Andy Alton

Audio Production

Audio Production Lead Instructor
The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

Andy Alton

I try and design all classroom assignments and labs to mimic the challenges and experiences that a young audio professional would be likely to encounter. Andrew Alton , Audio Production Lead Instructor , The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I was blown away the first time that I was introduced to a 4-track tape recorder and learned that I could layer and manipulate audio parts. From that point forward I was committed to learning as much about the art of recording as possible. 

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

In the classroom, I talk a lot about my professional experiences owning and running a studio and my time working in the industry with other creative professionals. I try and design all classroom assignments and labs to mimic the challenges and experiences that a young audio professional would be likely to encounter.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

In my Audio Technology class, we spend a lot of time learning about audio signal flow and the process of troubleshooting. During the final exam students are exposed to timed drills that are performed in the dark with all sorts of distractions. This is done to simulate the challenges of quickly identifying and correcting a problem in a fast-paced environment. This has become almost a rite of passage among the audio students.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Learning how to collaborate and work with others is key to learning how to handle yourself in a creative environment. In our group recording sessions our students are learning how to work as part of a team. They develop the professional communication skills needed to work with other creative professionals.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

The most important part of helping a student succeed is to help them develop their people skills and follow through. They absolutely must learn to communicate with others in a safe and constructive manner to be part of a creative team. You must also be able to deliver on your commitments.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

The most important advice I could give is to know your place and role in a creative setting. Know what is expected of you.