How to become an audio engineer and musician: Tommy's story

"Despite the challenges that come with being self-employed in the creative industry, I really love what I do."

  • Tommy was interested in music from the age of 12, when he started guitar lessons, and he studied Music at GCSE

  • He initially intended to study Politics at university, but he deferred (delayed starting his course) and volunteered with a local community organisation where he taught music to young people, which led him back down a musical career path

  • He changed his degree course to Music and, whilst at university, formed an alt-rock band, New Luna

  • After completing an internship at a music studio after university, he started to work freelance as an audio engineer, recording music. He is now able to produce his own band's music. Whilst self-employment is challenging, it is also really exciting and he feels his band is heading in the right direction.

What to expect if you want to be an audio engineer

  • Audio engineer salary: Variable ranging from £15,000 to £40,000 per year
  • Audio engineer working hours: 39 to 41 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: You can get into this job through a university course, a college course, an apprenticeship or specialist courses run by private training providers. You could do a foundation degree or degree in Sound Engineering and Production, Audio Engineering or Music Production. You'll usually need at least one A-level (or equivalent) for a foundation degree and two to three A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree. You could take a college course like Level 3 Diploma in Sound Production or Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology. You could complete a creative venue technician or technical theatre advanced apprenticeship, which have options in sound. You could start as a runner or an assistant in a recording studio and work your way up by learning basic tasks and making contacts. You can also work on community music events, DJ projects, hospital or community radio, or mix and record music in a home studio and post your work online.
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