I have been in this house for a month now since I moved from WestU. In this month since my move, I am no further in my process of finding a job as I was a month ago. Where is my place in this world?
At the current time, I am working, saving up money, spending some money, having fun and trying to figure out what to do next. I am applying to grad school to seek a Computer Arts degree. I am talking to the sound designer at Second Baptist Church trying to see if he’ll give me some work because I need to continue my education and get back into the scene. I am also talking to two guys in LA who are working to give me names and numbers of people to contact for possibly internships over there. I have worn out my other contacts in the industry, or at least for now. It’s just so bleak right now with my laziness and pessimism. However, I think it’d be wise for me to take a look at my strengths.
- building computers
- basics in computer networking
- web design
- finding good computer deals
- ear for music
- playing piano by ear
- listening to music critically
- basics in audio engineering
So there are many things that I like to do. There are probably other things but either I can’t remember them or am too lazy to remember. But, I should touch on each of these.
building computers I can build computers from scratch. I have been building computers for the past 4 years for money and know them inside out. It is easy to buy parts for a computer and build a fresh computer for me to use. However, I can’t use this ability to make billions of dollars. I’d be a sucker to continue building computers for a living. I’d rather own the person building those computers.
basics in computer networking I know how to network computers in a small network. I have been working with this situation for about 4 years as well. But, there are so many times when I don’t want to continue or get sick of it. It’s frustrating sitting in front of a computer for so long trying to figure out a problem that should have taken 2 minutes. At those times I just give up and let others figure it out; I’d rather be watching TV instead. Yet, it is satisfying to get a network to work correctly and efficiently. Just not a huge passion for it. I’m sure that I could find an entry level network administrating job that pays $30,000 a year but what’s the point if I’ll get sick of it? I would rather do something that I love doing no matter and how long. (Yet, as I type this I know that my desires change constantly so it seems hopeless.)
web design For the past few years, I have been trying to brush my skills graphically and technically to do some web design. It’s really fun when you have vision but becomes difficult when your vision needs brushing. I have the knowledge of how to go about the designing process but it’s the focus that needs some brushing up. That’s why I’m applying to grad school. It’d be fun to somehow combine this with the audio/music but I don’t know how.
finding good computer deals HA! Yeah, I’ve probably saved about $500-700 in computer parts from rebates. Will this help me to live my expensive life? heh… riiiiiight
ear for music Now, here’s where I could bank on something. I have a really good ear for music. No, I have an excellent ear for music. I can hear things very well and like to share my opinion when appropriate. My past record is about 85% positive when it comes to giving critical advice because of what I heard. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes just as anyone. I am, however, very good at hearing things musically. When I was mixing the past year and a half, I extended my role of mixer to co-producer giving my opinions and comments to the musicians to make sure their performance was to my liking. I know that technically I shouldn’t (I’ll touch on this in a sec) but it’s so easy for me.
listening to music critically This is basically an addition to the ear for music comment. I can hear things very well, and because of my formal music training ability, I am able to hear songs in a different note than most people. I can understand the theory of what people are trying to do if I want. I see things that most others wouldn’t. I’m confident of my ability to hear things critically. In fact, there are so many times that I’d just love to just replace someone that is horrible and perform myself. Usually it’s a person singing harmony, something in which I’m practically an expert. Yeeeeesh.
playing piano by ear Yes, I can play the piano by ear. Somewhat easily and enjoyably. I like to listen to piano performances and mimic what I hear. Sure, I can read sheet music but I prefer to play by ear when I can because it’s just easier. I’ve developed a pretty nice pattern to follow and most people don’t know the difference. However, I am not at the point where I could play professionally. My biggest problem was having 4 different piano teachers from my first to last formal lesson. I don’t believe I developed like I should have. I also couldn’t stand practicing and rehearsing. I also formed a need to practice when no ears were listening. Why? I don’t like for others to hear me practice. It’s somewhat embarrassing and I’d rather them hear me when I’m a little polished. But then again, I barely ever perform in public as it is. If I were to take a few more years of lessons and seriously practice, I could probably go professionally. It’s just a matter of trying to sing and play at the same time. But I also don’t sing often… or at least in front of anyone! (That’s what my long road trips are for… heh, heh)
basics in audio engineering I’m not an expert in most of the field, but I know enough to record a band and produce a CD. Audio engineering was amazing at first knowledge. I took my first audio class my first senior year of college at San Jacinto Junior College. I know after a few weeks of taking that class that this was the direction in which I was destined to continue for college, I just didn’t know how. Then I was accepted in the program at University of Colorado at Denver. The very unfortunate thing was that I was only able to get my degree in Audio Engineering (technically Bachelor of Science in Music) and concentrate on this for the last two years of my six year education. Six years. Four years were spent trying everything else I could. I learned lots. But probably 70% of everything I took in college won’t help me with audio engineering. If I really want to enter this field and pursue it as a career, I need to apply to a place like Dark Horse Recording/a>, where I met an engineer who I believe I made a good impression, and continue my education to learn the tricks and trade of this craft. Or I need to go to Full Sail and get more education in the audio field. Full Sail is a mecca for the entertainment media arts. It would be out of this world to graduate from that program but it’s in Orlando, it’s extremely expensive, and I’m running out of time. Anyway, as I got into the ins and outs of my degree up in Denver, I found out that the whole technical side of audio engineering was a little over my head. There is so much physics and I made Cs and Bs in that course in high school. So I don’t think my passion is exactly the technical side of audio engineering but rather the producing side where I can call the shots. The producer has the control which is what I enjoy. Whereas the audio engineer is the ass which gets many kicks.
I sometimes like to explain my passions as those things which get my adrenaline pumping. Audio engineering, sound design, music technology, all have some parts which pump me up. I remember the last time I really felt alive was performing the musical Camelot at FUMC back in the summer of 1998. Being able to perform in front of a lot of people was easy. It’s not like public speaking where I must keep people’s attention with my words. Rather, people see my actions and words at the same time. It definitely was a rush being able to do that. I also remember in high school going to band competitions and loving to compete. Not all competitions get my adrenaline pumping, but those band contests did because there were a huge group of us with the same goal and you just wanted to do your best to claim that top trophy. So much fun. And more recently, I made a CD for the Annex Worship up in Boulder. Trying to figure out everything in the process of making that CD, working with all of those people, having so many meetings to figure out the process, and then sitting down to record and mix the whole thing. It was a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I was in total control and loved it. I made many mistakes but some of which I need to learn through experience. However, these previous things were absolute passions which got my adrenaline pumping. I need to find that in a job.
Although I have passions and strengths, I have no expertise that would get me a job right away. I have enough knowledge that forces me to seek only internships or apprenticeships. I’m all about learning, but I don’t want it to consume my life when I should be earning my keep. I want to practice my trades and make use of them.
What’s my idea situation? To spend a few years in the city of my choice, learning all the trades in the music/entertainment industry. In the meantime, I have enough money to go visit friends when I desire, to feed myself, pay rent, etc. I would also look into forming my own company so that I can get my control. I don’t like to be kicked around too much. I want to determine my own schedule. I want the ability to control how much I work rather than depend on someone else to tell me how much I work. I wish this weren’t such an obvious long term goal but it’s just how I see it right now.