The audio engineering facilities at San Jacinto College Central Campus have received an upgrade recently and are preparing to open their doors to students this June.
The upgrade in equipment and facilities come in part thanks to a $50,000 Perkins grant and also due to the passage of the 2015 bond, which approved renovations to the Davison Technical Building that houses the program.
"I'm always first out of the chute with Perkins grant requests," said Lester Williams, audio engineering instructor. "I knew we needed a massive upgrade in our equipment, and so that's exactly what I requested."
The program can now boast a live sound room with one of every major manufacturer's sound mixing boards for digital and analog recording, a soldering room for students to learn to wire equipment, an MIDI room, and a fully functioning recording studio capable of hosting ensembles and choirs.
"When we were approached with the renovation, we went to our advisory board to get suggestions about new equipment and technology," said Williams. "The live sound room is one of the things that was born of that conversation. There is nothing like it at another college or university."
The program sees about 80-100 students each semester and prepares them for the recording studio but also as live sound support for concerts and churches.
"We have a fantastic internship program with churches and venues throughout Houston," said Lynne Brandt, department chair, music and audio engineering. "Our students are interning and providing support at places like Sagemont, Sugar Creek, New Hope, and the Toyota Center."
Williams credits the success of the internship program again to the alumni and advisory board.
"Once my students graduate, they go to work in the most high-profile venues in Houston. They are looking for well-trained interns, and this is where they find them," Williams said.
Students in the audio engineering program have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science in music recording or live sound reinforcement, a certificate of technology in techniques of audio engineering, and an occupational certificate in sound recording. And once earned, students experience a job placement rate of 83%.
Music producer and recording artist Donald Johnson, also known as Beanz, credits his foundation of learning in San Jac's audio engineering program to part of his success.
"I explored education options in and out of state, but they had waiting lists or weren't what I was looking for. I checked out San Jacinto College, and there was no question it was right for me," Johnson said. "We live in an information age, and so much is at your fingertips. If you love music and want to work in this industry, I encourage you to pursue audio engineering. It can open doors for you."
The doors of the newly renovated audio engineering facilities are scheduled to be
opened this June, ready to welcome eager students.