Headphones Latest Audio School Trend in Dance, Live Music
Career Path : Audio Engineering
Headphones at a dance show? At a concert? Yes and yes. Two new sound trends for students of audio school to take note of.
Audio School Case Study #1 – A trend leading to a trend leading to a trend
London dance house, Sadlerâs Wells, generated a lot of buzz the summer of 2009 with its dance show, Electric Hotel, which was remarkable for its embodiment of several interrelated trends â the first of which one suspects of having given rise to the second; the second of which, of having given rise to the third; and, all of which, of impacting the future of students currently enrolled in audio engineering school. If this production is any indication, then graduates of sound engineering school will be more in demand as performance artists continue to experiment with sound in their shows.
The first trend embodied by Electric Hotel is the penchant for theatre in non-traditional, often industrial, venues. This particular production was staged behind Kingâs Cross station in London, in a building constructed expressly for the purpose, in an art deco style. Although, strictly speaking, this is not a sound engineering trend, it is still of importance to students in audio school. If you are in audio engineering school out of a desire to pursue a career in live sound design, then you may find yourself working in non-traditional venues such as this one. This is a career path that calls for adaptability and flexibility.
The second trend of interest to sound engineering school students? The pop up show. Pop up shows are surprise, usually limited run performances that appear with little warning, usually at non-traditional venues. Again, although this is not a concept that may be taught in audio school, it is still worthwhile for students to take note of it. Because after audio engineering school, you may find yourself working on productions where the ability to keep a secret will be one of your most valued talents.
The third and perhaps most important trend, at least from the perspective of audio school students, is the use of individual headphones. Electric Hotel, a Hitchcock-inspired production, takes place late at night. Audience members are invited to âspyâ on the staff and lodgers at a hotel. A lot of the show is âheardâ rather than seen: a robe drops to the floor, a telephone rings. The individual headsets convey a sense of intimacy, and help address any noise problems with the neighbours, especially given the later than normal hour.
But individual headsets arenât just popping up in dance productions. They are even being used by recording artists in concert settings. Witness our second case study for students in audio engineering school:
Concerts in a bubble
Montreal turntablist Kid Koala was inspired by fatherhood and lullabies to produce a quieter, more reflective concert-going experience. This winter, his Space Cadet Headphone Concert went on tour. Audience members were given their own headsets, and their own âpodsâ in which to stretch out in. Could quirky initiatives like these become more prevalent in the future? These are questions that students in audio engineering school may want to ponder.
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