Columbia College Chicago

Live and Installed Sound, BA

The digital era is completely transforming the music industry. Concerts and music festivals are more popular than ever–and so is the demand for highly trained live sound engineers, as well as experts in designing sound systems. In this program, you’ll master the art of listening. You’ll learn the best ways to amplify each instrument and vocal style, how to work in a variety of venues, and how to operate and troubleshoot sound equipment. Our lab-based training prepares you for the unique challenges of managing sound at a live performance. We won’t just focus on the latest software for its own sake. Instead, you’ll learn to use technology as a tool to deliver a performer’s creative message in a way that’s effective and authentic. You’ll develop your critical thinking skills and prepare for a career in engineering sound at music and sports venues, places of worship, hotels, and convention centers. We strive to teach you what you can immediately put into practice–preferably on your gig this weekend!

What to Expect Your First Year

As a first-year student in Audio Arts and Acoustics, you’ll take foundational courses in theory, aesthetics, and practice, including Introduction to Audio Theory and Production I in addition to required Liberal Arts and Sciences Core courses. You’ll learn how we perceive sounds biologically and psychologically, understand the essential principles of audio systems, and begin to practice the basic techniques of recording, editing, and mixing. Typically, students pursuing a Live and Installed Sound major take their first program-specific class, Live Sound Reinforcement, in their second or third semester. In that class, under the guidance of an experienced, practicing sound engineer, you’ll learn the language and basic approaches you’ll use throughout your studies.

What to Expect Your Last Year

By your senior year, you’ll have the ability to walk into any gig, assess the gear and the acoustics of the space, and get to work. You’ll sharpen those skills in advanced classes on digital consoles, digital equalization, loudspeaker theory, and monitor mixing. You’ll also take electives in other disciplines throughout the college. You’ll be encouraged to put your skills to use by working in the field, typically in local venues like churches, clubs and hotels.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities
What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Chicago’s vibrant cultural scene creates an ongoing demand for sound professionals, and we’ll connect you with our network. Live and Installed Sound students put their training to work at music venues, outdoor events, and other job sites all over the city. 

What are my internship options?

Our students can intern in a number of roles, typically at performance venues, live event production companies, and consulting firms. However, most students apply their classroom skills with “real world” experience in the form of paid gigs –– usually entry-level work like loading equipment and assisting engineers. If you’re ambitious and dependable, your instructors and our extensive alumni network will help you find work.

See the Career Center website for more information.


Admissions


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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