Students Learn From matchbox 20
This summer, a group of students from Conservatory instructor Keith Morris's live sound class got to see a matchbox 20 large venue concert setup firsthand. Matchbox FOH engineer, Robert Scovill, who created the live sound curriculum for the CRAS, was on-hand to answer questions and give students a behind-the-scenes look that is usually only open to cast and crew.
Students arrived at America West Arena in downtown Phoenix at 10am, just as the trucks were unloading for the concert that evening. During the day, the class witnessed the stage being built, the FOH position being set up and the lighting rigs being flown.Later in the day, students saw the process of tuning the PA, which included seeing how Scovill uses the Smaart system to tweek the VDOSC line array PA system. After that came line checks with the band's techs, and then
soundcheck itself with matchbox 20.
Scovill held an improptu lecture and Q&A, providing the students an opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned professional and learn how he works. In addition to mixing for matchbox, Scovill has also worked with Def Lepard, Prince, Jackson Browne, Rush and many more. After the end of the matchbox tour, Scovill was off to mix for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on their summer tour.
The Conservatory makes a great effort to expose students to real-world situations and professionals during their time in the program, and afterwards during their internships. The campus has played host to such audio luminaries as Rupert Neve, studio designer John Storyk and pro-audio manufacturers Eve Anna Manley and Wes Dooley among others.
Photo caption: Pictured to the left; Top Right: Robt. Scovill, CRAS Instructor Keith Morris,
Bottom Right: K. Morris w/ racks of gear at FOH, Bottom Left: Students view soundcheck.
Top Tech Visits The CRAS
Being a tech at a multi-room facility in Los Angeles is no easy feat. Keeping all the rooms running and minimizing dreaded downtime can mean long hours and the ability to maintain a wide variety of gear. Dave Hecht, chief tech at Conway Recording in Los Angeles, is one of those rare people who can do it all.
Hecht recently visited the CRAS to talk to students about a tech's role in the studio and what it takes to be successful in a big-city studio. He also covered the importance of being on top of your game as an intern. Laura Dore of CRAS student services elaborates. "Dave gave a non-sugar-coated view of what it takes to get a start in the recording business. For the students, it was an invaluable look at what they could expect after they graduate."
The Conservatory is the only audio school in the USA that requires an internship for graduation. A Conservatory internship is not merely "job-placement assistance" but guaranteed experience in a real-world audio facility. Getting your foot in the door is often the most difficult task a student will face after graduation.
Photo caption: Dave Hecht lecturing a class at the CRAS
NRG + Ocean = Great Internships
What do Evanescence and Linkin Park have in common? Nothing really, other than both supergroup's new CDs were recorded at studios that have employed Conservatory interns. NRG and Ocean studios have a longtime relationship with the CRAS and look to the school to supply them with top-notch interns. Recently, the managers of both studios visited the school to talk to students about what they expect from up and coming audio professionals. Kelly Garver from NRG and Bob Breen from Ocean gave students a presentation on their respective facilities and then took questions from students. Administrator Kirt Hamm sums it up: "What sets the Conservatory apart from the competition is that we focus specifically on audio. There's no web design, multimedia or other such classes in our program. We are tightly focused, and for this reason our interns are sought across the industry . Kelly and Bob are good friends of the school and we value the real-world view they offer the students."
Photo caption: Kelly Garver (right) fields questions from a group of Conservatory students.
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