A lot of people have been asking me, even our academy students, “which music production school is the best in Mumbai?”. It is indeed a difficult answer because I want to be honest with my students. But first, we need to address what the student want to learn. If you want to learn all the intricacies of music production, then there are few schools that offer that kind of learning. If you want to learn audio engineering, then there are certain schools or institutes which will help you with that. Not knowing the different roles and terminologies used to describe them creates confusion for most people and here, I am going to try to make these confusions go away by providing you with enough information, so that you can decide which course and school to fit for you.
The field of audio and music is vast, with many areas of audio proficiency that one can master. Hobbyists may learn to use audio for all sorts of applications, and audio professionals can be qualified for a variety of vocations. These are some of the common roles for audio professionals:
Studio Sound Engineer:
This involves working in a studio for recording, editing, and manipulating audio, and mixing or mastering. Just like any conventional corporate office, you are expected to work for a stipulated span of time, the working hours depend on the number of recording sessions booked per day. As usual, the conventional labor laws are applicable for the Studio Sound Engineer, which includes 18 days of Paid Leaves or Earned Leaves, 7 Casual Leaves, 2 Sick leaves, and public holidays.
Live Sound Engineer:
The live sound engineer is supposed to take care of the entire sound setup at the venue for a live show or a music concert a or even conference meeting. As the Live Sound Engineer, you are responsible for the supervision of all the interconnections between different speakers, the placement and the type of speakers used, monitoring system for everyone on the stage, and most importantly, your job is make sure that the audience can here the audio as intended by the speaker or the performer.
You may have to work for prolonged duration if the show goes on. It is again, a great avenue for sound/audio because it is indeed a lot more fun. You get to travel around, sometimes across the country or at times even around the world, and work with talented and interesting people. It can help you expand your professional network.
If you are a musician, then you need to have some expertise in terms of audio recording and the capabilities of the audio system as to how the recorded and processed sound differs from the original. Nowadays, you should be able to operate a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to some extent. If necessary, you should be able to record yourself.
The main asset of any music producer is the machine and the DAW they work on. You must know everything about the software, effects processors, and all the intricate details of music creation which may involve recording, mixing and mastering. However the most important skill that one can have is to understand the vision of artist or the director and mediate between the artist and the audio engineers. It is extremely important to be able to effectively communicate with the engineer and the artist.
Along with learning how to DJ and mixing music, it is important to understand Live Sound, and how to set up the speaker system. If you are unaware of the complexities of DJ consoles, then you may have to learn a few DAWs, which can help you perform you mixes in a live scenario.
A lot of people are unaware of this, but in Radio Stations, an audio engineer is the most important role. There are vacancies quite often, especially for night shifts. A Radio Engineer is expected to perform similar duties as that of a studio engineer, but in much quicker and in a great detail. The engineer should have the knowledge of radio communication and broadcasting standards.
Sound Recordist/Recording engineer:
As a recording engineer, you are responsible for setting up different microphones and recording the intended instrument or vocals with utmost clarity. You must be familiar with different types of audio equipment such as a microphone and how it will respond to a specific voice or an instrument. A good recording engineer will use a combination of different microphone techniques and coloured preamps to achieve the desired tone rather than relying simply on EQs after the recording. Above all, a good engineer is intuitive and aware of the expectations from the artist or the producer. Having effective communication skills is extremely important.
Field Sound Engineer:
A field sound engineer is responsible for recording sound in an outdoor environment. The main purpose of these engineers is to carry on-location recording equipment (typically a handheld recorder) and record the ambience of that location. For instance, a scene in a film could require the sound of a local fish market. Such a specific sound may not be available in the stock library, so an on-location recording engineer is hired to accompany the film crew and capture the authentic sound of that fish market.
The sound designer is responsible for creating the sounds that are required to accompany the actions and settings in the film. The sound designer along with the director and the sound supervisor decide, whether these sounds should be natural or exaggerated.
A Sound Editor often works directly under the director. Their job is to gather all the dialog, foley effects and music files, then align them with the video, clear unnecessary files and organize the session files before sending it over for Mixing.
Re-recording engineer and Sound Supervisor:
A Re-recording engineer and Sound Supervisor require the highest level of audio proficiency.
