Katie Crain

Audio Production

Instructor, Audio Production
The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

I want students to understand the dedication it takes to succeed. They can do it if they're willing to put in the work. Katie Crain , Instructor, Audio Production
, The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

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

I can tell you exactly. 11:03 pm, September 12, 2000, at a concert in Rockville, Illinois. In that instant, with the world buzzing around me, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. Among the record reps, the roadies, the musicians and the fans, a magnificent light bulb went on. An immense world of possibility was illuminated. I had to become part of the music industry.

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

I share real-world scenarios from my experience promoting concerts and shows, whether it’s reviewing a contract from a concert or an email I received from a client. I always try to put everything into context, drawing on examples from my career.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

One of my favorite assignments is the Career Challenge. I challenge students to contact an industry professional and engage in some sort of interaction to help them build networking skills early. I've had students reach their favorite artists—and even receive offers for internships.

How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

I also teach a course where students craft a business plan that takes eight weeks to complete. It's not easy, but the students often thank me at the end of the course because now they have the tools to start their own business one day..

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

The industry I work in certainly does not exist in a bubble—and neither can education. Music, now more than ever, is a cross-platform medium. In almost every class I teach, there’s some group work, whether in assignments or large-scale presentations. Teamwork is critical to success beyond the classroom.

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

I want my students to know that to have a career in this industry they have to work hard and be passionate. It's a 24/7 career, and their success is directly correlated to the hours they invest. Nothing will be handed to them. I want students to understand the dedication it takes to succeed. They can do it if they’re willing to put in the work.