Is learning at the SAE Institute worthwhile?

I’m big on education. The more you know the better your music will sound, the more jobs you will get, the more money you will be paid and the more fun you will have. Last week I was talking to a friend of mine in Spain and he was telling me about his experience at the SAE Insitute over there. First off, he told me he paid about 9000€. Immediately I let out a big gulp. Teachers should be paid yes. Equipment is expensive yes… but still. I give him “props” as he’s not a native Spanish speaker and all his classes are in Spanish. Because of this however his grades are low. This doesn’t reflect on his music or drive because his tracks are well produced and he’s involved with some decent commercial work already. However, he complains that he can never get studio time at the school except for early in the morning around 8:00AM. He also mentioned that he has several rotating substitute teachers, none of which he has confidence in. He doesn’t like that they gave him the cheapest Mac laptop (the white one). I guess he should have known which computer he was going to get before entering into the program.

I know this post could be seen as a little controversial but I got the notion it was a good topic because over at the Sound on Sound Magazine forums a new bloak asks what people think about SAE almost daily. Almost daily the reviews are mainly negative. Here’s an example: click here

“i’d do a cost analysis: student loans versus potential income. hmmmmmmm, let’s see… potential income = zero” – Sqye, Gearslutz Forum Member

So are any of you currently enrolled at SAE? What do you think? Any allumni want to chime? Is it worth it? I think a lot of people coming into the music business want to know.

Some forum threads on the subject at Gearslutz: click here and another one.

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

448 thoughts on “Is learning at the SAE Institute worthwhile?”

  1. @SAE Grad

    So True!!!! hahaha… you took the words out of my mouth. I graduated 12 years ago and have been following this out of interest.

    Should get my violin out :-)

    Just go in, talk to someone, check out the equipment and look at the staff profiles. Easy.

    For all the whining babies and those that think that training isn’t necessary. Good luck, you’re going to need it more than I did.

  2. I am currently a student at SAE and I love it. The teachers at the school are top notch, and the facility is great.
    I want to state for the record that no one tried to hard sell me on the school. As a matter of fact just the opposite. They where very upfront with the perspective students. They make no promises, and stated that if you aren’t planning on busting your ass to learn then don’t waste your money. Being that I used to work in admissions at a music school I respected them for it. Kids used to call all the time asking about getting gigs after they graduated (it’s a world renowned music school). I always told them that if they could see themselves being anything other then a musician, do that, because very few folks can make it a full time gig. That being said a lot of kids go to SAE with the idea that they are going to be the next great producer, or just to ‘make beats’. Which is cool, but not what this is about. Be realistic if you decide to go and be ready to bust your ass. No one is going to hand you a thing. Your gonna be stressed out and sweat and curse, but if you work hard you will learn. What you do with the knowledge after is up to you. But I have befriended a number of folks who just graduated from the program who have no problems finding opportunities to intern. Most of us that are serious are looking to a career in post-prodcution… that’s where the jobs are. For those that are disgruntled, I’m sure that some of you may have legitimate gripes about the program. Nothing is perfect in the world, no matter how much you pay…. but I’m sure that more then a few of you couldn’t stand up to the stress or expected to be spoon fed…. sorry about that. But I think it’s incredibly immature to throw stones at the school. Perhaps your energy would be better spent do something else. For those of you that are up for the challenge and take responsibility for your own future. Do it! Go hard! Good luck out there.

  3. I fail to understand one thing …?
    If you guys are working in the industry and “buzy” with work , then where do you have the time to write these long defensive arguments in favour of SAE??! Anyway…

    The simple fact is that -yes learning sound engineering is a perpetual ongoing process, and one will learn as one goes along – but there are many other institutes teaching the same stuff a lot cheaper and a lot better and with teaching staff that knows what they are talking about…!

    And all i’m saying is that one can invest that money in equipment for themselves and read the Wikipedia notes themselves, where is the need to go into debt ?
    There is no doubt that it’s ones own effort..but that kind of debt might not be necessary…???!!
    I’m shure there are some branches that have motivated teachers – but i have not seen any ….What i have learned in audio has been my own effort and yes there is no “free lunch” one has to work hard themselves at learning, so where does SAE feature in this equation?
    I mean if you have you’r own gear , you can read the manual and do some free projects with friends and learn you’rself…right ?
    That’s the point you guys made earlier ??….and i’m saying the same thing, but minus the debt that SAE lands you in…thats all.
    I’m sorry to say but you guys sound like a bunch of guys protecting SAE rather than giving out “info that would actually help people”
    SAE is the McDonalds of sound engineering, you can eat there but – it’s not nutrition….get it ??
    Lets just say i would not recommend SAE to complete beginners, a 3-6 month internship in the field of interest (studio/live/acoustics/etc) along with self study would teach them far more(in their field of interest) and would let them know what the truth of their ambition is…
    Also when one pays the kind of money that SAE “TAKES” it is assumed that the teachers who come there to teach will be Professionals or Experienced veterans.
    Instead there is a guy with (usually) no experience, copying notes from something that could have been photocopied!!!
    The point is that if you want to have a guide for learning audio , a teacher who has more experience than a photocopy machine would be the goal.

