Part 1: Identifying Individualism
With the extensive journey of Audio Education, students and teachers of all ages and pedigrees, will find themselves directing each other at every second. As we are all Students in this together, the theory presented in these articles, aims at combining the student and teachers perspective, in not so much of a Q&A format, but much more like a Duet, blending each persons unique journey.
The idea that no one really ever stops learning makes this easy. You must fundamentally acknowledge that both the student and the teacher, are always learning from each other. And you must then accept that in order to truly understand knowledge, you must be able to explain that knowledge to others. Preferably in a way that resonates or can be absorbed and comprehended by others.
Student: Where do I begin?
Teacher: At the inception of your training, the only question you be should asking yourself, is that of deep introspective. Ask yourself these simple questions: What is your mission? Where are you headed?
Student: I am interested in everything about audio production and want to learn as much as humanly possible about every last concept there is!
Teacher: Your enthusiasm is exhilarating! Surely, you have certain aspects that drive you to learn? I would encourage you to seek inward towards those things that you are passionate about! Although, if you want to try to tackle everything under the sun, be aware, you will be in for a long ride! I hope you are ready!
Student: I am driven to learn and see where I can fit in! But I want to be a audio engineer, either in the studio, or in a performance space for live sound. I have some experience with MIDI sequencing in Logic and working with my friends bands at their gigs. I am not sure which of these things I like better, but I want to learn!
Teacher: There you go! I would also encourage you to read about Post-Production, Podcasting, Voice Over/ADR, Mix to picture, Mastering, Archival and forensic audio, as well as Music Production. But, if you are already programming MIDI in Logic and running sound successfully for your friends shows, I would say you are off to a great start!
You see, when you ask more about what the student wants to learn, we can guide them into a direction that makes sense. We shouldn’t just throw shiny objects at them. And we shouldn’t let them run off with overly reaching ideas either.
Its our job as educators to figure out their level, and meet them at it.
With all of this audio technology, comes complexity and with complexity comes questions. Now, more than ever, we need to defeat as much noise as we can. In this day and age, “Where the misinformed fight it out, with the uneducated” [Quote: Dave Hecht] we need to fight hard to get back to the real work at hand. Mentoring and Internships are dying in our culture. A lost form, fallen victim to the internet.
The dreaded “gathering information” stage, as I hear often. Its not uncommon for those seeking answers to try and shorten the path of time and effort, through online mediums such as Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. More than ever, we are lacking the real definitive substance to the time we spend learning. The race to the correct answer. One can veer far off the ascribed path and fold themselves into a black-hole faster than you can type the sentence “How to Mic Drums”.
Its simply not enough to read, it should always be accompanied by doing!
Student: I have heard people like to use Ribbon Mics when using electric guitar amplifiers and speakers, but I haven’t tried it myself. Would you say its a must to use Ribbon mics on speaker cabinets?
Teacher: This is absolutely a sought after combination, for many great reasons! But I wouldn’t say “a must”…because that is just one way to operate. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “I haven’t tried this myself” because that is the way you should approach this type of question. Always try things for yourself. You will be surprised how often your own personal preference isn’t in total alignment with the masses.
Believing strongly in each engineers unique aesthetic and expressing it with these intentions is the best foot forward. I am confident you will learn this lesson easily, with access to great tools being so prevalent nowadays. Its not actually the gear that makes this difference. Its the person selecting it.
From the Students viewpoint, he or she just wants to get a running head start into whatever can be possible, with a sole question arising about what others do. That may be great for some people, but probably not most people. It may not be advantageous for them to say, “I was born to do…XYZ” and they might tend to rely on word of mouth over their own instincts and experiences (if any). You will eventually find what they are passionate about, if you ask the right questions. In turn, they will begin to ask all the right questions. You might be able to glean that this student likes guitars. And it would be a good idea to find out why.
To the beginner, everything is new and special. Lets face it, its hard to stay focused in a sea of noise. With part 1 being all about self awareness and individualism, we find even more questions to ask. Take the Thermos for instance. How does it know to stay hot or cold? Hint — what you put into the Thermos, dictates the outcome. We will discuss this and much more in this series of articles regarding the human aspects of learning through mentoring.