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Choosing the Right School for Recording Arts

Posted on December 4th, 2012 by Jenny Frankel

After you’ve done your preliminary search for recording arts programs in the US, the next step is to figure out which schools to apply to. There are several important things to consider when choosing the right school for recording arts, but some thing are more variable than others. This list provides some general tips for choosing among your top schools for recording arts and ultimately applying to the right recording arts program for you.

Things that Are Fairly Common

• State-of-the-art Facilities

Most recording arts programs know that the multimedia industry is constantly evolving and to fall behind technologically is to become irrelevant. Thus, schools with top recording arts programs will all feature facilities, hardware, and software that measures up to current industry standards.

• Hands-on training

There are hardly any careers in recording arts that don’t involve some sort of hands-on interaction with both hardware and software. Accordingly, most recording arts programs feature heavy emphasis on learning the tools of the trade by actually engaging with those tools. Some programs may start out with some textbook teaching, but they move quickly into direct application.

• Professional development

Since recording arts is considered a skilled trade, most schools that offer degrees in recording arts recognize that professional development is essential for transitioning from school to a career, or for moving up within a field. When choosing the right school for recording arts, know that all programs are geared toward developing the communication skills, technical skills, and creative skills necessary for direct immersion.

Things that Vary

• Curriculum/Emphasis

While some of the core elements of recording arts—such as basics of sound editing and acoustics—are common to all recording arts programs, when considering the right recording arts program for you, you should take a look at the specific curriculum and program emphases. Most schools with recording arts programs allow you to view relevant courses and course progression timelines that allow prospective students to see what they’ll likely be taking. Some schools are focused on the music aspect of recording arts, some are focused on film and television, and others value engagement with other related fields like communications or business management.

• Faculty

When choosing the right school for recording arts, you should definitely look into who will be teaching you. Some schools have faculty that have spent their life in education, training people in the field. Other schools employ professionals in the various recording arts fields to teach subjects they’ve lived out in the real world. It’s good to do a little research into faculty members in a given program to see if their professional life features experience in areas you’d like to study. Learning the ins and outs of television sound mixing is one thing, but being able to listen to someone who was a professional television sound mixer takes your educational experience to a higher level.

• Location

Though a recording studio and a computer lab can be set up just about anywhere, location can be important depending on what you want to get out of a program. The right recording arts program for you would ideally be in an area of the US with significant opportunities for real-world learning. In other words, if you want to jump into the entertainment industry, schools located in central Florida like Full Sail University or southern California offer prime opportunities for experience and networking.

• Alumni

Many schools with programs in recording arts are quite proud of their alumni and publicize their successes. Though this should always be taken with a grain of salt, with very little research you can find out where people in your desired career field received their education and apply accordingly. If possible, you should try contacting alumni to get some insider information on their experience in a recording arts program.

• International Student Services

Finally, for international students, choosing the right school for recording arts may depend on the international student services available at a given school. Always check a school’s website or contact the school directly to see their policies and amenities offered to international applicants.

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