Professor Pfenninger was sitting at his desk while I began the interview. The first topic of conversation was if my desired program would fit well with his professorship and program. The conclusion was that it indeed would not.
Professor Pfenninger is the head of a program at Plymouth State University that is titled “Music Technology”, but in reality it is less of a music tech program and more of a music production program. The program that is run here is more about the musical side, than the technology side. I would love to have a program about the tech of music–the audio physics, the mixers, why do these techniques work well, what is up with the physics of audio, etc. Sadly, the answer was “Yah, I don’t do that.”
He did help me, he provided me a few other people to talk to, and a few other options that were out there. He did, however, solidify my belief that a Music Technology major is not for me. It was still a lovely chat between us though, I thought.
He explained how hard it was for him to start in the music industry, and how hard it is for anyone to get up and running in that industry. We also talked about how the internet has changed things drastically for audio and for music. He has friends all over the country that he sends tracks to, before porting them to protools and throwing them to people on Europe. It is very different from the days of needing to go to a studio to get a proper recording of what you want.
Professor Pfenninger also explained that the best thing for me might be not rely on music as an income at first at least. The benefits of a Plymouth State University diploma is that it is a Gen. Ed. Diploma, so finding a job as a teacher, or some other partly musical place is the best thing to do right out of College.
Overall, it was a wonderful chat between us, but it did not make me think that the Music Tech major was for me.
Upon thinking this over for the next few months: I agree with everything I said, but would like to add more. Professor Pfenninger and I will likely work close together in the future, and will likely be close as a professor-student relationship. I have already talked to him and we are likely going to be working together on some classes, and some projects, including perhaps my internship over this summer.
I think I would add also that Pfenninger helped me really decide on what I wanted to do with my life, while discussing some of the music aspects of what his job looks like, and what his job outside of being a professor looks like, I decided that I would hate that job. I would hate to only work on music with no audience to feel. I would hate to not be able to feel out the crowd for what they wanted. It is something that I should work on to be able to do in the future, but it is also something that I do not think I could do for my career and still be satisfied with it.