How do I get into live sound and studio mixing/mastering

I'm 17 and currently working as a student at Northampton college studying level 3. I realise that I would want a job relating to music and was hoping if you could help me.

I have a huge interest in live sound and studio mixing/mastering and would like to continue this in the future.

How could I find a job in this particular field and what experience/education would I need?

Thank you in advance!

— Robert

Expert answers

Jonathan Jacobs's reply:

Hi Robert,

Firstly, I think it's important to recognise the huge difference between live sound engineering and studio engineering, so as you are starting to think about career paths, decide whether you wish to master live or studio engineering as you would need multiple lifetimes to master 2 arts! I, myself am a studio engineer so hopefully I could help guide you in that area.

The beauty of becoming a sound engineer in today's world is that you can build a career as a freelancer. This means that you don't have to rely on luckily finding an opening for an engineer at a studio and means that you have complete control over your future. Find somewhere to set up your gear, even in your bedroom, and start building a portfolio. Offer to record a single track for bands that you like for free and be confident that they will love your work, and therefore come back asking you to record three more songs. It's also amazing what you learn whilst having the pressure of a real client on you and as you get more efficient and produce smoother mixes, the quality of your portfolio will improve which is the most important thing when looking for work as a freelance engineer or producer.

In terms of education, I believe that it is just as valuable to study a musical instrument as it is to study music tech. Studying an instrument trains your ear and helps you to understand music as more than just a music fan but also as a musician. This will help you to be on the same page as the artists you're working with and will play a big part in shaping the tracks that you record. A music tech degree would also be hugely helpful for obvious reasons but make sure that you are are making the choice to do a music tech degree, not because you had a shot playing instruments and decided that you would rather be a sound engineer, but because you've had a taste of playing one instrument and now want to have a whole band under your fingertips!

I'd also recommend a couple of youtube channels which are excellent help and it's absolutely fascinating to see the masters at work. Search Warren Huart's 'Produce Like a Pro' and Dave Pensados 'Pensado's Place'. 

Stay updated

Sign up for our weekly careers newsletter

View our privacy policy.

Other recent questions