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How to Become a Recording Engineer

Posted on March 6th, 2013 by Jenny Frankel

recording engineering162233223Becoming a recording engineer takes talent, practice, time, and a good deal of luck. Part of the key to a successful career is just being in the right place at the right time.

To become a recording engineer, one must begin with a love of music, preferably a wide variety of music. Studios are less likely to hire applicants who limit themselves to a specific genre of music. Recording engineers are the kind of people who can spend hours listening to music and trying to determine what makes a successful song. Many recording engineers are themselves musicians, which helps them to establish how to record the best possible sounds for their clients.

In order to become a recording engineer, an understanding of the use of basic studio equipment and computer programs used by recording engineers is a must. Though a recording engineering degree is not strictly necessary to become a recording engineer, enrolling in a recording engineering program is the best way to gain hands-on experience working with equipment in a studio, which established recording engineers agree is the only way to learn. Many recording engineering programs at colleges and universities also aid their students in finding internships at recording studios.

To become a recording engineer, one has to be willing to begin at the very bottom and work their way up. Generally, this means starting out as an intern or assistant engineer. Interns are required to take care of office administrative duties as well as help to set up and take down the equipment for recording sessions. Assistant engineers are in the studio alongside the main recording engineer, there in case the engineer needs last-minute adjustments in the studio or help working with a client. Eventually, an aspiring recording engineer will reach the point where he or she will feel ready to hold their own in a recording session. Generally, this happens in one of two ways: either the studio manager will allow the aspiring recording engineer to use the studio’s downtime to record his or her own music (in some cases, this is offered in place of payment for services), or the aspiring engineer will arrive at work only to find that the engineer can’t make it in, and will have to take over the full-time engineer’s duties.

Recording engineering is not an easy business in which to become successful, but it is a highly rewarding one. In time, talent, effort, and an enthusiasm for hard work will pay off.

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