A performer is known for entertaining the audience but in the absence of a sound or audio engineer, the quality of sound would not have been as soothing as it is to the listener. Recording music would not have been so perfect in the absence of audio engineering. Bringing perfection into the song and enhancing the quality of musical instruments for accurately portraying the song being played is the art of the audio engineer. As it is said that having an ear for music is the prerequisite for anyone in the field of music, the sound engineers precisely do that to produce and reproduce performances.
Lot of creativity and attention to minute details go into audio engineering by controlling microphones, sound levels, and outputs. Besides well-trained ears, knowledge of acoustics to produce the best quality of sound is very essential for audio engineers. Creativity and continuous research on audio experiments are part of their routine work.
There may be a pool of talent aspiring to be an audio engineer but few can actually afford some of the lucrative courses. Noting this, The Audiophile’s School of Sound Engineering (TASE) was started to educate audio engineering aspirants.
Mervin T Thomas, Founder of TASE, noticed that many students wanted to take up advanced courses which were expensive. He incepted TASE along with Co-Founder Neeraj Kashyap in Kilpauk, Chennai, to provide the quality courses with affordable fees.
The Inception, Vision and Mission
TASE is an educational institution that was started solely with the vision and mission of providing quality education in the field of audio engineering and music production while at the same time keeping it affordable. Quality here means striving for international standards of learning and education. Hence all the study methodology and practical approach is from a western perspective, which is a bridge to the Indian music industry.
More emphasis is on practical training, encouraging students to become recording engineers, mixing engineers and independent music producers. TASE encourages students to become creative independent.
Brains Behind the Success
Mervin is an Audio Engineer and teacher who designs the curriculum while Neeraj with an experience of 10-15 years in international educational institutes like Singapore ensures growth for the school.
After graduation Mervin travelled to Hollywood, Los Angeles to pursue higher education in Audio Engineering at Musicians Institute – College of Contemporary Music, Los Angeles. Back in India he worked with sound engineering schools.
Students have quite a number of options starting from recording engineer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer, post-production engineer, re-recording engineer, sound editor, foley editor, music director, music producer. Someone who has composition background can also major in composition. This field is very vast. For example, if you take the subject audio engineering, it has various aspects. You can become a theorist, you can become a pro-audio guy who is into marketing and sales. If you have a coding background you can go into video game design, audio, etc.
Compulsory Internship Programme
We have 100 percent internship placements based on the field that the student chooses at the end of the programme. For example, if a student decides to be a music producer, we will place him with a music producer for internship so that he can learn the art of music production. The student will be working under him for few months. This is a skill-based labour. I do not believe 100 percent placement is possible. But as of now all our students are working. The first batch of students just passed out. All of them are doing good work. One of our students is already assigned music producer and independent artist with a record label.
First and the foremost thing that makes TASE stand apart from other audio engineering institutes is the faculty. “We have world class faculty. They all work in the music industry with AR Rahman, Yuvan Shankar Raja and other artists in and around the city. I can say that we have the best faculty team on board when. We have specialised faculty for specialised subjects. We have very small student-faculty ratio which is very 5:1 per class/batch, which is not the usual case,” informs Mervin. He adds that TASE has world class infrastructure and the studio is acoustically treated in a very nice way. “We have treated it like a full-fledged studio and not like a temporary studio for teaching. Our studio also functions as a real time studio where independent artists, musicians, composers walk in and out of it and students are subject to these real time sessions as part of their class and credits. So, they learn real time other than their classes,” says Mervin.
Survival during the Covid-19 Pandemic
These times are very tough, but we have not yet given up, says Mervin. Most of the schools have started taking online lessons but TASE is only taking theory classes because they believe that students are paying for the experience, and they do not want to cut short on that experience. “TASE is an experience. Hence, all our core subjects are put on hold. We are planning to start practical lessons in November or December. Theory can be managed online. Some of our music production and music programming subjects where it is not required to be present at the studio, are being conducted online but all our core subjects like recording, mixing, where one on one experience with the environment and faculty is needed have not yet started. We are waiting for things to calm down. We do not have a big threat because we are taking only five students per batch. So, we are actually following social distancing.
Every year we look forward to introduce one new programme. This year also we were planning to start one but due to the pandemic we could not do so. But we started a complete online programme which is a Certificate programme of three months. Our benchmark programme is the one-year Diploma which is fulltime. Our part time programme which is fully online is a certification in music production.
We are looking to expand nationally and internationally. We are looking at brands to associate with us. We already have lot of brand collaboration across the world. They support us in terms of equipment and software. They support our students in terms of equipment and software. Our students fetch 50 percent discount on almost any software they want to buy. We are looking for expansion specifically in South East Asia and the Asian market in general.