“If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”
“Those that are informed about what they do (as opposed to pretending to be) are dramatically more in-demand (employable) than those that are not.”
To most DJs, composers, music producers and musicians, education is not something they are concerned about while they are honing their craft or earning their income from executing their craft. However, regardless of whether one is beat juggling, purchasing a home or managing one’s finance, how educated one is in an activity directly influences the quality and effectiveness of the outcome. Put simply; the term ‘education’ does not solely pertain to sitting in a classroom being taught new information by a formal trainer. Education is the act of knowing more through wilfully seeking out or exposing oneself to new information and experiences. So what?
Being educated and experienced in anything is what is attractive to others who in turn use one’s skills and services. Conversely, if one is ignorant about something, one cannot a) partake in that activity, and b) one is of absolutely no use to others in that regard. ‘Being educated’ often creates divides and strong opinions, but in the context of this article education simply means being informed. Those who are genuinely informed about what they do (as opposed to pretending to be) are dramatically more in-demand (employable) than those who are not. Inherently curious people know vastly more than those who simply regurgitate the opinions and approaches of others. Leaders innovate while followers regurgitate.
The jury has been out forever with regard to the validity of formal training in creative media technologies like music production, sound engineering, filmmaking and animation. Many believe that one can only learn these disciplines effectively on the job and not in a classroom. If this scenario is taken at face value, the sentiment is most likely true. However, an institution worth enrolling in will ensure that students receive a powerful and authentic practical training provided by highly experienced industry professionals, as opposed to last year’s straight-A students employed on a minimum wage because they have no commercial experience, and consequently cannot command anything larger than a minimum wage. If the training provider undertakes discerning employment of trainers, students will be exposed to many trainers during their course of study instead of shadowing only one engineer or producer in the context of the traditional internship. This equates to far greater exposure to many opinions and workflows and not only that of one individual.
Another aspect of formal tuition by a truly credible provider that is often overlooked, discounted and in certain instances deemed irrelevant, is intellectual enquiry through research and being intellectually challenged. A person who is a great mix engineer or DJ who cannot think independently is not deemed a significant contributor to society and consequently is not as recognised as an informed and intelligent mind. This is not rocket science; it is simply the code of the planet. It must be said that, like most things, being educated is relative and in certain instances, subjective.
However, a tertiary level qualification on one’s résumé speaks volumes to prospective employers of one’s capability to endure intellectual enquiry and ultimately know more about an area of interest. Being informed takes commitment and a genuine interest to arrive at knowing more. A useful point of reference to assess whether one is simply interested in something or deeply passionate about it, is highlighted in this statement by John Assaraf: If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.
What is the point of all of this? Why is an article on education and being educated in an urban culture magazine? The answer is simple; whether people talk about it or not, to be successful at what one does takes commitment, intellectual enquiry and a desire to be thorough. It is for this very reason that for all the people that participate in something, there are very few that are truly superb at it. If you dabble in a hobby that is fine, but if you want to pursue something as a career and you are not superb at what you do, there are others that will be and are consequently more in-demand by prospective clients and employers.
Ready D and Protoculture aren’t superb craftsmen because someone opened their heads and poured information into the cavity. They are superb because they have chosen to be. Professionals like them eat, breathe and sleep their craft and are very deliberate about everything they do and how they do it. The informed are constantly pushing themselves to know more, always. Be informed, you’re more valuable that way, and the enjoyment of what you do is so much more invigorating.
SAE Institute is offering one lucky IDM reader a full scholarship to study a 1-year full-time Higher Certificate qualification in either Sound Production, Digital Film Production or Animation & VFx at their Cape Town campus next year.
To apply simply go to http://sae.medianinjas.co.za/competition/
About the courses:
For more information on any of these courses or about SAE Institute visit http://capetown.sae.edu or call or email them:
Tel. +27 (0) 21 469 3600 | eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
David Maclean is a mastering engineer, educator and business executive with two decades of experience in the music industry and tertiary education sector. David is the Director of SAE Institute South Africa and is based at their campus in Cape Town. The Cape Town campus is one of 53 SAE campuses across the globe. David is known as the ‘white crocodile’ because of his unusual portfolio that includes equal-parts business, education and music production. Consequently David understands the attitudes and opinions of the industry professionals within the creative media technologies industries and the educator’s and authorities within Higher Education in South Africa and abroad.