The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences is a school for those who are serious about pursuing a career in audio recording and passionate about music. The school is a worldclass premier institution for audio education for those who have the drive and the ability to become audio recording engineers.
The Conservatory has two loctions in Phoenix suburbs Tempe and Gilbert with a total of 40,000 square feet of teaching space, eight full-blown control rooms and studios, four recording and mixing labs, 30 ProTools HD systems and an annual enfollment of 800 students dedicated to pursuing varied careers in the audio arts.
The walls in the lobby are covered with gold and platinum albums worked on by graduates like Darrell Thorp (Grammy winner for best engineered album Hail to the Thief by Radiohead), Moka Nagatani (Grammy winner for Speaker boxxx by Outkast), Phillip Lynch (post engineer who works on TV shows like The Apprentice, Survivor, and Fear Factor), and Eddie Mapp a front-house engineer currently on tour with the band Taking Back Sunday.
While students attend classes and do labwork at both locations (which are open 24 hours, with round the clock tutoring available), both facilities offer access to four control rooms and multiple labs. The Gilbert facility (which opened in 2003) has a 6,000 square-foot live-sound venue featuring a JBL Vertec line array monitor system, a Yamaha 3500 console, and a 4000 series monitor/mixer.
“In building the conservatory into what it is today,” says Kirt Hamm, the facility’s Administrator, “my goal was to take a school from its roots as a studio that would attract students from around the country and provide major new talent for the recording industry. Even as we’ve grown and changed, we’ve stayed true to our sole focus of training students for employment in the increasingly high-tech world of audio.”
The conservatory’s main instruction time is devoted to music recording and production. “We realize that there are many specialized fields now within those realms,” notes Hamm. “So part of our curriculum includes classes in post production, commercial production, digital recording and production, live concert sound, music business classes, and our new audio for gaming program just starting this month.”
All students attending the school are enrolled in the Master Recording Program 2, which is an intensive 900-hour program. Students spend 30 weeks taking classes and participating in lab work, with the last seven weeks devoted to a mandatory internship. These internships can take place at studios around the country and are perfectly matched to the students’ goals. The conservatory makes the contact and sets up the initial interview for the student.
For a more intimate understanding of each student’s learning styles, each class is limited to a maximum of 12 students. The conservatory is also proud of its unique technological certifications and its alliances with different manufacturers. The facility was the first of its kind in the country to be an authorized Digidesign school, and certifications are offered in ProTools, Apple authorized education, Logic 7, SIA Smart, and Waves Plug Ins.
Hamm explains that there is a very stringent admissions process. The criteria is a mix of the applicant’s past education and work experience, solid references and whether the conservatory’s course of study is an effective match for the potential student’s goals. “Besides teaching our students technical skills,” Hamm explains, “we give them a work ethic and an understanding of what it’s like to be out there as a newbie in the industry. We make sure they’re grounded, first doing the small tasks right before they get to the crucial assignments. One of my greatest thrills is seeing our students go from having a dream, a desire, and a passion for audio, and then watching those dreams come true.”
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