Careers & Education

The music engineer

Travel, satisfaction guaranteed in music engineering

BY PETRE WILLIAMS-RAYNOR Career & Education editor

Sunday, September 23, 2012    

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DO you want to travel the world while working with some of the music business' most talented? If yes, then you may want to contemplate a career as a music engineer.

So says Craig Thelwell, himself a music engineer and the owner/operator of Unite the Hearts (UTH) Music, which he runs out of his home in St Andrew.

UTH, launched in 2009, offers not only music engineering, but also artiste management, production and a fully equipped rehearsal studio.

However, according to Thelwell, the father of one, interest in music engineering must begin with a love of music.

"First of all, you would definitely have to love music and enjoy working with upcoming talents. Once the love is there, then it can be taken to another level," he said.

"Persons would have the chance of putting out great, legendary music -- once they put their heads to it. The option is also there to travel the world, which would make way for networking," he added, noting his encouragement for those with an interest to get into that line of work.

Thelwell himself is well travelled, working as he has with the likes of "The great Richie Spice, who I have been touring with for the past six years, Etana, Lutan Fyah, Jah Mason, Capleton, Bescenta, and Kush, among others".

"I have travelled the entire Caribbean, toured Europe countless times [and been to] Japan, Australia, the United States and -- my favorite place to visit -- Africa," he said.

It is to this St George's old boy who Career & Education turns this week for insight into the field to which he has committed the last seven years of his life and is intent on staying in.

"I am thankful for what I have gained so far. I still have a lot to do to reach my ultimate goal, however, with perseverance same will be fulfilled," he said.

Who is a music engineer?

A music engineer is an individual who is skilled in trade that deals with the use of equipment for recording purposes, mixing and the reproduction of a wide variety of sounds.

What was it that prompted your entry into this field?

The love of our music. Also, my brother who is a producer/former owner of recording studio. He motivated me and paved the way which encouraged me to step up my game.

What do your duties as a music engineer entail?

The main duties include, but are not limited to, mixing, recording, editing, mastering and setting up of a band, completing sound check prior to a show, ensuring that the band members and the artiste are ready to deliver to the audience.

What are the academic qualifications to become a music engineer?

Graduate from high school and doing further studies at an engineering school -- Full Sail University, which is in Florida or locally.

What other skills and/or competencies are required for entry into the field?

The music engineer is required to pay attention to detail, that is, have an ear for key notes/tones. Knowledge of various recording techniques is also important, as is being versatile and having proper time management skills.

What do you most enjoy about the work that you do?

Getting to work with various artistes on different levels, being able to provide motivation, travelling the world, and being able to meet icons in the music industry.

What are the challenges that you face on the job?

Budgetary constraints, not getting the support needed from disc jockeys and the takeover of auto-tunes, which is pushing one drop-type recordings off the airwaves.

How much can one earn annually as a music engineer?

It depends on the artiste who you work with, but you can make from US$1,000 to US$1,800 per festival. And you can probably do two festivals a month, which means you can make between US$12,000 and $21,600 per year from that. For the tour, you can make 800 per week, again depending on the artistes and the promoter.

Trained as a music engineer, what sort of employment options are open to you?

You can be employed to tour with major artistes, operate your own studio and/or teach.





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