Schools Training

A Day in the Life of a Sound Engineering Student

11 SEP 2013
Career Path : Sound Design

A Day in the Life of a Sound Engineering Student

Before describing a typical day for a sound engineering student, let’s answer the question: what is a sound engineer?


A sound engineer deals primarily with the recording, mixing and manipulation of sound. There are a broad variety of areas where a background in sound engineering can be beneficial beyond simply working in the music industry. Some work in television, create sound for electronic products and computer games; others are hired for speech, radio audio recording and even researching new audio technologies.

A Sound Engineering Student Course Load

Sound engineering students come from a variety of educational backgrounds spanning from music to physics.  A typical day for a sound engineering student is similar to a more academics-focused student, except that its course load focuses specifically on learning skills such as recording technology, computer management, sound design, and digital theory essentials along with other similarly related subjects. Educational articles are the best way to learn more to find out if these areas match your interests. If you are unsure about which school is the best for you, then take a look at a college directory when starting your research. Interspersed with this academic course load is a hands-on, in-the-field curriculum that includes working on portfolio building projects. Some examples of studio sessions include recording songs, as well as practical recording exercises with instruments and musicians/bands.

A sound engineering student may start the day off working in the studio on projects where they will build the basics of setting up and operating recording equipment.  Working in the studio also involves microphone selection and placement for instruments and voice, as well as signal routing and operation of analog and digital consoles, hardware processors and software plug-ins.

Throughout the day students may also work on hard disc computer-based recording, using a PC platform and/or Mac workstations to complete multi-track assignments with and without the use of a large format console. Some of this daily work includes the choice and design your own system, compatibility between platforms, transferring and transporting audio files effectively from studio to workstation, overdubbing and tracking, mixing, non-linear editing, automation, mastering and exporting files to CD.

However, with a typical course load, a student will be in the classroom in the morning on average from 9 am to 1 pm and, in the afternoon, will practice what they’ve learned in class, as well as working on projects and assignments in the computer lab. With all of this hands-on practice, this means a typical student may be in the studio up to 2 or 3 times a week.

Why Sound Engineering?

Sound engineering is the perfect field for those passionate about everything having to do with music and audio, as well as being detail-oriented. For those who like variety, although the days are long, they are varied with each recording session differing from the last, particularly if you focus on working in the studio on the work of others rather than your own work. You will also need the flexibility to adapt to your client’s schedule, no matter how erratic.

At the end of the day, with the passion to pursue your projects no matter your motivation, learning new skills is always a great addition to your CV. Taking the time to read education news to find the best program for you is always a great place to start!