Ian Vargo

It's very rewarding when a student starts with virtually no experience with a particular topic or skill, and by the end of the course they're creating almost industry-standard work. Ian Vargo , Audio Production Instructor
, The Art Institute of California—Inland Empire, a campus of Argosy University
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I've enjoyed music, film and television since I was a kid. In high school bands, I was always the one involved in recording and mixing. When I found out I could study sound in college and pursue audio, music production, and sound for visual media as a career, I knew that's what I wanted to do.

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

I love bringing examples of past and current projects into the classroom. It helps students understand what they should know by the time they graduate. Staying current is vital, and it builds trusts among my students to know that I work in the same field that I teach.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


Audio production is a very collaborative field—just look at all the names in the credits in a film or music album. I love using group assignments where students take on clearly defined roles. It helps them realize the importance of accountability. And the work improves because students are motivating each other.

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

It's essential. Most of our media is a result of collaboration on a grand scale. I've even created assignments that are cross-departmental so Digital Film students are collaborating with Audio Production students. That's how they’re going to work when they graduate, so why not make those connections now?

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


The type of student you are in college will probably be the kind of professional you become, so come to class with a good attitude and be ready to work.

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

Creative fields are very competitive and saturated with talent, so you really need to be well-rounded and motivated if you expect to be successful.

Anything else you’d like to share?


It's very rewarding when a student starts with virtually no experience with a particular topic or skill, and by the end of the course they're creating almost industry-standard work and telling me "I’d love to do this for a living."