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Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher'

 
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HT
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 19 Jun 2012
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:51 pm    Post subject: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

Dear Tape Op-

I am an engineer, producer, and composer of 10 years. I also manage a recording studio that is wonderfully built and gorgeous. We have an SSL and all sorts of great gear. All of this- and I have had a wonderful run recording plenty of Chicago Indie rock bands and some commercial stuff.

I need help though. I would like to go to the next tier of recording. I have recorded indie groups that get recognition with my recordings- but I wonder what I need to go further? What does it mean to go further? The next level to me, means, the national / international level of artists- however- I feel like who ever can teach me- might have a better idea of what "next level" means for me.

I have listened to all of the Pensado's places. I have read tape op for 8 years. I have read books and more. I feel like having someone to talk to will help me with this though.

Can you help me?

My website is:
www.jonathanalvin.com
My e-mail is:
jonathan.alvin.sound@gmail.com

A funny story:

I recently was at a panel where a producer / engineer who worked on many many great albums was speaking. He said one of the things that is missing today is teachers, and that he sat behind someone for 3 years before engineering. He said, "what a shame." After the speech I went up to him and asked him if he could teach me- if I could sit in on a session- If there was anything I could do to learn more from him. He just replied no. Question

So if you're able to help or would like to talk about this- please get in touch with me- I want to go far!

Again-
Get in touch if you can help.
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joninc
carpal tunnel


Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 1693
Location: canada

PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

I feel your frustration. I think like any art form, all of us are trying to find ways to grow and advance what we do. I don't really think there is a magic bullet though. It's got to be a combination of luck, skill, hard work and persistence. 10 years, in the grand scheme of things, is not really that long (although I know it is a substantial amount of time).

One thing you might want to check out is "mix with the masters". It can be a good chance to spend time with someone quite accomplished and successful in this industry and have your own work critiqued and learn from the teacher as well as other students (some of which may also be quite accomplished).

I went to the one with peter Katis a few years back and he was super open to discussing anything from rates to tracking to artist psychology. I found it helpful but also just gave me a bit of a boost to press on in my work. For most of us this is a very solitary pursuit so a week of hanging with other like minded folks from around the world is a special treat. A good friend of mine attended the Michael brauer week and the Chris lord alge and learned tons at both but commented that Michael was particularly good and open. It's not cheap but can be worthwhile.

Also, just because this particular dude wouldn't teach you doesn't mean others won't. You should be prepared to pay for there time though. I contacted an engineer that I am a huge fan of last year and arranged to spend 2 days with him working on tracks I had already mixed. I paid a fair bit of money but to me that was completely worth it and we talked about everything. It was quite enlightening. Even though he is quite successful (in my mind) I got the feeling that it's not the gravy train i imagined and like most us, he still works on a ton of projects that are much smaller profile gigs. He just happens to have also worked on some much bigger projects as well

Good luck and hang in there!
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
Posts: 3341
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

Also, go to AES (he said theoretically, having never actually attended; but I hear it's great!)...

Also, go to Chris Mara's Producers & Engineers Summit in Nashville. I've missed the last two years, but I went to the three years in a row prior, and I definitely plan to get back ASAP (hopefully next year). They happen annually in November (in fact, you just missed it).

Thanks to these awesome assemblages, I've met not only a bunch of the cool denizens of this very TOMB, but listened to and met engineers and producers that have worked on not only some of the classic Nashville recordings, but folks that have worked on everything from some of your favorite 90's to Now indie-rock, to the Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin. Some personal high-points-- meeting and getting to interview and know personally people like Bob Olhsson, who's forgotten more than most audio/electronics/music people will ever know; or taking part in a group interview with Alan Parsons... Alan Parsons!!!! (Beatles, Pink Floyd, AP Project). Also, meeting Larry from Tape Op, and tangentially and more recently, Michael Joly. And tons more great people and lots of networking opportunities.

Seriously, these events are amazing. And even though it isn't a week in the element as Jon's experience was, it is a very jam-packed weekend and you can be so high from just being there that it carries you through most of the next year, and you even feel pretty good editing some crappy cover band's cut tape, because you're so excited to be blessed to be able to do this stuff at all. Have I gotten my cheer-leading point across regarding this event?!? Go, next year, just do it.

The other thing you can think about, as previously mentioned, since you are in a major market city-- continue asking other people to mentor you. Just because this guy said "no," doesn't mean that everyone will be so callous. Keep at it. One thing I learned from my years in broadcasting and journalism-- Always Ask. Most people don't "make connections" because they're too afraid to just go for it. What's the worst that can happen? They say "no;" then you move on to the next.

There are a lot of giving people in this industry/art form/community. Give them a chance to show it.

GJ
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http://MightyNoStars.com

"He's about to learn the most important lesson in the music business-- 'Never trust people in the music business.' "
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HT
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 19 Jun 2012
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

Dear Jon and Gregg-

Thanks for replying and cheerleading me a bit here-
I'm going to take what you said and run with it.

