You are never too young to begin learning, and a proper head start is ideal for students to learn their future trade. As such, the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS; www.cras.edu), the premier institution for audio engineering education, and local Arizona high schools have formed partnerships to help educate and energize the industry’s next generation of professional audio engineers.
“We have begun forging relationships with local high schools in an effort to help the next generation of audio engineers realize and get started upon their passion early and take the steps necessary to get the most out of their high school experience,” explained Kirt Hamm, CRAS administrator. “As both CRAS and these forward-thinking high school instructors believe in a ‘real world education’, it was ideal that we strike this accord. These terrific high school programs provide excellent preparation to enter our realm of education, propelling and preparing students for employment into the five disciplines within the audio recording and production industry.”
Phoenix, Ariz.’s Arcadia High School Creative Musical Arts & Sciences Program has been in existence for nine years, according to Richard Maxwell, who created the program and has been with the high school for 18 years. “Previously to creating the program while I was running the bands and orchestras at the school I was also developing what would become this program over all those years. From a technology standpoint, we focus a lot in studio on Pro Tools. Live sound is also a big part of what we do that is always contingent on what we have available in terms of gear and, more importantly, since it’s a school budget. That said, the real thrust of the program is the students’ creative process, so they are creating all of their own material in pretty much any style they want on pretty much any instrument they want and the idea is getting that music to an audience.” Maxwell explained that it initially didn’t really seem like that big of a deal. “But as I look back on it now, the notion of allowing students the opportunity to explore their own musical interests legitimately was something that was missing. The students really get into the idea of all the opportunities that they have available to them. “It does take a considerable amount of student self-discipline and real interest in pushing their own creative process.”
According to Maxwell, many of his students have gone on to CRAS. “I’m always humbled that they want to credit anything they did with me before they got to CRAS. I am certainly glad at least to be a small part of their journey and I have great affinity for CRAS. Not just because of what they do, obviously CRAS’ credentials speak for themselves, but more selfishly because when I was trying to establish my program the endorsement of so many people at the Conservatory really made a difference in terms of legitimizing what was possible for us. I am incredibly grateful to them.”