As a re-recording engineer, your job to balance all the live recorded audio such as the dialogs, foley and music with the sampled or programmed audio as it was intended by the director and mix it accroding to the Film or TV standards.
As a sound supervisor, your job is to make sure that the audio edit is consistent with the video edit, the tonality is consistent in all the scenes, and all the standards are met till the final mixing stage is complete.
If you have identified exactly what you want to pursue, then you should read this list of some of the most well-renowned music schools in India.
Just like IIT is for Engineering, FTII is for creative aspirers. In case you were wondering, FTII is possibly the best institute to go for learning film post-production and audio engineering. If you’re planning to work in any of the radio or television broadcast stations, this college has the best resources to offer. They offer a 3 year post-graduation diploma in sound engineering course, which involves 6 semesters (two per year). You can review some of the testimonials from the Alumni who have graduated from the institution. This college is located in Pune, which is just 3 hours driveway from Mumbai.
The duo Lost Stories, which includes Prayag Mehta and Rishabh Joshi, in conglomeration, decided to teach electronic dance music, to students across India. This is probably the best place to learn music production and everything related to Ableton Live. Those who want to learn the background scoring and bits and parts of sound design and surround sound mixing can also lookup for this course because the Gold Course of this institute has almost everything to offer in their curriculum. They also focus on teaching their students the intricacies of mixing and mastering which the majority of the people find intimidating.
Apart from all of this, Lost Stories Academy also focuses on the overall grooming of an artist, in terms of Photoshoots and Video Shoots, Lost Stories Academy also provides intensive learning on Music Business, Music Law, and Social Media Marketing as well. The Gold Course of Lost Stories Academy is their flagship course which includes pretty much everything mentioned above and some of the video production parts as well. They also have online courses to offer, which also makes it convenient for those who want to learn music production from home. Lost Stories Academy is based in Chembur, Mumbai. The term of the Gold course is for one year only, so those people who want to learn quickly can come here.
SoundideaZ Academy is another such institution that offers 1 year diploma courses in music production and audio engineering. They have other courses for Film Post-production and Live sound as well. They even have a separate course for advanced mixing and mastering concepts and surround sound mixing. So, choose wisely. Soundideaz Academy is based in Andheri West, Mumbai.
If you want to learn musical instruments and music production, it’s probably the best school you’ll find not only in Mumbai but throughout India. TSM offers a wide range of courses, which includes Western Vocal and Hindustani Classical Vocal training. The sound engineering course of TSM is quite wholesome and you’ll find pretty much everything you need to know. The live sound engineering is covered comprehensively. However, they do not offer a surround sound mixing course.
Although they have a sound design course, the idea of not mixing it in surround sound formats doesn’t intrigue me that much, but again, all of these subjects are covered in the two-year term course, which is quite compelling.
They also have an affiliation with the University of Hertfordshire, which makes it even better for their students. I am really not sure about the Music Production course, they have a lot of things to offer in a span of a three year course, which is quite a lot of time, but then you can also get to meet a lot of like-minded people, and they have a great campus.
If you want to get into one of the best media colleges in the country, Whistling Woods is probably the place to be. They offer a wide array of courses, not only with respect to audio, sound or music, but also for Film Making, Acting, Media & Communication, Event Management, Graphic Designing, Fashion, Animation & Game Design, Short Term courses, online courses, and vocational education. Coming back to the Music production course, they have three years termed course, which offers complete learning of Music Production, Music History, Song Writing, Staff Writing, Composition and has a lot more to offer.
But this again doesn’t include the sound design course or even the surround sound mixing course. This is a self-paced course that is accessible to the students for a year, but they only teach the post production as an introductory module, which leaves the surround mixing part of post-production out.
If you just want to learn audio engineering, Atharva Film Institute is probably the best place to learn surround sound mixing, audio engineering, and even live sound for that matter. They offer one of the best sound engineering courses in Mumbai. This is a one-year, short-term course, but will provide in-depth knowledge in terms of sound engineering. They also help their graduated students with radio broadcasting stations placements and studio placements as well.
I hope this has helped you identify exactly what you want to pursue as a career. Either it’s Music Production, Studio Work, Film Post-production, or anything else. You know where to look and what to look out for. I wish you all the best for your future, and I hope you will achieve great success in whichever line of career that you may choose to dedicate your life to. Thank you for reading this one, I’ll see you in another blog.