That story I told- was just one experience I had in asking people to teach me- there have been many- not all that have turned me down. Just looking for someone who is in a different place than my contacts really-

I'm checking out everything you've listed.
Thanks!
Jonathan
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GlowSounds
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Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 51
Location: Brooklyn

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

Sounds like you're having the same questions that most artists have- basically forever. The super talented and experienced artists I know seem to still have the same issues of self doubt and desire for more that everyone else has. Just maybe on a different level, with different concerns.

I do have to say that it sounds like you're on the right track. You have something that 95% of the people I know in audio don't have: ready access to what sounds like a pretty kickin' studio. So hey, think about the good things!

Hope this doesn't sound negative; just my way of saying I think you're in the vast majority, feeling the way you do. So hang in there, and roll with it.
Wink
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Theo_Karon
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 150
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:58 am    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

Good to see you back on here, Jon!

This is an interesting post. I've been feeling similarly - although one thing that's proven invaluable in this regard is sitting in &/or assisting on other producer's sessions at Kingsize, when I can be around without harshing the vibe. I feel as though 2 lessons have been hammered into my head over the past year:

1: LISTEN. Like, really, really listen. Stop yourself when you're not listening as carefully as you could be and make a point to. Take five to clear your head when you need.

2: Always make alterations at the source first, unless going for a specific effect with a piece of gear or plugin.

I know those are simple things that we both have known for a long time, but it seems like really, truly living them, embodying them constantly in practice, is what really separates the masters from the people who are 'almost there.' It's been incredibly humbling to watch someone like Dave or Thom Monahan get the snare from sounding good to amazing by considering what's happening carefully and then just pointing the hi hat mic a little further out or whatever - when I would have probably just reached for an EQ.

I think that this sort of uncertainty is a big part of what drives us to be better; to me the thought of feeling like I've finally got it and know everything is much more frightening, because I know I'd find myself in the middle of some kind of epic fuckup... I know there are always going to be records that I'll listen to and feel like they're so far above my abilities sonically that I don't really understand them. I'm working on my first major label record right now and half the time I still feel like a lost little kid. Y'know?

If you've ever got a month to spare you might want to consider coming out here and hanging out a few days a week... I know the idea of 'interning' is probably sort of weird at the substantial level of accomplishment you've already achieved, but it's a unique opportunity to be in the control room with people doing some of the most exciting work in this industry and observe their process first hand. Even though I'm on staff as an engineer I still take 'runner' days regularly when I'm free... I'm happy to clean some toilets and fetch some coffee in exchange for a wellspring of knowledge and experience that can't really be had any other way...

I'm excited to see you when I come back to Chicago this winter! And I think it's really cool that you're actively seeking to expand your consciousness. That kind of movement requires confronting and acknowledging your insecurities, which I know can be tough. But I think it will pay off. Your records already sound awesome - can't wait to hear what you'll be up to in another 5 years -

T
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HT
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 19 Jun 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

Thanks Theo!
That was sweet-
Hope to see you when you're in town soon---
J
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norsehorse
gettin' sounds


Joined: 14 May 2009
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Location: VA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

HT wrote:
A funny story:

I recently was at a panel where a producer / engineer who worked on many many great albums was speaking. He said one of the things that is missing today is teachers, and that he sat behind someone for 3 years before engineering. He said, "what a shame." After the speech I went up to him and asked him if he could teach me- if I could sit in on a session- If there was anything I could do to learn more from him. He just replied no. Question


Love it! I've encountered the same thing. You'll also notice this irony on forums (especially GS) from older engineers.

Of course, you don't need to be with an engineer to learn from their work. STOP recording, and start listening. Listen non-stop to album after album after album after album. Spend 10-15 minutes on each album and then move on. Do this for a year, and then go back to mixing.
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Nick Sevilla
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Joined: 03 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

He'll teach you, for a fee:

http://www.roythomasbaker.com
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the finger genius
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 15 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:35 am    Post subject: Re: Engineer/Producer of 10 yrs seeks a 'High Level Teacher' Reply with quote

HT wrote:

A funny story:

I recently was at a panel where a producer / engineer who worked on many many great albums was speaking. He said one of the things that is missing today is teachers, and that he sat behind someone for 3 years before engineering. He said, "what a shame." After the speech I went up to him and asked him if he could teach me- if I could sit in on a session- If there was anything I could do to learn more from him. He just replied no. Question


I worked as an assistant for several years, and I think it's important that when asking for someone for help like this, it should be clear what value the senior engineer will get in return. Most engineers don't want another engineer they don't know sitting in on a session or two, there's too much that can go wrong. An apprentice / assistant is another story. You might work for the engineer for weeks / months before actually being in the room much, there's a level of trust that needs to be there, and there is value for both the engineer and the assistant.
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