    Further i’m shure if you hire a mixer,a mic a pair of speakers etc and study it you’rself with the manual one would learn far more with a lot more clarity, and if one has to “Bust their ass” with their own hard work , then getting into the habit from the start would be a better move ..right ?

    Invest in a personal work space , buy oneself a basic audio setup find an online resource, and go step by step with what is relevant to oneself.

    I’ve never said “Screw them” , all i’ve said is that, they are “irrelevant” and it would be better to do ones “Effort” themselves without the burden of debt.
    It’s clear that there is no college that can turn you into a PRO Engineer of any kind – but when the teacher can’t explain basics of what he is writing on the board….it makes the whole point of going to a “College” irrelevant…you know since…. one assumes that there would be a “TEACHER” at the “COLLEGE” …not so@ every SAE…

    Go for training , just be carefull to not land up at a college with inexperienced “teachers”…thats all…
    I’m trying to give people an option here, so that they may choose how to go about this matter.
    While all i’m getting from the other guys here is “Bust you’r ass”, “it’s you’r own effort”…really …is this the best advice you can putout?

    Hard work,training from an experienced and willing teacher- ones own curiousity …..along with a basic work space is a good place to start for anyone completely new to this field.
    Training is important but find a teacher who truly understands and simplifies the topic rather than complicate it, thats the sign if a tru teacher…because it shows he has complete understanding of what is being discussed
    I did not find any such person while i was there at SAE…Today i can explain the same concepts to kids under 13yrs old ,and i have …and then they ask the correct questions subsequently and i then explain to them the next progression/complexity of the same concept…that is how you teach…Not hide behind excuses of “Bust u’r ass”, “it’s you’r own effort”…
    then why say SAE has teachers? just say you give notes ? Why does SAE not say that ? is it because it will loose it’s college status and possibly the financial perks of being an “educational” institution? TAX that what the structure of this college is about ?
    …and so they have attendance in “class” and “teachers” who copy notes on the board?
    Also let me end by saying , that a teacher who is clear about the concepts that he is teaching will not be at rest until the concept taught ,has been understood by the student completely in an unadultrated fashion, then after that “you’r own effort” and “busting u’r ass” is a valid statement.
    Untill then it’s the excuse of the unwilling/ignorant teacher…
    Thank you.

  4. Just because some one disagrees with you does not make them wrong. All, I can do is share my own experience. Which currently is a good one. No the school isn’t perfect, no school is. I do indeed “bust my ass” and maintain an A average. I am also constantly amazed at how much I am learning in such a short period of time… but that is my experience. I have meet several students, grads, whom started with next to no experience and came out of the program and right into jobs…. which, might I add, the school helped them get.
    I put to your own question. If you are in fact doing well in your chosen field, why do you take the time to write these long diatribes ripping SAE apart? What purpose does it serve? It’s not furthering your career or helping any one else for that matter. I would also like to say that I actually vetted the school before I put down my own money for it. I found out grads in the industry whom where not recommended by the school. I got a lot of positive feed back. DId you bother to investigate the school prior to enrollment. Did you talk to former students first, talk to the teachers, check them out? There are a couple of current students at the school I attend that aren’t happy…. not so surprisingly they are also the ones that don’t work hard and aren’t getting good grades…. and chances are they wont be working in the industry.
    As for your closing statement regarding teaching. I have taught music to students ranging in age from 7 year old beginners to folks in their 40s looking to take their playing to the next level. For the most part I agree with you, except on one point, and in fairness to you I may have misinterpreted your statement. The student needs to bust their as from jump street… not after the fact. I have NEVER had a teach, as of yet, at SAE not take the time to explain a concept to me that I didn’t get right away…. every one of them has taken the time, in and out of the class room, to help me out. Again, I am only talking about the school in NYC. But this has been my experience so far.
    Cheers and good luck to you.

  5. Went to sae Amsterdam in 2003 I think lol..the place/staff/people were great,Im just gutted that I did not stay and complete course..too much goin on In my life back then tut tut lol..I’d love to go back and do course,you’ve got to be commited which is something I was not.,I think alot of haters on here maybe expecting a career handed on plate due to costs but that’s not gonna happen.Yeah I miss Amsterdam,wish I’d made the most of it :)

    1. I work for SAE and the curriculum receives trimesterly reviews. Plus the accreditation has been upgraded several times over the last few years. Is that up-to-date enough? I question your status and ethics.

