As the current pandemic continues to throw a wrench into so many institutional learning activities and potentially hinders the interaction between seasoned industry professionals and pro audio students, the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS), the premier institution for audio engineering education, continues to provide its students with informative events which buck these current unfortunate trends.
As such, Karen Dunn of KMD Productions recently helped host a Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA) Career Opportunities in Pro Audio Product Companies Panel Zoom session for 50 CRAS students.
“This was a terrific event and was designed as an informational webinar to help CRAS’ near-graduation students learn about the companies that design and manufacture the gear they will be using as their careers advance,” Dunn explained. “There are employment path opportunities inside these companies that can be an excellent complement to a musical career. We were lucky to have senior executives from four of these top-tier brands on our panel as their knowledge and management experience is unrivaled in the industry. It would ordinarily be very difficult for students, or other early-career stage folks, to access these resources.”
The members of PAMA are some of the top professional audio equipment manufacturers in the world. This PAMA event included Joe Andrulis, Biamp Executive Vice President of Corporate Development; Greg Beebe, Sennheiser Director, Professional Audio; Karam Kaul, HARMAN International VP Global Product Line Management Professional Audio; and John Maier, BLUE Microphones CEO.
“The PAMA Panel was absolutely incredible,” said David Kohr, CRAS Instructor/Event Coordinator. “KMD Productions has done it again. We can't thank Karen, John, Joe, Greg, and Karam enough. CRAS students got solid information about careers at pro audio product companies from professionals that have years of experience in the industry. They explained it in such a great way that they answered many of the questions that anyone might have had before the students even had to ask them. They also cleared up any misconstrued ideas of what someone might have thought working in this field of the industry would be like.”
Juan Carlos Hernandez, a CRAS student currently completing his mandatory internship who participated in the Zoom event, said that PAMA has been a very personal and interesting experience for him. “Definitely seeing the human side of these great panelists, seeing their perspective on the world, their vision on the industry, their stance on evolution and the adversities to overcome, has motivated me as an international student since it has expanded my way of thinking to continue focusing on my career path within the incredible audio industry. It was really interesting to appreciate the different areas of this amazing industry with such great personalities. Excellent work by KMD Productions and the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences as always. Thank you for these great opportunities!”
According to Dunn, online events are very important, particularly during the pandemic as they offer an opportunity students wouldn’t have otherwise. “Any chance to meet face-to-face with industry experts and thought leaders and hear their opinions is invaluable,” she explained. “Add to that the ability to directly ask questions of these industry leaders, and you have a formula for success. The students told me that they universally felt that the session was extremely informative and it ‘humanized’ these key industry brands by allowing the students to interact with the people who lead them.”
Throughout the Career Opportunities in Pro Audio Product Companies panel discussion, students were educated on what role these participating companies play in the industry and discussed everything from entry level positions to positions for professionals with years of experience. They spoke about what to expect in the interview process and gave the CRAS students some valuable tips that can help create a memorable interview experience and leave a positive impression on any potential employer. At the end of the discussion, they opened up a Q&A session with the students.
“We were thrilled to share our experiences with the students, alumni, and faculty of CRAS,” noted Beebe. “The Q&A session was a great opportunity to expand on themes covered during the panel discussion which students found interesting.”
Added Maier, “It was great to share the product side of the pro audio industry with CRAS’ students. It’s a best kept secret that there are great career paths in our industry and at PAMA we want to change that.”
Said Kaul, “Many of our most loved and revered products and technologies were invented by audio engineers and it was our pleasure at PAMA to share audio manufacturing insights to the next generation of audio leaders.”
Concluded Andrulis “It was a true delight to meet with the students at CRAS. I was impressed by their enthusiasm and knowledge and hope they see the many exciting opportunities to apply their talents in the pro audiovisual industry.”
Founded in 2003, PAMA is the collective voice and forum for the leading manufacturers of professional audio products and the people who use them. PAMA member companies conduct business worldwide in support of high-quality audio across a wide range of industries – pursuing the state of the art in technology and practice to enable audio professionals to elevate their craft and delight listeners and audiences every day. PAMA’s mission is to promote awareness and appreciation of high-quality professional audio through market leadership, communication and education. Its core customers are pro-audio professionals around the world with an interest in promoting high-quality audio.
“I am always impressed by CRAS students' level of preparedness and their willingness to listen to new ideas and concepts and really run with them,” said Dunn. “I also always appreciate the support of the staff and administration at CRAS. They follow through on everything and help insure that the event is a success. I’ve produced several events for CRAS’ leadership team and I enjoy their very constructive and positive approach to teaching these talented students. The quality of the education at CRAS shows in the ‘on it’ attitudes and interaction I’ve had with these students. Working with CRAS is always fun and energizing for me. I know that the panel members really enjoyed interacting with the students, as well.”
After decades working in event production within the audio trade press, Dunn founded KMD Productions 11 years ago. Working primarily in the pro audio industry, her clients include NAMM, Yamaha, Waves, Sennheiser, PreSonus, ADAM Audio, Calrec and others. Earlier this year, Dunn hosted a Speed Mentoring Zoom session where 20 pro audio industry mentors and 20 CRAS students linked up online.
“This PAMA event was a wonderful affirmation that CRAS continues to prepare our students with proper interviewing expectations and etiquette,” said Nathalie Holub, CRAS Internship Coordinator. “To hear the panelists echo our sentiments truly solidifies the importance of being genuine, interested, and prepared. Thank you, PAMA, for all the wonderful insight into the various avenues of the audio visual industry.”
Concluded CRAS student and Zoom session participant Alicia Murphy, “The event was great! A question that sat on my mind after the PAMA Panel was ‘Would there be any kind of art without tools?’ It's still on my mind. From what I learned, the extension of passion and quality of service provided in this industry extends far beyond the studio, artists, and creators. Every role in manufacturing is vital for success. Great eye opener that left the door open for more paths options to pave through.”
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz. A CRAS education includes broadcast audio, live sound, film and TV audio, music, and video game audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have all excelled in their individual fields, including sound reinforcement, audio recording and production, digital recording, troubleshooting/maintenance, and music business.
CRAS structured programs and highly qualified teaching staff provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by its small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in engineering audio recordings. CRAS has been providing quality vocational training in audio recording for more than three decades. The curriculum and equipment are constantly being updated to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the music and sound recording industries. CRAS’ course offerings and subject matter have always centered around the skills and knowledge necessary for students’ success in the audio recording industries.
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all of the Conservatory’s studios which are comprised with state-of-the-art audio recording and mixing gear, the same equipment used in today’s finest studios and remote broadcast facilities, including Pro Tools 12, API Legacy consoles, SSL AWS consoles, Studer Vista consoles, and much more. All students must complete a 280-hour industry internship to graduate from the Master Recording Program II that may ultimately lead to industry employment.