Best ways of getting a job in sound engineering
Live events come in all shapes and sizes, from sell out arena shows to much smaller and more intimate affairs. Whatever the size of the event, the work that goes on behind the scenes is just as important as the show that the audience finally gets to see and hear.
Before the doors open and the curtain goes up, right through to the audience leaving and the lights being switched off, this is when the event crew prove they are the backbone of any production.
The smooth running of any event is down to a group of people that the audience hardly ever sees. Lighting crew, riggers, security personnel, carpenters and electricians, these are all professional men and women without whom the show would quite simply not go on.
One of the most important members of any event crew is the sound engineer. Although in many respects skills are transferable from a role in a recording studio to a live stage, working on a live event means you only get one chance to get it right.
Each venue will have its own different dimensions and acoustics and the job of the sound engineer is to mix the live sound at each event tailored to fit each situation.
There are three established career paths for a sound engineer: many start their careers in a small local venue where they learn their craft in-house and later move on to bigger and better establishments as their reputation grows.
There are those that were lucky to have been in the right place at the right time during that in-house period, where a visiting band has been impressed with the quality of their work and offered them a touring role.
Finally, there are those who started at the bottom with no training at all simply helping out friends who were in a band and needed someone to do the sound for them. Years later with the requisite skills under their belts they have forged their own well deserved reputations as a professional sound engineer.
Starting out as a sound engineer means being proactive, whether that involves getting to know the local promoters and venue managers, or sometimes simply talking to the sound engineers themselves.
Showing an interest can be all it takes to get that all important first foot on the ladder.