  6. there r sae branches that don’t have “teachers” , broken down gear, n usually an x-student who might have not passed his own course even ..! That guy is teaching students stuff even he does not understand !
    Classes that might happen …?!! no promises there !!
    But the college still takes the money .??
    No one has a problem with hard work , but is sae not obligated to deliver on the services they charged a student for ?
    Gear ? Teacher ? Classes ?
    Tell me is this correct ?
    where is the question of “my ethics”..? or being “handed a career on a platter” come into this ?
    Explain ?
    Are the issues i have mentioned above not valid ?
    It’s pretty simple , sae took money , delivered none of the services they promised ? The student is out of his life savings , they won’t return the money? What does this make them ? Teachers or crooks n robbers ?
    Where is the argument ?
    Present me with an argument that justifies such unethical behaviour …..
    Do u then expect a student to get into a court case and waste more money n time ? n where will he get more money from ? SAE took all of it ?
    So before u question my ethics , get u’r facts straight….

  7. you can sense n smell what u feel like ….
    Would u like an award for u’r exceptionally stupid n irrelevant assement ?
    the point is u have not answered the question u were asked ..???

    I’m not here to listen to u you’r dumb oneliners , that make u feel better about u’rself , u looser !!
    Print more one-liners , coz u got nothing more than that!
    When u don’t want to face the truth , start making personal accusations, but u ain’t got the balls to answer the question asked….?

    So u’r last 2 comments are really worth nothing , n a waste of my time….
    N it’s people like you who don’t have the guts to stand for anything, who help institutions like this to screw people over.
    Go find some new one liners so you can get by for the day ….
    Troll my ass, u just can’t deal with the truth of the question i asked…
    U’r saying it’s ok for SAE to take money n not deliver even basics ?
    U MUST be exceptionally dumb, can i sell u anything ? Something u would like to pay me for , something i won’t deliver ,coz in u’r world , it’s ok to do that ?

  8. Funny you say I am waisting your time. How long did it take you to write that rant? I think your the one trying to make yourself feel better. Good luck.

  9. also i am achieving no personal gain by warning people about SAE…
    It’s just my way of helping the serious learner to stay away from an instution that could mess ones career up.
    If i had to be a troll, all i need to do is post ONE link here, and this whole blog will come to rest..
    If my intent was to cause damage, i would have not wasted my time here explaining things. One link is all i need to post here ….thats all the info any soundengineer will ever need. That’s right, One Link.
    As regards to my “hard work”, i have done it , n have worked with musicians beyond the scope of most pplz imagination…So i’m not here coz i’m pissed but more coz i would not like to see more people go down as i have seen them go down at SAE….

  10. if u think, i’m gna back off just coz u’r gna make personal accusations then u better try some other trick , u scared SAE whatever :- )

    Do u have ANYTHING to CONTRIBUTE HERE other than u’r stupidity ?

  11. lol u want me to post this link coz YOU wna check it out….

    :- )
    oh and about u’r “Spelling” abilities…it’s great u can spell…use these special powers to label you’r projects well!! lol
    spellings are real important in sound engineering!!! :- )
    why don’t u go for a “spelling bee” contest and see how far you go with that misconception ?

    You still have not answered the question asked ??

    SAE took money from students and failed to deliver in every department…do u think thats correct ?

    You have replied with personal accusations and seem delirious about being able to spell !!!!… lol but can’t answer a simple question ? ….that i have asked 3 times…

    1. There is something wrong with you and you can’t see it. Your question(s) is stupid. Get a life and don’t blame those around you for your bad decisions. I’ve dealt with many car hire companies. They range from crap to great service too (even under the same ‘name’). Failure is your fault for being an idiot, do your research.

      And you don’t value a basic educational attribute like English? So sad. A product of your upbringing I’m sure.

  12. I’m already a student at SAE. The classes are great. The teachers are top notch, the staff has been amazing to work with. They are good people who work their asses off. I also notice that they really out of their way to help students who work hard. I have also seen the try and help the students who are having a difficult time.

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience but that has fuck all to do with me.

    Your spelling is atrocious it’s true. But what’s worse is your ability to communicate/articulate your ideas. THAT is a skill an engineer MUST posses. Your claim to have worked with musicians “beyond the scope of most pplz imagination” sounds like BS to me. If you were doing so well in the industry why are you waisting time writing long rants that only cause others to ridicule you? You sound like a child seeking attention. You reek of sadness and desperation.
    I asked you post your link that claim will cause “this whole blog will come to rest” because it sounds like BS. I don’t think there is any such link. Go out and get a hobby and drop it.
    Why do I keep posting responses your asinine rants you may ask? Because I find your psycho-babble amusing. Please let’s see this all powerful link…. I can’t wait.

