We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the graduates from our most recent Live Sound, Lighting and Stage Production course. Keeping in touch with graduates and seeing how their careers are progressing is a major component of our ethos in the Sound Training College. Naturally we were extremely interested to see how our most recent class were faring in life post-STC! You can check out both video interviews and written accounts of the student experience below :
I had just finished a BA (Hons) in Music Production and was looking for a pathway into the live industry, however I knew I didn’t have enough skills or experience to dive straight in. So I started researching different courses, both at home and abroad, and discovered the Live Sound, Lighting & Stage Production course at STC. From the outside looking in, the course seemed to offer great work experience and relevant training in a professional, commercial environment. I’m delighted as STC delivered a course that did exactly what it said on the tin; within the very first month of college the entire Live class were offered work experience at a city-wide music festival. After that, we received emails for work experience, and then paid work, weekly from our college administrators. It was an intense year; often a 40-hour week plus any additional work experience, but we made great connections and contacts, both with our classmates and industry professionals.
Towards the end of the college year, I was offered to work with the Body & Soul team at their “Solas” stage at Latitude festival in England, alongside two other STC students. The experience of working with such a professional and progressive team was priceless. We arrived to the festival site and jumped straight into work, helping to set up the lights and stage. To my surprise, I was asked to be the stage manager for the weekend and loved every minute of it. It was an intense week, with 14 or 15 hour days, but the production team were so full of enthusiasm and energy that we didn’t really notice. I must have done a good job, because they’ve asked me to work with them again at Electric Picnic!
Out of a class of 9 people, 7 of us are getting regular work in the live industry already, and have been for a couple of months now. Without a doubt, that’s thanks to the quality of training and work experience provided by STC.
After completing an undergraduate degree in Music Technology, I wanted to go in to the Live Events industry as a Sound Engineer, although I felt that I needed some further education in order to feel comfortable entering the industry. During my research into courses, and after visiting institutions both in the UK and Ireland, I came across the Sound Training College. On paper, the college was exactly what I was looking for in order to further my education, and instil confidence in me to venture out into the industry.
From day one of starting the course, I knew that STC was the perfect environment to improve my skills and knowledge. A major factor of the college which impressed me was the fact that both the Staff and Lecturers are industry professionals, who are taking time from their schedule to teach. It was great knowing that everything that was being taught on the course was the correct methods and techniques to use in the industry, not because it was mentioned in a book, but because professional Lighting Engineers, Sound Engineers and Production Managers were standing in front of you, explaining how it is done in the industry. Another benefit to being educated by industry professionals is that there are opportunities to be involved in real world productions throughout year. If the lecturers feel you are progressing and competent, they will put your name forward for shows and productions. These productions can range from anything such as being a stage hand for a small venue in Dublin city centre, to being a Junior Technician on the Main Stage of a major festival. The course is a major stepping point and great gateway into the industry with regards to both the skills and knowledge to succeed, and also the networking links which can be made through the college.
In September 2016, I left my full-time job to move to Dublin and start the course. The plan was to gain full time employment as a Sound Engineer with a company in the industry by September 2017. My experience throughout the course has somewhat altered my career aspirations, and at this point I am now a self-employed Lighting & Stage Technician with future aspirations to progress as a Production Manager and Lighting Designer. Since finishing the course 3 months ago, I have worked on several festivals including Body & Soul and Latitude. I am also travelling to Electric Picnic to work as a Junior LX Technician. Other than the music side of the industry, I am also working for several different companies in Ireland & the UK who specialise in corporate productions such as meetings, conferences and Live Events. Next month I will be travelling to London to work as a Technician on a production in Wembley Arena. I never would have thought when starting the course that I would have had enough skills, knowledge and confidence to be working as a full time self-employed Technician, less than a year later.
Sound Training College is the perfect environment to learn how to become a professional within the Live Events industry, and personally I feel the time spent there will be invaluable to me over my career.
I finished the Live Sound, Lighting and Stage Production course in May of 2017. I’m now working full time in the industry as a lighting engineer and as an AV technician. During my time in STC, I received many opportunities that have got me to where I am. Even though I've just finished the course, I’m extremely busy. One of the biggest strengths of the course is the contacts you’ll make along the way if you’re seeking work. For example, I’m now working in The Academy, I have just taken on a full-time job with Justlite, and I’m still working with bands and artists as a freelancer. One of the acts I work with is called Rub a Dub Hi-Fi. I found out about these guys after I saw a poster on the staircase in STC. I went to a show and offered to do lighting and visuals for them. Five months later and now we’re planning what we’re going to do at the Fuinneamh festival in September.
I first starting learning about visuals for the Searchlight Showcase, for the band Search Party Animal (Searchlight is the first project you work on as a class. You are given bands that you work with closely to produce a night of continuous music). After that I was teaching myself little bits here and there until I was asked to run visuals for the EMP night (EMP is the second project you work on. This time you work alongside the studio course to put on a night of live electronic music). As the lighting rig was limited we decided that the visuals should be the focus of the stage. So I built two extra screens and projection mapped onto them.
It ended up looking like this :
At the end of this night Oggy from Oggy Psy Club approached me and asked if I could do something similar for his shows, and since then we’ve been working on Psy Trance shows together. After the EMP night our next and final project was the charity album launch. Myself and Aoife O’Toole (one of my classmates from the course) designed the stage for it. We hung umbrella’s that we had painted white from the truss and I projected onto them using the program Resolume. We also hung white drapes above the crowd and lit them using LED par cans to give a sunrise effect throughout the night. The result was very effective.
Since college I’ve worked with bands doing visuals and lighting. I’ve worked with bands such as Orchid Collective and Molly Sterling. I continue to work with Rub a Dub, Oggy Psy Club and Modem, and I have other artists that I’m planning shows with now. So far everyone I’ve had the opportunity to work with has come, in one way or another through STC. I’m still new to the industry and still have a lot to learn but the course really helped me get started with my career.