GeoJones94
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Hi everyone,

I am a third year Audio and Music Production student at Bucks New uni. If you guys have any questions about the course, the uni or anything in between then feel free to fire away. I should add that I am employed by the uni to promote the course however this does not mean that i'll say anything to get you to join, it means I am here to inform potential applicants.

Anything you want to know then just post and i'll do my best to answer.

Cheers!
George
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uberteknik
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My son wants to study a combined music and music technology degree so these are very serious questions:

Realistically, what are the job prospects and earnings after gaining your qualification?

Is the degree essential to gain a job in the recording/sound industry - or is it a case of internship with a recording studio?

How does one get to become a sound engineer for Wembley or Glastonbury or any big concert venue?

How deep does the technical stuff go?

To what level do you study electronics? i.e. Do you learn how to design DSP's, recursive filters, analogue filters such as Chebyshev / Butterworth / Bessel / Gaussian / state-variable etc. etc?

Does it cover Bode pole-zero realisations, Nyquist stability, anti-aliasing etc?

Do you delve into and understand the maths behind these designs?

How much time do you get on the studio consoles i.e. more importantly - when are they free?

How many students on your course?

I have many more questions, but these will start. Thanks.
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GeoJones94
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(Original post by uberteknik)
My son wants to study a combined music and music technology degree so these are very serious questions:

Realistically, what are the job prospects and earnings after gaining your qualification?

Is the degree essential to gain a job in the recording/sound industry - or is it a case of internship with a recording studio?

How does one get to become a sound engineer for Wembley or Glastonbury or any big concert venue?

How deep does the technical stuff go?

To what level do you study electronics? i.e. Do you learn how to design DSP's, recursive filters, analogue filters such as Chebyshev / Butterworth / Bessel / Gaussian / state-variable etc. etc?

Does it cover Bode pole-zero realisations, Nyquist stability, anti-aliasing etc?

Do you delve into and understand the maths behind these designs?

How much time do you get on the studio consoles i.e. more importantly - when are they free?

How many students on your course?

I have many more questions, but these will start. Thanks.
Hi,

Realistically, what are the job prospects and earnings after gaining your qualification?
-Realistically the job prospects widely vary. The audio industry is made of lots of different jobs. You say your son is more interested in the music/music technology side of everything so the sort of jobs he may be interested in are; studio engineer, producer and to session musician, to name a few off of the top of my head (there are many more). My advice to your son would be to stay open minded at uni and get involved in as much as possible regarding sound. He will have way more job prospects and opportunities if he is interested in all aspects of audio, example- if he is interested in live sound and sound design, as well his music/ music technology then with this new interest are many more job opportunities. Last year I spoke with Dean Humphreys (He's involved in post production sound for film and has done some big films, Taken 2 and 3 and many more) and he said that where as 30 years ago each job would be given to one person- a studio engineer only did that and a location sound recordist only did location sound recording where as now the skills are interchangeable. The fundamentals of sound run through out each area. If you can use pro tools to record a band in a studio then you can use pro tools to record a band in a live environment. When you learn how to mix a band you can then take that skill and apply it differently and work on mixing sound for film and so on. The point i'm trying to make is, learn the fundamentals (which you get taught in detail at Bucks) and you can apply them in most places, this then will get you more job prospects and more income. Just for some quick numbers- generally a student who's left uni with a degree in audio can earn £120-200 a day working as a studio engineer but that is just a rough idea as it all changes depending on the circumstances surrounding the job.

Is the degree essential to gain a job in the recording/sound industry - or is it a case of internship with a recording studio?
- I would say yes it is essential. 50 years ago people would learn on the job and work in a studio and learn by watching (which is still valuable), however times have changed. Employers now what to hire staff who have the technical ability so they don't have to waste time and money training someone. Last week we took a trip to The X Factor studios where we met one of the sound engineers. He left uni with a degree that was related to sound (Can't remember the exact title) and with that degree he then went on to the west end to engineer for We Will Rock You and then went on tour with some big bands, the Prodigy being one of them. Since then he has done the Olympic opening and closing ceremony and now does The X Factor and The Voice. Without the degree he wouldn't have got his foot in the door and been able to go and do as much as he has and is still doing. Another example, our live sound lecturer left Bucks with his degree and started out as a touring session musician for some fairly big acts and then managed to get into the engineer side of things and since then has toured multiple times with big acts, Pendulum and DJ Fresh to name a few. This goes back to my original point, once of a time they would've been trained on the job but now employers want skilled and trained staff. The time of skill and training you get from a degree. Bucks New Uni is James accredited. James is a body that goes around to universities that teach courses related to the music/ audio industry and do a lot of tests to see if what is being taught in the university is up to industry standards. Only around 10% of uni's have James accreditation. This means what Bucks teaches you industry practises so when you leave you can be comfortable and confident with whatever job gets thrown your way.