  13. Hello one and all, I have to say all the arguing on this post is pointless. People have a right to express their opinion without the need for petit squabbling.

    I personally had a bad experience at S.A.E London when I went there.

    I wont go on about the ludicrous fees but I will state some facts about the problems I faced.

    On the open day I was promised studio time and one on one time with the tutors in the studio.
    The fact is that the studios where always over booked and when I complained about this they suggested I did my sessions at 2 or 3 in the morning ??? Stating that I should get used to doing this if I want to be an engineer. Looking back on this I find it patronising and false, in fact I find it to be promoting an unhealthy lifestyle to students.

    The college was obviously taking on too many students for its facilities in order to maximise profit !

    The first 6 months of the course were purely classroom based, these lessons where taken by former students who had just qualified and had very little or no experience. Most with less than me ! It is a scary thought that these people are sharing their “pearls of wisdom” with enthusiastic young student’s minds.

    On the open day I was also assured that there was an S.A.E Alumni for great job vacancies and networking opportunities. I found this to be a con as there was a subscription fee, so no-one joins and the few jobs that were posted seemed to be in Germany and posted by German S.A.E workers ?!?

    I did complete the course and passed with a high percentage, but I am seriously considering taking legal action against them for all their fraudulent claims, I would advise against spending your, or your parents hard earned cash here.


    P.s. I could go on but I’ve vented enough

    1. Finally a well worded and coherent comment :)

      That sounds pretty rough. I would be inclined to seek legal advice too. Every company wants to make more money this intrudes on ethics. It should be up to the government to regulate this sort or thing. In Australia all private providers are heavily regulated which in turn makes it easy to justify decisions to maintain a manageable teacher/student ratio and providing equipment/time to accommodate the training. Personally I like this fact. At the end of day happy, successful graduates ultimately have long lasting and sustainable benefits, but it’s clear that not every campus has these values.

      Did your campus provide you with a way to voice your concerns? From my dealings with SAE there are many ways to make change.
      1. Student rep meetings with management
      2. Board of studies meetings (suggest changes to the curriculum)
      3. Trimesterly feedback surveys (these are also for the government to view)

      I certainly don’t condone some of the things people have reported here. But having been both a student and teacher at several schools (not just SAE) there are some who prefer to complain to friends and forums instead of using these mechanisms. If you haven’t made formal feedback to the campus your case is lost which would be a big loss for both yourself and every student that goes to that campus.

      My best advice is to speak directly to the students and look at the staffs background at the campus you’re wishing to join, this isn’t “pin the tail on the donkey” afterall. Each campus is only the sum of it’s parts, staff and students.

  14. @ Insider: Right said sir!
    The one issue that I ran into at the school that I am attending was over crowding that interfered with our ability to study signal flow on two of the large format consoles. After going through the proper channels, speaking directly to the head of education, the issue was immediately rectified and we were given the extra week we needed.
    I would like to second the advice that Insider gave. When I was considering SAE I contacted them and asked some very specific questions. Then I went and tracked down a number of grads via Facebook and asked them how they felt about the program. I am almost finished with the program and feel really positive about my experience and look forward to maintaining a connection with the school. Good luck to all thinking of attending.

  15. 1. I did approach the managment.
    All that they did was deny that there were any problems.
    And there are really many more shocking things they did, which i have not mentioned here….and i won’t be mentioning them here for the sake of my personal safety . Yup.. n i’m not making this up.

    2.I am not here to get into petty finger pointing
    But at the same time my goal here is to warn budding engineers to avoid getting into debt and look for other ways to study . A self motivated approach is worth a consideration or a basic introductry course that costs little will prep one up for a while. An internship with basic pay and lots of self study would build a strong foundation . The self study never stops. Finishing a college course is the beginning of sound engineering and years of self study into various aspects…

    3. I never made personal comments at anyone here, but i obviously won’t let anyone tell me to shut up.?! If u don’t like what i write here , they why read it ?
    And if u reply please keep it relevant to the topic of discussion.

    4. Once again i would say , rather than spending money on theory, it would be better to buy each component and study it u’rself for starters. Have a little space where one can listen to music/various recordings.
    If you can make music then study help guides/ manuals, look up terms online. beyond that it’s ones own intellegence.
    No one can “teach” anyone sound engineering, one needs to learn it themselves eventually.

