’s a lot of great learning here and it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy getting to know the equipment, the patch bay and the studio that way.
So how do I get those jobs? Starting off interning. Impressing people with your ability as an intern and as always, being a great hang. Working hard, making an impression as an intern is going to get you that job. As an engineer it means we got to be quiet, watch what’s going on, be ready. We’ve got to have stuff ready in advance. We’ve got to learn. We’ve got to soak in as much as we can without being obnoxious. If you have a question, write it down, ask it later. We got to stay of our phone. Don’t look at your phone, put it aside, focus on the session.
Outside the studio, live, breath, drink music. Listen to music, listen to music. Make sacrifices, keep your financial obligations low. If someone offers you an opportunity, be able to take it. Live cheaply, but make sacrifices where you can have a place to set up your computer and your speakers, so you can work and listen to music. Collaborate, especially if you’re a musician. Work with as many other people as you can. They’ll make you better and you’ll make them better and it’s great networking. Also, read, investigate, study. Gearslutz is a great resource, industry magazines are a great resource, even YouTube is full of great stuff, we’re on here.
But most importantly, have a great attitude. Fall in love with helping other people achieve their dreams and your dreams will be achieved before you know it. It’s amazing how it works but it does work that way, dig in, love what you do, be good to other people, and before you know it, you’ll be living your dream.
Want to know if you’ve got the stuff to be a successful Audio Engineer? Call us to set up a tour of our studios and classrooms, or attend an Open House. Our instructors are award-winning professionals with credits out the proverbial wazoo, and our gear is made up of over $1,000,000.00 worth of industry-standard, state-of-the-art, analog and digital tools. Study Audio Engineering at Dark Horse Institute and start making your dreams come true.
If you found this video helpful then don’t forget to check out other Dark Horse Institute Tech Tuesday videos for more tips and tricks on mastering your music production skills. Interested in How To Record A Full Band For The First Time? We will show you how in minutes!