I get emails every day asking if people can come and assist me, and come and work with me to get some experience and things like that. I definitely think that's the way ahead when you're starting out in the music industry. I also get people asking me, whether they should they go to music college rather than trying to get hands on experience. When I very first started mastering in the mid 90s, there was only one audio school called the School of Audio Engineering (SAE), which is still going today. I actually wanted to go to that if I'm totally honest, because I wanted to get out of the 9-5 office jobs that I was doing at the time. I saw it as the only option for me to go there and then that would obviously get me into the music industry. Since the nineties there’s been a lot of changes in the music industry mainly in technology and a great deal of of colleges have sprung up too.
Most of the mainstream universities also have courses. There is a massive amount of education now for the music industry - a lot of people in the music industry say, why are they going to college for the 10 jobs that there are at the end? And in a way, I agree with that, but I think that really it's very much an old school mentality. This definitely used to be the case when there were only a few studios, there was only a certain amount going on…..so when you came out into the music industry there were only 10 jobs. And I think, yes, there probably still is 10 jobs! When I say 10, obviously it's like a thousand or whatever but you get what I'm saying….a small amount of jobs compared to the amount of people that are trying to get them.
However, I don't think that's really the way the mindset should look at education anymore. Higher education and education in audio, in the music industry, in whatever you want to do. So before I carry on, I was always of the opinion of, no, don't bother going to college, go to a studio to get some hands on experience. You're going to learn more. Which was true when I started, but now there are so many offering different courses in a wide variety of different niches. There's no reason when you're 16, in your late teens or early 20s that you shouldn’t go to college… to learn something in an area you're passionate about. When you go to work, you’re best to work in a business that you're passionate about because on those days when, as I've spoken before about, life being like a sine wave, you're in the drop (slow times), you really want to make sure you're in a job that you enjoy, that you're passionate about, that will help you push through, and it will make you want to work every day, and you will enjoy what you do. We're working most of our lives, and we only get one life. So make sure the job is a good job that you enjoy. So should you go?… would I say go to college? Yes I would and I think the only reason I now say that is because there are so many different types of courses to do with the music industry that you can go into. It's great to go there, trying most of them all in one course. Like when you go to school and you do a little bit of science, a little bit of maths, blah blah, and you see which you like. And then as you go into higher education, you follow that stream of the things that you enjoyed when you were in upper school or whatever. So same thing at music college. If you're trying 10 different things, 20 different things, you get a little bit of the business side, you're getting some engineering, you’re getting loads of different aspects of it. That means whichever one sparks you, you can then follow that afterwards. So it might not necessarily be that you want to be a mastering engineer, that you want to be a recording engineer, you might be at college and then get the spark to think, well actually I really enjoy the business side of things.