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WARINING - Very long article. Read at your own time.
NOTE: I'm writing on my experience at this school from my own prospective. Hopefully this will help anyone who plans on attending this school, but better yet, just save their MONEY and TIME!
The first time I found out about The Recording Conservatory Of Austin was online. With more extensive research and no negative reviews online compared to the others, has led me to think that this school was the ONE!
So I called the number on the website to schedule for a personal tour. The person who answered the phone was very friendly and informative. Later I found out that person is the owner of the school. John Stinson.
Before I showed up to the conservatory, I was imagining how the campus looked like and how ecstatic I was to embark on this new learning experience.
After 15 minutes of driving around the area, I finally pulled in to a drive way to see a brick house with a gravel parking lot.
I walked to the front and rang a doorbell and no one answered. Called them back and they told me to come around the side. John Stinson opened the door and introduced me to the main control room, B control room, and C Room, which is pretty much a closet. The live room is a big open space with a ton of reverberation and windows the reveal the beautiful view. Though the view automatically sold me, I also couldn't help but to notice something fishy about Mr. Stinson's persona.
We sat down in a room and john stinson informed me about the curriculum and answered some of the questions I had. I felt that I'm being sold. And Though I had a gut feeling about signing up for a school that is apparently someone's house, I decided to give it a chance. Big mistake.
It might look enticing for a person who has never seen equipment like this before, but it is pretty much masked garbage. The
rooms are not treated. There is not an analog control board anywhere to be found. The gear looks old and worn out.
My first day was with john stinson. He never shows up. I call his cell phone at least 10 times. I go home. An hour later he calls me to tell methat he wants to reschedule and that he forgot about our class. The next day I showed up and he was there. He tells me that he and his wife had an argument and he had to watch after his kids.
After my unfortunate first class with john stinson, I was set up with another teacher for my recording techniques classes. My music theory class, which is part of the curriculum was next. I show up to an apartment, where my instructor was with another student. While I was waiting for them to get done, I see remnants of pot on the coffee table.
Though the unlimited studio time was the best part, I felt the whole program was unorganized. the textbooks you buy (or waste money on) are not used in the classes. The work is pretty much copied and pasted on to a worksheet. There is no grading system. There were times when the instructors would not show up. There would be times when I would hear the instructors talk about how unorganized this "school" was. I have also heard John Stinson talk with a few students about his financial decline with the school and personal life.
They have an open house where they invite random guest to come every month, along with a special guest speaker. There is food and alcohol accommodated! The bad part is that i found out that this is when they graduate the students. A friend I've made through the program graduated during one of theses open houses, and it was very awkward! John Stinson congratulates my friend and pats him on the back, then that's it! He also seemed pretty drunk. Very unprofessional. I even saw one of the staff print out the diploma papers and frame it right before graduating all of the students!
After a few months, I decided that this school was not worth the time and money, so I decided to drop out. Even though I was no longer part of the program, Mr. Stinson still hounded me for money like a collection agency. He plays the nice card, but I found out through time and from the staff that he is a greedy and stiff business man with no personality, who will do anything in his power to take your hard earned money! Please keep it in your wallet!
In a nutshell, there was some valuable information and helpful seminars that I obtained from the recording conservatory of austin, but I would not recommend this school to anyone. You will waste your time and hard-earned money!
*I once asked John Stinson if he knew who Kings of Leon was, and he did not know. How can a person teach someone about modern music if they don't listen to it? Let alone not listen to any music!
I hope this helps any person or parent that plans on enrolling their kid or themself to this school! Don't make the same mistake that I did!
For a man in his mid thirties, I should have learned from my mistakes on decision making in the past, but life teaches you that you are always learning no matter how old you are!


  • Ae
    aequitas42romeo Oct 19, 2012

    There is never alcohol at the open houses. I have never found John Stinson to be anything but warm, welcoming, and incredibly knowledgeable about his material and his equipment, which, as a musician myself as well as a sound engineer I have found amazingly useful, in great working condition, and any issues, which are rare, are promptly addressed and fixed. I have learned how to listen to music again like I'm hearing it for the first time, for any professional acting students and musicians that come into the studio it has been the most amazing learning experience I've ever had. Don't take one negative person's comments to heart, TRCoA is one of the greatest hidden gems in Austin.

    -1 Votes

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