Audio company Prosound is running a series of sound engineering training courses for musicians, DJs and sound students looking at improving their practical skills at its premises in Roodepoort, which has access to equipment of international standard.
Lecturer and sound engineer Izan Greyling says that although South Africa has many colleges where people can study sound, there is a lack of short, part-time courses with an emphasis on the practical application of knowledge. He has 10 years' lecturing experience and was department head of Entertainment Technology at the Durban University of Technology prior to joining the company.
"In most areas of study, there is a vast discrepancy between academic learning and the real world, and this is particularly true for sound. It's a bit like trying to learn to drive a car by reading a textbook. Often, sound students struggle to apply the theory they have learnt into practice in the real world," he says.
A non-profit initiative, the idea was inspired by a desire to contribute to the industry. The company has a high number of schools and churches among its nationwide customer base and the company identified that many of these clients had never been taught to use their sound equipment properly. Most are professionals with full-time jobs who volunteer to contribute to amateur dramatic and concert productions.
The first course was held in February and March this year, and was attended by 25 people who learnt about sound systems, sound theory, stage and system set-up and live mixing. The course also includes practical training in terms of setting up bands for actual gigs. The four-day courses will be held twice a year.
"We concentrate on giving the students an opportunity to apply what they've learned," says Greyling. "For example, if they learn about compressors in the morning, they will use a compressor in the afternoon. On the final day of the course, the students set up a stage and sound for a band, do the sound check with the band, and run a show in front of their parents and friends. It's a great way to experience the pressure of a live gig!"
Greyling stresses that, while the course is ideal for amateurs and hobbyists, it is only one step on the journey towards becoming a professional as it takes a couple of years to become a sound engineer.
For more information, email Lisa de Reyter at .
Update 8 February 2012: Izan Greyling and Lisa de Reyter are no longer with Prosound.
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