5 Tips for Aspiring Audio Engineers

Meet producer, audio engineer, songwriter, and SAE Institute Miami’s Audio Program Chair Guillermo Lefeld. Guillermo has engineered and assisted sessions for artists such as Pharrell, Shakira, Ariana Grande, Chayanne, and Britney Spears.

This SAE Institute Miami instructor has worked on projects that have gone on to win GRAMMY, Latin GRAMMY, and EMMY awards. Personally, Guillermo has been awarded with a Pepsi Music Award in Venezuela as Best Engineer. He has also have been featured in a couple of records, and has performed as an artist in many multiple stages, my favorite being a performance as a featured artist on the One World Concert in the Lincoln Center in New York City in 2018.

We caught up with Guillermo to discuss his five tips for aspiring audio engineers.

Know the audio engineering and entertainment industry

Guillermo insists that you have to do your homework about the industry you want to be part of. Not only in Audio, in any career. Know the players, know the trends, know the main sources of data, know your target market.

Learn how to deal with rejection and critiques

This is a major one. To find success as an audio engineer, you need to deal with constructive (and not-so-constructive) feedback. Don’t take feedback, critiques, even rejection, as a personal thing. You will listen to the words: “no” and “that can’t be done” on an almost daily basis. So, prepare yourself and take criticism well, they might be right. Criticism and rejection are only bad if you don’t use it as a learning experience.

You are only competing with yourself

You are about to start a career in one of the most difficult industries to work in. But what makes it really difficult for some is that they constantly compare themselves to other professionals and how their career has rocketed or how somebody made it so fast. Even worse, comparing yourself to somebody who got so lucky… (the list is huge). Hey, this is not a competition. You are only competing with yourself, so: study craft, demand yourself to be better every time, learn from your mistakes, celebrate your victories, but don’t think you can repeat that formula because it won’t last for long, so be curious, be unique.

Do not forget your small clients when you’re freelancing

So, you got that sweet gig for a major labeled A-lister artist, and started not paying attention to your “amateurs-for-now” artists. Big mistake. Those “smaller” artists will give you your day-to-day, while the big projects will be like a bonus. Treat everybody with the same level of professionalism. Those “smaller” artists can grow exponentially, and you can do the same with them. Think of every project as a part of your legacy. By the way, I don’t know if you knew this, but those big works, they take same time to be paid to you, so you might be working for those big guys and not being able to pay the rent for a couple of months, so, do not underestimate the value of those “smaller” works.

Don’t give up when pursuing a career in audio engineering

Guillermo considers this one to be self-explanatory. Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Finding success with a career in audio engineering takes dedication and the right skills to succeed.

Interested in learning more from talented SAE Institute instructors and become an audio engineer? Learn more about our SAE Institute Miami campus, staff members, and Audio Technology diploma program, here.

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