I am a junior in high school am being pressured to go to college to get a "real" career. I'm really just interested in sound design though. A lot of people tell me to stay from big name sound design schools like SCAD and Full Sail and just teach myself by reading forums, experimenting, and taking free online courses.

Is that the best advice to take? If so, where do I go to start experiment and learning on the most basic level?

I am specifically interested in pursuing the film or the video game industry for work in sound design. I believe that I am self-motivated enough to learn on my own, but because I have no connections and I live in a small town, I've had little guidance on how to get started.

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    That's how I learned sound design, and how I think a lot of people do. It's a very practical craft -- you need to know a lot of theory, but little of it makes sense until you understand intuitively what it means for a sound. Also, if it's video (game) sound design you're interested in, you might want to see if you could get involved with the sound design for a theatre production somewhere in your town/high school -- you can learn a lot that way.
    – Linuxios
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


While I don't work in sound design specifically, I think I have some pointers that may help you.

I'm not sure how old you are (junior- 13?) but it seems like you know what you want to do which is definitely a good start. At that age, while I was consistently experimenting in audio production and DJing, I had no idea I could do it for a living, so I ended up in motor-mechanic college which didn't end well. So it's good you're focused at a young age. Just look into your chosen field and be 100% sure you have enough passion for it to keep you going. Be sure there isn't another subject you are equally passionate about which is easier to get into.

The next steps for you, I would suggest, is to get good grades in school, do best in maths and science. I've found that learning the theory of sound extends to other sciences, so the reverse is also true. But in the meantime, try to contact people in your school or community who work in production and ask them questions and get some real-world knowledge. Making connections is important. Don't be afraid to let people know what you want to learn about. Trust me, you can get away with asking anybody anything when you're that age, so take advantage of it!

While online forums are a good source of general information, some can be wrong in the information they give. Experiment for yourself, save up for, or borrow equipment to get some personal experience. Reading books on the subject is a good thing to do too, they tend to be more accurate than online stuff, and maybe subscribe to a magazine like Sound On Sound. At my uni, we always had SOS magazines lying around, amongst others. Maybe start with a more basic book on sound recording and the technology that is used if the aforementioned are too in-depth for you at the moment.

If you can, find a sound design-related university course or something. I can't suggest any for you but look into them to be sure you get the qualifications you need. The stuff you learn there will help you for the rest of your life. This will also give you some of the experience you'll need (and also a portfolio!). Studying music tech at university was the best thing I ever did. It gives you confidence in your knowledge and also, contacts, people with the same goals as you.

I'm sorry to say but luck seems to be a big factor in how well you do in these types of industries, but some would say you make your own luck! Good luck!


First. You must learn the basic principles of sound. Understanding and learning frequencies and amplitude, digital sampling, basic acoustics etc. This knowledge is essential and will serve you well. You can teach yourself for sure but I learned much faster being taught in a good school. Going to college may or may not help you in a career path this is debated. But I certainly didn't regret it. Having a genuine interest in audio itself is important in my view. Secondly you need to learn Pro Tools. Love it or hate it, it is the principal software package in professional post production and there is a general universal correct way of setting up a Pro Tools session for post production projects. As for learning sound design simply watch movies and take mental notes, what are the current trends etc? When starting out I can assure you you'll have to learn to be multiskilled working on small independent productions you'll often be called upon to dialogue edit, Foley, sound design and mix.

I can't comment on video games but the advice I got is you need to understand how video games are made as their sound designers don't work linearly; you have to make multiple variations of the same sound.

I've talked in terms of freelancing. But if you want to work I'm post house then try and get a job as a runner/trainee.

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