Recording Engineer Schools

By: Jerry A. Greene

Question: I have a DigiDesign Pro Tools LE system (DIGI 002) and am going through a few books on the subject of mixing and recording. I wanted to know if there are professional recording engineer schools that teach these methods hands-on. Thanks.

Answer: Although recording and mixing can be learned at home, a hands-on approach, working with an instructors that have experience in the industry can sometimes be worth a lot more than what you pay to attend the classes.

Recording in Pro Tools

Learning the recording process in Pro Tools is not that hard at all. It can generally be learned within a day, or two. If you focus on efficiently setting up your tracks, keeping them organized and learning the different shortcuts that you can use, you can learn to save yourself a lot of time. This is something you can learn in a book, because it is very straight forward. With a little time at the keyboard/mixing console (the DIGI 003 in this case), you will be flying through it!

Mixing Engineer vs. Recording Engineer

Mixing, on the other hand is quite a different skill to learn, especially when you separate it from the "recording" aspect. The job of the mixing engineer is to get the entire song, once recorded by the recording engineer, mixed in a pleasing way in where all of the instruments/vocals are clearly heard and in their proper position in the stereo essence, creating the overall "sound picture" of the song. This is very subjective and can be done by just about anyone, but to do it right and get the song to go from "okay" to "amazing!" takes the skill of an experienced mixing engineer. Getting this "subjective" experience is the reason a lot of budding recording professionals go to a recording arts schools (or learn at home through accredited online universities such as Berklee's home study courses). Through these home study classes, you are able to work one-on-one with a professor, remotely, through email.

LA Recording Schools

Most of the well known schools for recording are located in Los Angeles, California. You can also find some really great schools in the other music hubs, Nashville, New York and Atlanta.

There are some state universities that are starting to degrees in the recording arts. These can prepare you to do everything from becoming a studio musician to production and music publishing/licensing.