Student interview | Meet Austin Tobias from our Advanced Diploma

Austin Tobias joined Abbey Road Institute’s Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering in March 2016.  He’s coming up to the end of the course and took a bit of time out to share his thoughts around his experience so far.

Hey Austin.  Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in California and when I was 11, moved to Switzerland and ended up spending the next 10 years of my life there. This is where my passion for music really took off as I was struggling to cope with the culture shock of moving to a new country. Music created a space where I could be myself and be comfortable experimenting and expressing myself without being judged. I taught myself piano and Logic Pro and soon found myself creating beats for rappers from California to France! The power of music to break down barriers and bring people with diverse backgrounds together has always been my main motivating factor.

Why did you choose to study at Abbey Road Institute (ARI)?
Since I started creating music quite early on, I was confident that I needed to progress on the creative and technical side of music production and sound engineering. However, I was also very aware that just making “good” music was not enough – in an ever so changing industry, it was and still is important for me to have a grasp on the mechanics of the music business.

After having scouted a handful of universities and various music courses, I found that Abbey Road Institute was the only course to cover the complete spectrum from electronics to music theory to artist development! Hence my decision to study at Abbey Road Institute.

What does a typical day at ARI look like for you?
I come into the institute at 10AM and book either a production room, mixing room or if I have a session planned, the Custom 75 Studio to work on personal projects and assignments for the course. This is followed by a 3 hour lecture with one of our 3 amazing lecturers, during which we study a specific subject and have in class debates and discussions. From 5PM on, I continue working and collaborating on a multitude of projects with other ARI students either in the classroom or one of the various recording facilities provided. I usually find myself having dinner here and leaving at around 10PM.

What have been your highlights so far?
I can say that coming to Abbey Road Institute, had me feeling for the first time that I was no longer an “outsider” working on my music in my bedroom alone. The ability to exchange, discuss and debate ideas with like-minded individuals has allowed me to expand my musical knowledge and create relationships that I am sure will stand the test of time. Each subject is presented with such a passion that I found myself being interested in areas of the music industry that I had already dismissed early on. I went from looking to be a runner in a studio, to applying to music publishing and sync licensing jobs!

What would you say are the three most important things you’ve learnt on the course?
First and foremost I have learned to approach new and unfamiliar situations with a positive attitude and open mind, whether it be in music or any other situation in the outside world too. Being surrounded by other creatives, all from diverse backgrounds has expanded my horizon and opened my eyes to possibilities and opportunities that I most likely would have ignored if I hadn’t come to ARI. I have also learned to believe more in my work and have developed a stronger self-confidence, which can be a recurring theme amongst creatives, through constructive feedback by our lecturers and peers. The sense of community is strong here and everybody wants to see you succeed!

Do you have any tips or recommendations for anyone wanting to study at ARI in the future?
It is very important that music is your Plan A and to be more precise, your only plan. You should go into this knowing for a fact that this is the path you want to pursue no matter how hard it may be at times, and trust me it does get hard! Approaching this course with a self-awareness and clear mind is key. Having an open mind is what will allow you to grow and thrive in this environment. Coming from a Hip Hop background, I was pretty set on what music I wanted to make, but being in a class with experienced classical musicians, pop singers, and rock bands, found myself meshing rap with classical and trip-hop with rock. Be ready to collaborate!

Apply for the Advanced Diploma
If you think this could be you and you’d like to apply to study with us find out more on the course page for our Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering.