Studying live sound whilst the live events industry is on pause is not as crazy as you might think. In fact, it may even put you at an advantage. Here’s why...
With the pandemic going on longer than any of us could have possibly imagined, it’s natural to question the viability of live sound as a course and career choice. However, as bleak as the situation may currently appear, there’s still a huge amount be gained from studying a live sound course at the moment. In fact, it could put you in a uniquely favourable position for when the industry gets back on its feet. If you love live music experiences and dream of helping bring them to life, here are 6 reasons to keep pursuing your passion.
1. This situation is not permanent
Whilst there’s no doubt that live sound professionals have taken a hit this year, the live events industry isn’t going anywhere. Yes, there are times when it feels like the pandemic is going on forever, but rest assured, there is light at the end of the tunnel and when we reach it, it’s almost inconceivable that the industry will not bounce back into action. After all, people are always going to want to go out and dance, just as artists are always going to want to make music. And let’s not forget – whenever there have been periods of adversity in the past, there has always been a huge kickback in the underground music scene. This time will be no different.
2. Studying live sound is the closest you can get to actually working in the industry right now
Studying is the only way to gain hands-on experience as a live sound engineer whilst the industry is on pause
Live sound is a very vocational industry, so without a degree, you are solely reliant on somebody in the industry taking you under their wing and teaching you on the job. During this period where no live shows taking place, this simply isn’t an option.
At dBs, live sound students have the opportunity to build their experience through mock live shows, simulated by our tutors in state of the art teaching spaces that are controlled and COVID-safe. Whilst we are temporarily unable to put on these simulations due to the national lockdown, we will be recommencing this practical aspect of our delivery as soon as we are physically able to.
3. Though we’ve had to adapt our course delivery, this won’t compromise the skills and knowledge you’ll gain
Outside of lockdown, our live sound students are able to book out industry-standard equipment such as multitrack recorders, which they can use to replay old sets and practice their mixing skills. They’re also able to reserve spaces to practice setting up equipment, whilst still observing the rules of social distancing.
Whilst we’re currently waiting for the lockdown to end to resume these practical learning experiences, our tutors have carefully rearranged their teaching modules to ensure that students are still able to benefit from them later in the academic year.
In the meantime, there’s lots of key course content that can be covered during this time, whether that’s learning about signal flows and dispersion characteristics, using software to create show files for digital consoles, or designing sound systems for multiple venues. Taking the time to get to know the theory behind live sound before applying it in a live setting is hugely beneficial, not to mention essential, for any live sound professional.
4. Advances in software mean you can continue to develop your skills, even when it's hard to access physical consoles
Next best thing: Offline software downloads can now provide remote access to all the functions of a large format mixing console
During this time, live sound tutors are still able to come into our centres to record instructional, demo-based videos and lectures. The great thing is, all large format digital mixing consoles now have offline editor software downloads. This means our tutors can create show files for particular briefs in real-time and then supply a video recording of this process to their students. Students can then learn from their tutor as they would in the classroom, before using the software version to create show files of their own. This process encourages greater autonomy and individual problem-solving, enhancing learning outcomes overall.
5. Our live sound course is more future-facing than ever
Periods of crisis often lead to innovation, and this is particularly true of the way the live events industry has adapted to COVID-19. In particular, we’ve witnessed an explosion in the popularity of virtual events, magnifying the perceived value of live streaming formats and the demand for their optimisation.
It is now looking highly likely that a virtual aspect to live events provision will persist beyond the pandemic, due to the many benefits it brings such as increased accessibility. In line with this shift, we’ve adjusted our teaching to build live streaming into a number of our modules. We are also currently in the process of re-validating our live sound course to include official live streaming modules for September 2022.
Live streaming is transforming the live sound industry – and it's here to stay
6. There will be a gap in the market for live sound engineers with the most up-to-the-minute training
Over the past 12 months, many live sound engineers have decided to retrain or change fields due to their experiences of the pandemic. Whilst it is, of course, tragic to hear of people turning their backs on professions they’ve worked in their entire lives, this also opens up avenues for new live sound engineers to come into the industry and make themselves a career. Given the recent changes in the industry that we’ve just mentioned, those engineers with the most up-to-the-minute training are going to be the ones in the highest demand.
Do you have an insatiable love for sound systems? Are you passionate about live performances? Then why not check our live sound diploma and degree courses? You can request more information about these pathways here.