After more than a decade of experience working in a recording studio, Hauk Graham is ready to try his hand at teaching.
“All the job ads for teaching at the college level required a master’s degree or job experience,” he said. “With most of these website applications, you spend three hours typing in your resume.”
Because he knew a master’s degree and field experience will be critical for landing a teaching job, Graham enrolled in the online Master of Music in Music Technology – Studio Technology Emphasis program at Southern Utah University (SUU) and completed the program in June 2022.
“It was the pandemic, and I was stuck at home,” he said. “I wanted a program that I could do virtually. I found SUU, and it was exactly like what I wanted to teach.
“A lot of the program was a good review for me, but I learned a fair amount, too. There are always discoveries, approaches and views in the science of audio.”
Graham owns his own production company, Baldur Rising Music, in Los Angeles. He has also worked with numerous organizations, such as the Theatre of Note, the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, and the Culver City Symphony.
“The online format worked out well,” he said. “Last year was a rollercoaster, but it meant that I could work at my own pace, any time … The program is well-designed and covers a lot of territory.”
Welcome to the Jungle
Graham was born and raised in London, England, but has lived in the United States for 25 years. He had a rock-and-roll reason for gravitating toward the music business at a young age.
“When I was in the fourth grade, I saw Guns N’ Roses on MTV and said, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life,'” he said.
Sure enough, Graham has released more than 15 albums of original music and forged a successful career after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Southern California in 2003.
“I released my capstone project at Southern Utah as an album, Elf Queen’s Requiem,” he said. “It’s gotten incredible reviews. I am happy about that.”
Even with a lot of experience, Graham especially enjoyed the Music Business and Brand Promotion course.
“It was the hardest one,” he said. “There was lots of reading. The music industry is a field that has fallen on its face and picked itself back up at least three times since I got my bachelor’s degree.
“With digital recording, there was Napster, which destroyed the music industry. It built itself back up on the iTunes model, and then along comes Spotify and undoes that again. Finding a music business textbook that’s up-to-date is tough.
“Some things that don’t change — management, contracts and music law are always 10-20 behind what’s happening on the Internet. Lawyers and contracts exist for a reason, and some things are going to stick around.”
Graham also enjoyed the Techniques in Mixing course because he could try out several ideas and projects that he normally could not be able to.
“When you’re in the studio, you are paid by the hour,” he said. “The client wants to keep the hours to a minimum, so you can’t try a lot of different things to see what works. You stick with what you know works, so I got to experiment a lot in the course. I did that on the capstone project, too.”
Graham is the second person in his immediate family to earn a master’s degree. He said his family and friends supported him while he was in the online Master of Music Technology – Studio Technology Emphasis program. The program’s affordability was appealing, and his brother’s commitment to education encouraged him to pursue his.
“My brother, Andy, is in the Marine Corps. He has three master’s degrees,” Graham said. “He did one on his own; then they kept sending him back for studies.”
Now that Graham has a master’s degree, he knows that a serious commitment to learning is the key to success for an online student.
“Like any program, you get out of it what you put into it,” he said. “Especially with recording, if you don’t take the time to do the exercises, you won’t be successful. You’re training your ears. When setting up microphones, you’re listening to how it sounds.”
Graham believes that having a master’s degree will pave the way for him to soon become a teacher at the collegiate level.
“I got good value out of the master’s program,” he said. “I made some connections and had some good experiences. The information I learned will be especially beneficial when I teach.
“Since I got that piece of paper, I have seen a definite change in my job applications. Having this degree will create lots of opportunities for me.”