Both sides of the mic in the music industry
Gigging in late-night bars, performing at huge daytime festivals, running the sound at community events, live music, recording, mixing, editing – there are so many job opportunities in the music industry.
They can seem tricky to get, but with a qualification, the doors will open and the world of sound amps up.
Ash Ravens’ travels in music and sound have taken him all over the world, collecting knowledge as he goes. The self-described eternal student is currently working on his Advanced Diploma of Music Industry (Performance) and last year he achieved the Advanced Diploma of Music Industry (Sound Production) at Melbourne Polytechnic.
He already has a bachelor degree in business from Bangladesh but he ditched the corporate life in HR and moved to the US to do a music performance degree, following his dream of being a singer / guitarist.
Working across two Advanced Diplomas has put Ash on both sides of the microphone, giving him unique insight into the two career streams.
‘As a performer if you understand what goes on behind the scenes to put a show on and how to communicate with your sound people and the lights people it can only enhance your show and improve your music,’ Ash says.
‘Standing behind the microphone having no idea of what the sound guys are doing you are at a slight disadvantage, you do need to know what they need to do to make you sound good, also you need to be appreciative of what they do, it can go both ways.’
Ash says his production studies led straight to employment. ‘Before I was out of school I got jobs in event management and sound production companies, theatres, mixing bands in pubs, and I’m producing bands.’
The work can be casual gig to gig but there is also steady employment as production crew, sound designer, audio post-production for radio, television, film and digital media, sound editor and music production engineer.
Ash, who lists his favourite artists as American guitarist Richie Kotzen, Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, started recording his own music in a small home studio.
‘Over 10 years I taught myself to record myself, learn software, be independent to make my music happen, then thought I would learn more formally and fill up the holes in my learning.
‘I’m a learner for life, the eternal student.’
In his current performance studies, Ash is honing his guitar skills, composing, learning music theory and playing with different bands in different situations.
He says students are formed into bands and assigned topics - this term the British invasion, The Beatles, the Monkees.
'We get to learn different genres, have the whole band experience, approach other students to play with us,’ he says. ‘You get other people to help you out, so you learn how to interact and get them excited about your project, then you do the same for other people.
He has already released an album and hopes to have a second one out by the end of the year. ‘The dream is to establish myself as a singer / guitarist in Australia.’ His website is Ashravens.com
At the Fairfield campus he has loved the chance to learn to work on a famous analogue recording console, while also upskilling in the digital. He makes good use of the music practice rooms, and appreciates the support of his Melbourne Polytechnic teachers, in both his courses.
‘I really feel taken care of,’ he says. ‘I know if I raise a problem with a teacher or I need help or support they go beyond to help students.’
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