my name is Tim Hocks, I’m a musician from Germany, I am 24 years old two weeks ago and I am a student in the Audio Production programme at SAE institute London, UK.
One of the first pieces of advice our lecturer Amil Metcalfe, who conducts the so-called common module at college, presented to us in class was not to begin a job application talking about oneself but starting out with some a**-kissing of the company you’re seeking to get involved with instead. Although this instruction may not entirely be applicable to the situation I am dealing with right now - writing the first article of my reflective portfolio - and despite the fact I’ve already ‘lost’ the first two sentences of my blog talking about who it is delivering this text to you, I’ll try and begin my reflections covering something totally different:
Whilst having had my breakfast and cup of tea this morning, I came across an article in the New York Times dealing with the continuously decreasing annual turnovers of the music industry worldwide. It was also pointed out there that the most lucrative and yet still growing sectors of global media industry were to be located in the fields of video games and augmented reality devices. That being said, in the following four pieces of textual conversation with myself, I would like to both reconsider and point out what the reasons are for me passionately wanting to get my foot in the door of the - compared to other industry fields and according to the Times - so unequally unpromising business of melody, harmony and rhythm.
To do so, firstly I would like to explain to you who I am, where I come from and why it is I have decided to dedicate two of my best years, as biologists would probably evaluate the twens, to studying at SAE. Well, I come from a small village not far a way at all from a small town in fact quite far away from the next larger cities in Germany which would be Cologne, Düsseldorf, Aachen and Mönchengladbach - ranked in difficulty of pronounciation ;) This village is called Schwanenberg and is located in the very west of my home country which is why the Netherlands, the country where my father’s family originates from, are just a stone thrown away. Both of my parents worked as high school teachers and maintained a very close relationship with music throughout their lives. My father is a guitarist and bass player who used to be a member of some well-known West German bands during the 60s and 70s and thus having experienced label contracts, festival gigs, album productions and TV coverage of his groups in his twens. My mum doesn’t play an instrument other than the recorder but is strongly interested in classical and rather acoustic pop music which is why I was exposed to a mixture of rock, blues, classical and pop music from day one on. Some twenty years skipped, I have studied music and protestant theology in a German town called Osnabrück and worked as an assistant and freelance employee in large mix and mastering studios in Germany as well as as a freelancer in my own studio and have more than 10 years of band experience as a musician. How I got to this point is supposed to be covered in my second blog by the way. Therefore, I’ll look straight ahead right now and take you on a quick journey to my career aspirations.
As I’ve already stated in the beginning of this text, I want to become engaged in the music industry. This doesn’t mean I want to entirely exclude myself from getting jobs as a sound engineer for radio or TV contributions here and there, but it means that my main focus, and also my strongest talent, as I see it, lies in the musical domain: I want to dedicate my life to sung and played sound that moves people and helps them find confidence and carry on with their lives despite all the struggles they will have to cope with. That being said, I’m definitely not a technician wanting to specialise in audio engineering, but a musician and songwriter wanting to make audio engineering a major part of my skillset. As Dave Pensado, one of my favourite mix engineers, has pointed out in some of his interviews, to him, there is technical and musical sound engineers and I consider myself as one of the latter category. Especially when facing a sector of the labour market where production budgets are cut more and more, I think it is crucial to develop several practical music related skills and thus being able to offer a polyvalent set of expertise to bring to the table. In my case, I seek to work hard on my strengths and weaknesses to become a music producer and songwriter who is capable to arrange, record and engineer his own or his clients’ productions as well as to play all the instruments needing to be recorded. I also want to establish my own studio as well as being ready to work in other people’s studio environments, which is a major reason for having chosen to come to SAE as I can find all the industry standard gear and equipment at bankstock studios, especially in terms of analog mixing desks.