    5. If one still wants to argue /squabble then it’s really you’r problem.
    where i come from teachers are respected and have a sense of responsibility They are not looked upon as “used car dealerships”. If you can’t trust the teacher , you won’t learn a thing from him……… n it would be better to waste ones time smwhere else….
    The only reason i posted here was for the sake of the person who is a serious learner, low on money, whoz spirit for sound engineering has not yet been killed by SAE….THAT person will understand what i have said here.
    Simply speaking , why is there soo much doubt about SAE ? Why did smone feel the need to start this blog in the first place ? Obviously more people have had issues and some of them don’t have a second chance , coz their money is gone…what responsibility does SAE have towards them ?

    All i can say is god bless all who have bothered to write here and god bless all who never wrote here….

  16. someone here wants to see “THE all powerfull link ” i speak of ….
    What do you need it for?
    you already know everything?
    coz you went to SAE..? lol : – )

    And if you think my spellings are bad, and i should suffer for it or i don’t know about the english language, and all you’r other issues towards me…for all that i say “sorry”, you are the greatest…

  17. @ insider,
    Hello, yes I did use all the available avenues to try to resolve my issues. However the student rep meetings, board of study meetings, etc. would never cause the college to overhaul their staff and studio booking policies. Especially within the time frame of my attendance, which was one year.

    1. If someone broke into your house and stole that money would you have tried harder? Did you really investigate your options? Look at the grievance policy on the web page? Maybe speak to a lawyer? I can honestly say that what you are saying boggles the mind. I can’t imagine this happening at my local campus.

      It’s a shame the people you dealt with didn’t have morals, but people are all different. If you need to generalise, good on you. But I think you need to focus on those that did you wrong, not thousands of people around the world that take pride in their work. You say you’re not pointing the finger? You should. You say you can’t make a change? You can.

      But if your point is that people can get away with paying less for education or learning things themselves, than yes of course they can. I’m also glad to see you organised your thoughts. Much better than the 1st draft :)

  18. Again I have to agree with insider.
    One can learn on ones own, but if you want to get an internship/job at a recording studio or post production house and you haven’t graduated from some sort of audio program they probably won’t look at you twice. For every self taught audio engineer there are 12 other cats that have been through an SAE or a Full Sail. At least that’s how it is in the U.S. There a million kids these days who have pro-tools set ups in their bedrooms. Which is awesome…. but 99% of them won’t get a job in the industry. The competition is heavy and there are very few large recording studios left do to easy access to inexpensive gear and home computers. So an education is important.

  19. I have been studying Diploma and BA at SAE. I’ve been top of my class in both courses and now I work in Business management (nothing to do with my SAE education). I personally know Tom, the former boss of SAE (SAE was sold by him start of this year for around 300 million US$), and I know several school managers in different countries.

    Let me be frank that every senior staff at SAE is aware that the Audio education of SAE is fun, it is very good, but that for 99% of graduates there are simply no well paid jobs out there. SAE makes money from dreamers who think they can become big stars in the music industry. It’s tough but its the truth and its the business model of SAE ever since.

    So if you dont mind that your High School friends have a nice apartment, nice car and decent gf in 10 years, cause they studied law, and you still live in your granny-flat, then go ahead and throw your money at SAE. It’s a good education. But why educate yourself in something that is not needed… Anyways, whatever you do, Good luck!

  20. In this economy ANY one is lucky to get a job. As far as studying law? Do you know how many people are trying to become lawyers. There are NO guarantees out there right now. There are more people out there trying to be lawyers then engineers. Anyone who thinks they are are gonna be big stars….. they are in the wrong industry…. they would have a better chance getting on reality TV. LOL!

  21. I did mention, that there might be branches of SAE
    that might be worth a try since it depends upon the teaching staff and how motivated they are?
    This is info from more than one branch that i have spoken of….!!

    About taking the college to court etc – requires money , time …etc

    Like i said i don’t want to mention names or details here since that won’t help anyone become a better sound engineer.
    As regards to engineering ,
    if a student has the knack for this profession he can teach himself.
    Like i said a basic course, IS a good place to start and then take time out to learn it fully , invest in gear and approach it like an engineer…but before one puts all their money in a diploma, consider if it would be better to build a work space instead , use the internet and develop a system of growth for life….
    Go for a diploma when you have spent at least 3-5 years learning/studying things you’rself, then you will have faced problems that you might need an answer to…otherwise it’s all TMI and irrelevant…
    This is a thankless profession and there is nothing glamorous about it, one can only be a sound engineer for the sake of being a sound engineer…any other reasons and one will eventually fall flat on their face, sooner or later.
    It’s also wise to know when to quit and consider other sources of revenue for survival. Thats cool too..
    Practicality is one thing, passion another.
    Everyone has their own motivations and priorities and misconceptions for being a sound engineer!
    Moving on
    What i don’t approve of is confusing people with too much info and not having the staff able to explain even basics and having the immorality to deny it completely…as if there is something wrong with the student!