An important point to consider for the first two questions is that a large amount of jobs within the audio/music industry are on a free lance basis. There is company work out there but generally it is free lance. If someone is putting together a tour then you'll get hired for that tour and after that you need to go and work else where, whether that be another tour or something else. This is why at the beginning I was saying about being open to different things because when you first start, you can't afford to be picky. You might turn down a job doing location sound for a documentary and not get another opportunity. At least if you take the job and do it well you've made contacts. These contacts might also be involved with a music studio and if they know you work hard then when they're looking for staff on a project there's more of a chance of them asking you. There's a saying that is "you're only as good as your last job" so you need to be dynamic and a hard worker. A lot of opportunities come through networking and meeting people in the industry. You need to make a good name for yourself as a hard worker if not you won't get work, it'll be given else where so take the chances you get.

How does one get to become a sound engineer for Wembley or Glastonbury or any big concert venue?
- Big venues such as Wembley won't have their own sound engineer. If the band is big enough to play Wembley then they'll have their own engineer/crew and equipment. To do the big venues you need to find yourself with a big enough act. The same with festivals, the band/ act's engineer will mix for them. This is done through working your way up. Like our live sound lecturer, started off a session musician and through hard work, got a good name for himself and eventually played some of the biggest venues in the world. Some gig venues likes clubs might have a sound supervisor who is in charge of the equipment and who will mix sound for the smaller bands who don't have an engineer but if you want to do big then unless you're extremely lucky, it takes time. Without the degree though then I doubt you'd even get a first opportunity. This goes back to point of being versatile and willing to get involved with what jobs come your way. You might engineer for a small band that grow and play bigger venues but if you turn them down because they're not doing what you want to be doing then you could ruin a great opportunity.

How deep does the technical stuff go?
- The technical stuff goes deep enough to give you a strong understanding of the fundamentals of audio technology. We have a module called the fundamentals of audio technology with covers all of the underlying theory for audio technology that you need to work in the field. This module is taught by someone with a doctorate in some form of audio science (Can't remember the exact title). You cover everything from psycho acoustics to critical listening, how a loud speaker/microphones works, the human ear and even things like how to measure a sound wave. My first day at uni involved making sound waves using equations and then trying to make certain sounds like a bell from the equations. What I will add is that this is a Bachelor of Arts degree, an arts degree is much more focused on how to use the equipment and what it does etc. A Bachelor of Science degree is much more about why something works the way it does and how to fix it and is much more science heavy rather then applying the equipment, a science degree is less creative in that aspect. This doesn't mean that we don't cover the science here because we do, and if you wish to have further lectures on the technical/science behind anything then i'm sure the lecturers will have no problem sorting that out for you.

To what level do you study electronics? i.e. Do you learn how to design DSP's, recursive filters, analogue filters such as Chebyshev / Butterworth / Bessel / Gaussian / state-variable etc. etc?
- We cover some of this in the fundamentals of audio technology and learn why these things work but this would be covered much more in a Bachelor of Science degree in audio. Bucks' course is much more aimed at applying these things rather then fixing them. We have an understanding of how they work but we're interested in applying the technology.

Does it cover Bode pole-zero realisations, Nyquist stability, anti-aliasing etc?
-This is covered in the fundamentals of audio technology and also in the studio module this is integrated when needed.

How much time do you get on the studio consoles i.e. more importantly - when are they free?
-We get a lot of time of the consoles during our lectures and also the studios are now open 24 hours so it's easy to get time in the studios and time on the consoles. What I will add is that the studio consoles are controllers digital which means they are controllers for pro tools. Pro tools is a recording software that is the industry standard and all of the computer suites have pro tools on them so it's even easier to get onto pro tools. A lot of home studios don't have consoles, just a lap top with pro tools. A lot of students have their own copy of pro tools, me included and that makes life so much easier. Talking of consoles for our live sound module we have a mix of analogue and digital desks and we get plenty of time on them in the lecture also.

How many students on your course?
- In the first year we had 60 which was split into 3 groups of 20 which was a good comfortable size to teach with, sometimes our groups where split into smaller groups for lecture activities etc so it worked out well.

I hope I have answered these in a way that is understandable, if you want me to go over a certain point again or have anymore questions then feel free to fire away.

Thanks
George
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Paula_797
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Hi George
I have a qestion. Should I have any experience in music or audio production before I join the course? I mean working with any programmes or recording
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GeoJones94
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Hi Paula,

It'll be helpful if you did have previous experience with recording and mixing music on a digital audio workstation like Pro Tools for example. However, if you don't, it shouldn't be a problem as the first year is used to get everyone to the same ability. In my first year we had a mix of abilities, some people were already advanced with recording and others didn't have much experience. By the end of the first year you'll see an improvement in your knowledge of audio production.

Hope this is helpful
Kind Regards
George
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Paula_797
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Thanks for reply, you reassured me a little, but how is it with musical education? On the site of uni there isn't any information about this, but I guess it's needed. I was learning playing guitar for a year but I don't know if it's enough.
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GeoJones94
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Music theory doesn't really play a role within the course. At Bucks the focus (on the music side) is on the production of music using audio technology. It's helpful if you can play an instrument because quite a few people on the course usually play something so that will create more opportunities to be involved with recording but like I say, it's not essential to know music theory or an instrument. I think I had 1 piece of work that involved a little bit of composition but the focus is on the inputting of midi rather then your actual composition skills.

Hope this makes things a bit clearer.
Kind Regards
George
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