Do you have a passion for music?
Ever dream of being part of a team that produces albums?
Would you let being a girl hold you back?
Solo female artists like Adele and Beyoncé might dominate the charts, but where are all the women on the other side of the studio glass?
Just 5% of workers in the audio engineering industry are female.
SAE Auckland Director, Dr Suzette Major, believes that statistic needs changing. Fast.
“We are actively seeking to bring more women into the industry,” says Dr Major. “One way to do that is to train more women to become audio engineers.”
She is thrilled to add that under her leadership, current enrolments in SAE’s audio programme is at the highest ever at 20%. But Dr Major believes there is still work to be done.
“It’s essential to increase the number of women in the music and audio industry. We need a stronger female voice in the production of music, film and pop culture in general.”
Dr Major says the local audio engineering industry lacks female role models, which has led to a lower awareness of the industry as a career choice. But that shouldn’t turn females away. SAE offers both a Bachelor’s degree in audio and in film making, and SAE is actively encouraging women to consider both as valid career options.
“Read the album credits on any locally-produced piece of music – or internationally, for that matter. Where are all the women’s names? It’s not traditionally a woman’s domain, and there are not a lot of high-profile women portrayed in the media, so I think it’s not on a lot of women’s radars as a career option.”
Mona Sanei (25) is a SAE audio grad, and audio engineer who works as a studio supervisor at SAE and freelances in the film and music industries in audio and creative production.
She loves her career, but says working in such a highly male-dominated sector can present challenges.
“I was recording Stan Walker’s concert and while I was setting up my gear, I had someone ask whether I was a groupie. At another job, I asked someone where the microphones had been moved to, and she said, ‘I don’t know, ask the sound guy.’ I replied, ‘I am the sound guy.’”
Mona says she wishes female audio engineers were more of a familiar sight out in the field, something she says is slowly changing.
“I have seen the number of women in the audio industry rise in the past couple of years, and I hope it continues.”
SAE New Zealand currently offers internationally recognised audio programs including the Bachelor of Recording Arts and Diploma of Audio Engineering at their campus in Parnell, Auckland.
Job prospects for audio engineering graduates include recording studio engineer/producer; live sound technician; audio production for theatre, television and film, and all facets of the radio industry.
Says Mona, “I hope that women aspiring to be audio engineers know that there are so many great opportunities in the audio industry, and everyone is very supportive of each other,”
“The work is always exciting and personally, I couldn’t be happier with the path I took.”
What does an audio engineer do?
An audio engineer works with the technical aspects of sound during the recording, mixing, and reproduction process. Audio engineers often assist record producers and musicians to help give their work the sound they are hoping to achieve. For example, an audio engineer will piece together parts of a song and/or add synthetic sounds to a track. Audio engineers are different from producers. However, some audio engineers go on with their careers to double as producers.
– Assistant sound engineer
– Studio sound recordist/engineer
– Mix engineer
– ProTools operator
– Live sound engineer
– Dubbing engineer
– Mastering engineer
– Broadcast engineer
– Audio post-production
– Music and dialogue editor
– Location recordist
– Music producer
– Electronic musician
– Sales and installation
– Consultancy, education and associated careers
– Stage manager
For more information on the SAE study options click here.