    I PERSONALLY feel SAE has deprived the Sound industry of many sound engineers who had tremendous potential but were burdened with the outstanding issues of the institution instead.
    The whole system of fatiguing students out with aimless long hours at the studio during the night is simply so they can turnover many more students…..=more money=
    It’s a fact that fatigue alters ones hearing and other faculties, thus a higher no of students fail, then they have to pay again to take the test otherwise they won’t get their certificate and the entire previous investment would be a waste…
    Besides a student is not there to test his physical stamina, learn first then worry about vocational challenges…? You paid to study, not test physical endurance.
    Mostly people can’t even stay awake thru the class….coz their sleep cycle is totally messed up !! and there are long term health implications of this…
    You see the whole thing is setup for failure actually , the ones who pass are the ones who got away!! get it ..because the ones who fail pay again…

    Most people are trusting when they approach an educational organisation and SAE abuses that respect by misleading the student… and that seems to be the problem while attending SAE…

    Atleast be honest enough to say that a certain branch has no staff, how can they take money when they don’t even have a teacher in the college on permanent basis….
    Working hard is about getting more done in the same time , it’s got nothing to do with how many hours one can go without sleep and still be able to mix music…!! (not looking to be Jhon Rambo!!)
    You get told it’s important because they want you out of the college soon so there is room for the next batch of payments…consider what i just said.
    And if you are an engineer truly , you might not even sit to mix in the first place if you are tired….does SAE realise the health implications of their greed ?
    The UK health department(NHS) has nothing to say in this matter ?
    Students fail due to lack of sleep…it’s soo simple, obvious – that they have this system down to a science so as to provide profit…. why else would any business be interested in buying the “educational” institution ?
    These are a few of the issues i am informed of and have personally experienced, i have much more up my sleeve but it’s no point.
    I am simply putting this info up for anyone looking to actually study this subject properly, i’m shure that person has their answer by now.

    1. You mean to say you live in a country whose government doesn’t offer free legal advice service? That is very strange. Perhaps you could better spend your time looking into this seriously, or is that too hard?

      1. No point in taking them to court, the contract you sign with the college covers them completely. No one has ever won a court case against Sae.

  22. @: hero
    I have read all of your posts. You say you have no axe to grind, but your posts demonstrate other wise. It would seem that you feel the need to have the last word on everything. You keep writing that you have some information that will blow this whole scam wide open…. I don’t buy it. You just sound bitter. I think you are just trying to make your self feel better. What makes you such an expert? And what’s all this about long hours? Do you work in a studio? You work for freaking hours on end some sessions. If an artist does a lock out…. your in there for as long as the artist and producer wants you in there! Some of us DO make a living doing this…. I think your a phoney.

  23. Hey,
    Can anyone tell me about SAE London, Glasgow and Singapore.. as i’m not able to decide which campus is good for AUDIO Diploma

  24. @ Hero:
    How could a “student with a knack” teach them selves how to work with a Neve 88r or the SSL 4000 G+? How would that student with a knack get time on an Icon controller and ‘teach’ them selves how to mix in surround? Or learn how to sync sound to picture? It would cost them more to invest in the gear then go to SAE. I have to agree with ‘Really?’. You just sound like a bitter person trying to make your self feel better. Hows that working out for you?

  25. What an interesting discussion here. I am a former SAE student myself. Got my diploma of digital film production from SAE Singapore few months ago, and I’m planning to continue my degree soon, either in SAE London or Melbourne. I noticed that there are lot of bad feedbacks here about the management in SAE London, I wonder if their management still sucks now or have they reconstructed the system? So which one is better London or Melbourne?

  26. Hey all. Just chippin in my 2 cents here. I think SAE deffinatly teaches the right stuff and is the quickest way to gain the required knowledge of an audio engineer. However I think that the campus that you study at makes a big difference. While the education IS good, some of the campus facilities arn’t. They dont have enough studios required to get some of the work done in time. They are always booked out and the only way I could complete the course was to quit my job so I could get time during the day to book the studios needed. Also some of the course planning is very poor. In some cases we were shown how to use a studio or a piece of equipment up to 8 months before we were required to use it and by then, everybody had forgotten how to use the specified equipment. Due to poor planning , I ended up having to do all of the group assignments by myself due to my partners either dropping out or being lazy, leaving me with twice as much work as the rest of the class. However after speaking to the lecturers about this problem, I recieved no mercy and no understanding. Our class also went through a series of different lecturers, meaning that each new lecturer would have no idea where each student was at. I did graduate and somehow managed to finish in the top few of the class, but the amount of work and sacrifices it took wern’t worth it. On top of all this, there was no parking either so it cost me almost $1500 in parking over a two year period. You may have had a very different experiance than me. This is just my personal experiance. I mean no offence to anybody so I do not wish to recieve any insulting replies from argumentitive ex-students.

