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Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 | 7 comments

Life Lessons and Audio Education

Photo belongs to Vancouver Film School, used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Photo belongs to Vancouver Film School, used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Guest Contribution by April Tucker

Having a degree in audio can be a double-edged sword. This was a lesson I learned after one of my earliest interviews, not long after completing my Master’s Degree (in Sound Recording). I was new to Los Angeles and interviewing for part-time tech work. It seemed to be going well until the interviewer said, “I don’t even have friends with Master’s Degrees… why would I hire someone with one?” I had just been discriminated against for having a formal education.

There’s a lot of lessons about working in entertainment (like that one) that you hear about and prepare for, but you can’t really process until you experience it yourself. Another example is being out of work. Even if you’re financially prepared, nothing can prepare you for the mental game that happens when you’re going through it the first time.

Given that our field is very experience-driven, one might ask, what’s the point of formal audio education? As someone with two audio degrees (and ten years in the field), I can confidently say that there is value in some audio education; students can practice, experiment and fail in ways that you can’t do in a job. There’s skills that can be learned faster through focused learning or practice (like technical ear training, acoustics, or electronics). My concern with audio programs is that they tend to be too focused on teaching niche vocational skills (like large format consoles and microphones), or too short for a well-rounded audio education.

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Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 | 0 comments

It Never Ends…

Photo by Matylda Czarnecka. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Photo by Matylda Czarnecka. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

First off, happy new year to all of our readers!

We’re going to kick this year off with a slightly different topic. We’re going to take a look at education. There will be some discussion of academic programs certainly, but that’s not necessarily the sum total of this topic. I know that personally, I’ve learned far more since finishing my “formal training” than I did during it. The courses I took certainly got me started and greatly affected the way I’ve approached my career, but it’s important to realize that your education never ends. Well, maybe it does, but it shouldn’t. Folks progress to the head of our field by shutting their brain down once they’ve got a piece of paper. The really good practitioners, and this is true in any field, continue to train, experiment and challenge themselves throughout their career.

So, what do you do to step up your game?

…and that’s not a rhetorical question. If you’re not new to the site, you probably already know that we always encourage and welcome guest contributions from the community. If you’re interested in adding to this month’s discussion, contact [shaun {at} this website].

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Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 | 2 comments

New Training Materials for Game Audio in Unity

9780415706704Focal Press has recently released a new book on game audio entitled The Essential Guide to Game Audio. I know what you may be thinking, “Aren’t there already enough books on game audio?” This is a worthy addition to the plethora of learning materials already on the market. It fills a gap by focusing on game audio in the Unity Engine. It’s also co-authored by two well respected practitioners/educators: Steve Horowitz and Scott Looney. They were not content to just publish a book though. No, they had to go all transmedia on this topic.

Two other items have launched alongside the book. The first is a free iOS companion app. Well worth checking out even if you aren’t going to pick up the book; though I imagine you’ll get more out of it when the two are used in tandem. Additionally, the authors have launched a new website: Game Audio Institute. The site is just getting off of the ground now, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the coming year.

If you’re currently learning game audio, or are considering it, you’ve got some new tools to add to your training arsenal.

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Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 | 1 comment

Online Sound Design Masters Programme Now Available

Possibly a first of its kind*, Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, UK, is offering an online Masters degree course in Sound Design. The MSc is offered as an 18-month part-time package, with all course lectures delivered via distance learning. The programme is particularly keen to encourage applications from industry professionals (however you choose to interpret the term), giving them the opportunity to combine theoretical enquiry with contextual practice. Participants can choose to study for just the Postgraduate Diploma (Year 1), or continue with the MSc in Year 2, which involves completing a Masters dissertation. With modules such as Advanced Professional Practice (APP), the course is setting its sights on those who already have at least some degree of professional experience within the industry.
This course could be for you if you are:
• involved with sound design and wish to gain a greater understanding of the subject
• involved with sound design and would like to gain postgraduate qualifications in the field
• In sound production but wish to move into sound design
Entry is possible in September, January or May, and those interested in finding out more can choose from a multitude of ways to contact course leader, Dr Iain McGregor:
• Skype: iainpetermcgregor
• Twitter: @SoundDesignMSc
Not to mention the more conventional email ( and telephone (44 131 455 278).
*If it isn’t, let us know!
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