Matt Agostino on the multiple disciplines of audio
What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia?
Perhaps the biggest surprise to me upon arriving at Columbia is just how diverse the field of audio can be. Being able to take courses in multiple disciplines of audio has opened my eyes to the many possibilities that I had not been aware of. Typically, when you consider positions in the field of audio, your mind jumps to recording and engineering. However, the interdisciplinary approach that Columbia takes exposes you to the many fields audio has to offer. Even in the field of acoustics, I was surprised to learn that there are over 13 different fields that one can specialize in. Upon arriving at Columbia, I was primarily interested in the architectural side of acoustics. Now that I am graduating, I am so grateful that I had been exposed to psychoacoustics, environmental acoustics, musical acoustics, and even biomedical acoustics!
What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial?
The acoustics courses offered at Columbia have been the most beneficial to me to develop the skill-sets needed for a successful career in acoustics. Specifically, the courses in Spatial Audio, Psychoacoustics, and Acoustic Modeling have proven invaluable. The material covered in these courses will translate very easily to my future career. They also helped reassure me that I am on the right career path. My experience in the Student Government Association at Columbia was very beneficial to me as well. I was able to develop relationships with the administration in the audio department, President Kim, and with some very outgoing students. I am very proud of the work I was able to accomplish and that I was able to make a difference in the audio department and also for future students majoring in acoustics.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to move back home to Los Angeles and begin work at Newson-Brown Acoustics as an Architectural Acoustic Consultant. Through the Acoustical Society of America Student Chapter, I was able to attend the national ASA meetings where I had opportunities to meet with professionals in the industry and attend lectures in the multiple fields of acoustics. Through these meetings, I was able to meet a representative from Newson-Brown Acoustics. I am very excited to begin my new position and consider it to be my dream job!
Do you have any advice for current students?
For current students, I would offer three pieces of advice:
- Join a professional club. While it is true that there are a countless number of clubs at Columbia you can join, I would recommend joining a professional club that is closely related to your major. For example, as an acoustics major, I am a member of is the Acoustical Society of America. Organizations like this will give you greater exposure to the industry you are joining, meet students with your similar interests, and even provide connections with industry professionals.
- Befriend your teachers. Another piece of advice would be to befriend your teachers. The teachers at Columbia are quite unlike the teachers at traditional universities. For the most part, they prefer to be addressed by their first name. They genuinely care about your education and career path and will go the extra mile for you if you express enough interest.
- Utilize your resources. The last piece of advice I can offer would be to take advantage of the many resources at Columbia that are included in your tuition. The Learning Studio offers free help to students in courses you are struggling with, and to even have your essays proofread. The Career Center has internship advisors that are solely responsible for helping you find internship opportunities related to your major. They also employ students to help design business cards and personal websites. Those are just a few resources, but there are many more available to you if you take the time to look.