  27. I have just come across this Blog by accident. In fact, just by using Google and asking the queation ” What do you think of SAE ? “. Having received the very impressive literature that was sent out, I am seriously looking into Music Production Universities in the UK.

    I agree that employment in ALL sectors is very difficult right now.
    The Music Business, therefore is no different ?

    Specifically, interested in the DEGREE Course, Music Production for £9k.

    Thanks for contructive viewpoints & WHY.

  28. Agreed with Danny Boi. Info good. Facilities, staff organizition bad.
    Was at SAE a year back. Had same prob with gettin studio time an also had to do group assignments on my own. Kinda unfair coz I had to do twice the work. Also they didnt mark my assignments untill just before the due date and would then tell me at the last minut that I needed to resubmit. After spending this amount of cash you’d think there would be a bit more proffessionalism. I mean, I had to wake up one of the staff members sleeping at his desk so that I could get equipment out on several occasions. Also found that the staff were not very eager to help if i had a problem in one of the studios. Having said that, I have learned allot in my time there. All in all I would rate sae 5/10. It was ok but If i could go back in time, I wouldnt go there. Would save my money.

    1. This is a notice to anyone reading this post, and hopefully to site administrators as well. This is a fraudulent posting. Phil, the student in Nashville did not write this, and is himself rather upset that his name and identity were hijacked for someone to use to make these kinds of baseless and mean spirited personal attacks. While I do occasionally respond to posters on this site, and have successfully resolved student issues through it, I would not normally respond at all to such a personal attack as this. I only do because Phil, after being told that his identity was being used in this way, wanted to make sure it was clear that it did not originate from him. In fact he didn’t even know this site existed until this was pointed out to him. The true identity of this poster is unknown. Possibly it is a competitor trying to smear the school, possibly a disgruntled former employee, maybe a current one with some kind of personal vendetta. One thing is clear however, it is not the person he/she claims it is, and this person is willing to use the identity of a handicapped student to add impact to their personal attacks.

      Chuck Moore
      Director, SAE Nashville

  29. I left Newcastle to study Movie Making in SAE Glasgow. I rented a flat in Glasgow and i awaited the beginning of my course. Glasgow SAE cancelled the course 2 weeks prior to the start date. I was devastated and after a few days i moved to London to start at SAE london.

    I was unemployed in Glasgow as i left my job in Newcastle, England. I decided to move to London as i really wanted to study a movie-making course full-time. I paid london SAE £5000 within the first few weeks. Also within the first few weeks we have only three hours of classes each day – Monday to wednesday. We had the reast of the week off…and closed on Sundays.
    We were paying ten grand each year for only nine hours of weekly tuition.
    The staff taught us alot about editing and a little bit of movie making. Our class of 15 had access to only two old standard definition camcorders. We were not allowed to use teh high definitin camcoders until month six.
    After four months i became fed up with booking teh camcorders,and all the studios / computers were all being used by the Music/ Sound students.

    I eventually dropped out in month seven because i could not afford the course any longer. London is far more expensive than Glasgow. I am going to the small claims Court now to seek damages from SAE Glasgow for cancelling thethe course. The whole ordeal cost me fifteen thousand pounds – travel, rent, living expenses , fees, etc .

    For that money i could have joined a film-makers group in Newcastle and purchased a Sony EX1 camcorder, a Apple Mac computer with final cut Pro and a tripod headphones etc…it would have been much better. Now i have no money and no camera equipment. At least i got to see what London is like…happy days eh?

  30. im attending the ATP program at SAE San Francisco in oct of this year, and i was wondering for those who had already took the course, recommend it to any of your friends or stranger? i’ve been hearing a lot of mix reviews with this school, but mainly other SAE locations and not San Francisco. Im guessing majority of the people who give bad reviews are teenagers straight out of high school? im not here to offend anyone, but im thinking they give bad reviews because they expect something great towards the end. im coming into this program with no high expectations at all. i understand you have to work really hard to get to where you wanna be. i just have a love and a deep passion for music and want to get deeper into it, but im starting to think if im making the right choice to go here? i dont wanna waste my time, yet alone money with something thats not worth it. im not getting any younger. im sure they’re are other schools out there that are a lot better, but the location is close and the tuition is doable. if anybody can give me feedback about this whether, or not, i should still go that would be awesome. i do understand that at the end of the day, i should do something thats best for me and not what other people think, but it would be nice to hear some feedback from those who had or, is attending SAE in San Francisco at the momnent. Thank you in advance!

