A few months back, I played a gig and the guy running sound was going to refuse to give me a sound check and was just going to ‘mix us on the fly on the first song’ like I know a lot of soundmen do.
BUT IT’S WRONG.
Do NOT sacrifice your first song as an experiment for the sound(wo)man to get their shit together. No. Don’t do it. I don’t care HOW qualified they are and I don’t care if you use a ‘throwaway’ song for your first song…it’s not ok to play a full song at a performance and have it sound like shit while (s)he’s trying to “dial it in.”
It took two of my male band members going and talking to him, after I originally asked for a sound check, for him to cave and dial in the damn kick drum and amp levels before we started. Anyway, I must have impressed him during the performance or something, because he stopped being a douche and came up to talk to me while I was wrapping up my cables and putting my guitars away. He told me he was an awesome sound engineer and wanted to record me in his studio. I told him thanks, but I do that stuff myself in my own studio.
I told him that I even went to college to learn how to do all that stuff. I tried to hold my ground, but then I said something “stupid” – “Actually, nowadays you can learn how to do almost all of the stuff I learned in recording school on YouTube tutorials. There’s such amazing communities to learn things from other people for free, or for cheap if you join their virtual classes. It’s really cool.”
Then he answered saying he was attending..or going to attend?? (I forget) a four year university for recording. Then said, “Believe me,” (which is where I should have stopped him…”believe me” – it’s like saying, “TRUST ME…” which is exactly what you shouldn’t do.)… “Believe me, you don’t want to learn audio recording from YouTube tutorials.”
And then I was completely aware about exactly how much this guy was full of shit. You can learn recording techniques from some of the TOP producers in the WORLD. They have tutorials and online master classes and communities to virtually join. There are 13 year old kids in their basement that can run ProTools or Logic better than people running million dollar studios.
For REAL though. WHO CARES WHERE you learn your information from. Are you capable of adapting to your situation? Are you able to keep learning? Are you able to find the answer when you’re stuck? Are you able to admit that your schooling isn’t the end-all solution to your knowledge and skills?
I knew this guy was full of shit, but it still made me feel a little inferior to him. He basically was discounting all the knowledge I gained from watching tutorials online. I didn’t have time to explain to him how I have absolutely no training in graphic design, yet I’ve been a professional designer for a decade and am now running a business doing graphic design because I read books and watched tutorials, and still do on a daily basis. He was too busy running his trap about the $50,000 console he needed to buy to start his recording studio. Your sound can still suck even if you have the nicest gear in the world, dude. Watch some YouTube tutorials.
All that said, I am SOOOO proud of myself, and relieved that this is the first month that I have NOT had to make a college payment since 2007. I have paid off my two year degree from recording school that taught me, well…it didn’t teach me anything that you can’t learn on YouTube nowadays. And I, unlike the dude in my story, am perfectly secure in admitting that.
I’m now college debt free and am still learning every day, and learning new information faster than having to sit in classes lasting three or more hours at a time.
Go to school if you want. It’s the right thing for a lot of people. Some career paths are absolutely reliant on getting ‘proper’ training. I’m not saying don’t go to school – that’s bullshit. What I AM saying is – formal education is awesome and amazing for some people. But for the rest of us – especially in the creative fields – we can still be awesome and amazing and be self-taught and create masterpieces from, quite literally, nothing. We have overwhelming vision and passion and drive. We get what we want. We don’t need a certificate or a diploma to tell us we have permission to create. We just do. Cuz it’s what we were created to do.