Sound Education

My long subway commute on the MARTA train to work in the morning is spent trying not to think about anything audio related, knowing that the rest of the day will be spent being preoccupied with such things.  However, a few mornings ago, the New York Times had an op-ed that had me right back thinking about audio, and more specifically audio education. While the article did not specifically address sound education, the philosophy in the article applies to education on any level, field, or age group.  The article was an op-ed entitled Teach Your Teachers Well and cut through so much of what I saw, not only in my youth in public schools, but what I also experienced in the Post-Graduate levels working with experts in their chosen fields, namely sound disciplines.

So much attention gets paid to the cool, shiny gear that audio schools offer, and while there is no doubt that these resources can make a significant difference in an audio student’s success, the quality of the teachers often times gets overlooked.  If you go to many audio schools, they will tout first how much cool stuff they have, and next their instructor’s industry experience.  Although I think that industry experience may be important in demonstrating the realities of a student’s chosen profession, much more important is a professor’s ability to plan a curriculum, lessons, and inspire students.  “Show me a school where teachers are smart, well-educated, skilled and happy to be there, and I’ll show you a group of children who are getting a good eduction”, writes Susan Engel.  Too often in my own experience I have seen professors who are content to talk about what the industry is like rather than to inspire a true interest in the art of what we do.  “To fix our schools, we need teaching programs that are as rich in resources, interesting, high-reaching, and thoughtful as the young people we want to attract to the profession”.  Through hiring practices that focus on how well an instructor would do in a classroom mixed with teacher training, audio programs will increase in their efficiency and creativity.

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