  31. Assistance needed !!

    I am turning 18 in September, would you say it is a better idea to go to college for two years and then do a degree ( not at sae) for 3 years…….. OR earn some money for a couple of years, take out a loan and go to sae? I am considering the Oxford one as it looks amazing…. The London one is closer to my home and I wouldn’t need to save as I wouldn’t be paying for accommodation etc….. HELP… Please =]

  32. I’m a student at the SAE in Nashville. I been here since January and have gotten a lot out of it. Teachers here are first rate. I never felt pressured or given a sales pitch to come here. Josh, the admissions guy even suggested that I shop around before deciding. Yeah, there has been some construction going on, and it was a little crazy when I first got here, but now we have these bitc*in classrooms, and it’s been much better. the new stuff downstairs is really cool too. I toured Full Sail before deciding on SAE, it was much closer to home, but I decided to move to Tennessee to go to SAE here, and haven’t regretted it at all. Even with the cost of moving it’s still cheaper than Full Sail and I get a lot more time in the studios. We’re doing the SSL now and I can’t wait to start working on my project there. And to the dude who said all that crap about Nashville being a mess, your smoking something. All the staff is super helpful and Chuck has been great every time I’ve asked him about anything. If there is a problem at all, its just that 9 months goes by way to fast. I wish it was a year or more so that I could get deeper into some of the subjects. But I’ve learned a lot and would recommend it to anyone.

  33. I am to start at SAE London on the audio Production course on October 3rd. Having been up to the open day it does look incredible and yes too good to be true. But then have you been to any other Uni open days? They all promise you things that (personally i knew from many friends experience) they cannot fulfil. I distinctly remember my dad also saying “The less hours of lectures you have, the more independent study” I am not afraid of hard work, I think SAE need to up their requirements for access on the course because people scraping by on two CC+ A levels don’t have the work ethic to handle what it seems SAE give you. Yes maybe the lecturers aren’t perfect, which isn’t right for £9k a year but if I can personally gain a degree knowing i’ve worked my ass off than being spoon fed… i think that sets you up for real life better than anything. You have just got to be a bit optimistic… being a student isn’t about getting pissed every night (how they afford to i don’t know)


  34. I am planning to go to Glasgow SAE for the one year diploma in October 2012 and I found this thread to be extremely interesting. I would like to emphasize a point that has been brought to attention a couple of times so far, which is that of finding a job after graduation.
    If my personal experience is anything to go by, this is something that highly depends on how much one puts him/herself out there with luck/chance/whatever you’d like to call it factored in. Having an education goes a long way in minimizing the role of luck in obtaining a job and also makes you much more prepared for whatever job that might be. I guess to many that would be stating the obvious but to many starry eyed people who join any university and expect to graduate to be the proverbial sh*t that fact might escape them.
    I have been making music for the past seven years or so, recorded and released albums both solo and with bands, and getting an internship anywhere has proven quite tough to get by. My brother on the other hand, started making music at the same time but now actually studies music production and he is already getting internships, and honestly speaking from a studio’s standpoint it makes sense.
    Another point to consider is that of what kind of music one has in mind. In my case, I want to work with post-rock/ambient/experimental bands so I accept the fact that I am definitely not set for the highest financial returns ever. Of course if I can get into movie soundtracks that would be of an equal level of awesomeness and I will definitely work towards that.
    Well…hope all this blabberin’ proves of use to anyone and if anybody knows anything about the Glasgow SAE please share because I can’t find reviews of it anywhere.

  35. sooo if anyone is still commenting at this post, im thinking of going to SAE miami anyone know anything about SAE miami? former student there or something. I’ve been researching alot on music production courses and colleges that offer them. right now im thinking about this one… and as much as possible i think i’d like to stay in Florida… but its ok if i don’t. soo if anyone is still commenting at this post SAE or not?? if not then what college would you recommend for music production.

  36. Hi, Is anyone from or has been to the SAE institute in Oxford? Can you give any feedback about the BA degree (audio engineering) because I may be considering it instead of going to the uni of plymouth to complete the 3rd year BA? Got mixed views for plymouth and just wondering whether this is any better? Good contacts for film/tv production, etc? Anything!


  37. whether its worthwhile… perhaps it depends on which SAE institute branch you were studying in or intend to study in? im thinking of enrolling into SAE Singapore. mixed feelings :/ anyone from SAE Singapore? what do you think about it?

  38. I am looking at doing the filmmaking diploma – if anyone has completed the course their opinions would be most welcome. Even better if they have experience of the course in Bangkok (or studying at SAE in Bangkok).


    1. Joe, i give u a good advice i wished someone gave me back then…dont go to sae and throug your money away. Go to a State College. I made my sae-diploma in Berlin/Germany and i regred it. SAE isnt even a real College, its just a privat school and they dont even have good equipment.

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