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First off, apologies if you felt I was making negative comments about Expression College or SAE. I was not. In fact, I went out of my way to state I would NOT make disparaging comments here.
I have worked and competed side by side with both organizations for many years - sharing instructors with both. There is no bad blood here although you seemed to interpret there was. Again, if I gave that impression Im sorry.
You mis-categorize my commentary as "bottom-feeding" as well. My comment is meant as a true extension of help for any and all there who might need it.
I've been running Pyramind in SF for almost 20 years. Long enough to have been here long before either SAE or Expression arrived. I know this market and have seen 3 schools come and go in that time. I've had students from other schools crying at my desk wondering what to do - most of whom I consulted (for free) and suggested they go to another school (not Pyramind) because for them, a degree was paramount and I couldn't offer them one.
So no, I'm not bottom feeding - Im offering support to students and staff who might be in shock at the state of things and might be looking for an outsiders opinion.
You seem to imply we "cram a bunch of infromation" at our students as our singular activity. Another mischaracterization. We care deeply about our students. It shows in our steadily increasing enrollments and their parting comments which almost always sound like "best year of my life".
Since you didn't do your research either, let me inform you of some things to prove this:
- We offer programs as small as $600. A la carte is not something a "shove em in/ out" organization would do. We respect peoples time and budgets and recognize that many (most in fact) couldn't care less about the degree but rather the ability to learn at their pace, at their budget.
- We offer FREE CLASS REPEATS. First in the world to do so as well (now copied by many schools). Even if you pass, you can take it again for free. Because we're investing in our students success.
- We offer programs much smaller than the $33,000 as well. You focused entirely on one program (which is not the most enrolled BTW). Many of our student spend less than $20k here. Right on par with SAE and a solid 1/3rd the cost of Expression.
- Lots of our grads are working pros in the field. Others are touring rock stars. Most end up building their own brands and businesses and are paving their own way into the future.
Its true - we do not offer degrees. That seems to put us on a lower rung of quality in your mind. This is a misperception by you.
Many industries require degrees - as the article states, teaching at SAE/ Expression is now one of them. However, working in audio does not. It requires talent, dedication and a strong work ethic. All of which we instill at Pyramind. All of which, Im sure, are instilled at both SAE and Expression. I know many of the staffers there (or at least have known over the years) and I cannot recall a single instructor at either who did not impress. Some of whom, we've hired because of their talents and passion for sharing their craft.
All the more reason why I commented. We need more passionate teachers in this field and sadly, it appears - if the article is correct - that the good folks at both organizations are being squeezed out of a career. I feel for them. Truth is, we also need good instructors and I still encourage those that want to reach out to me as we may have a good home here for them.
I am sorry that you chose to throw disparaging comments to me and my school when I did not. Perhaps you're a student there who's feeling stung by the article and felt the need to lash out. Perhaps you're a staffer in the same mind set. In either case, I recognize its easy to cast barbs on the internet from the safety of anonymity. But dont hide in the shadows and pretend to be as powerful as the light.
I am MORE than happy to sit down with you face to face and discuss this like adults. We can bandy about as many ideas about Education in Audio, the state of the industry, the state of tech and its massive impact on art and culture and anything else you like.
But please - show some respect before blindly casting accusations on the internet without doing the research. Something you accuse the author of not doing as well.
Another Bay Area institution ruined by a greedy buyout with no intention of continuing the quality, but attempting to turn it into another diploma factory for directionless kids parents don't know way else to do with it. It is heartbreaking. I hardly had friends graduate and teach here back when it meant something. Now they want to cut staff pay while demanding paper credentials, insuring only those who aren't employable anywhere else in their degreed fields will be drawn to the new positions. Last people I know who looked at attending here confirmed their equipment is out of date and looked to have no plans of fixing that. You can't be worth crap in the tech capital if the equipment you learn to use is out of date.
THAT SCHOOL WAS SOOOO MUCH BETTER WHEN GARY PLATT AND PETER LAANEN WERE IN CHARGE !!!! SUCH A SHAME !!!
THE NEW OWNERS WENT AND RUINED THAT PLACE.
SOO BLESSED THAT I GOT TO EXPERIENCE EXPRESSION IN IT'S GOLDEN YEARS!!!!
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There are a lot of people still working hard to retain the good parts of Ex'pression. It's a shame the author didn't mention that or make any effort to talk to any staff or faculty still there.
I guess negativity is just more interesting.
First thing- Ex'pression didn't lose their accreditation. I don't think they ever lost Cal Grant funding either, but they may have temporarily lost another type of funding several years ago. Do better research.
Second thing- Kind of a bottom-feedery comment, Matt. Pyramind doesn't offer degrees. While I'm sure it's a perfectly nice certificate program, it's still nearly $33,000 for a 1 year program that crams a bunch of information into a relatively small time period and doesn't give students a degree. It looks like a decent overview of a few audio-related topics, but doesn't offer the in-depth curriculum or option to enroll in multiple other degree programs that Ex'pression does. SAE could be considered a competitor, but even accounting for the turbulence of the last couple years, Pyramind isn't quite on the same level as Ex'pression. If there has been any issue with relations between the two schools it's because Ex'pression puts out well-rounded graduates with actual degrees.
Ex'pression is still here offering a good education. This is a one-sided article. I'd have more respect for the author if an attempt was made to get more than just the most negative, and in some cases inaccurate, information possible.
Disclaimer - I am part owner and Chief Academic Officer at Pyramind Training, an alternative Music Production School to Ex'pression College and SAE.
This article saddens me for both the students who now have to deal with the decline in their education due to internal changes but also the teachers, who've dedicated their time and talents to sharing our wonderful craft with the next generation.
I will refrain from commentary about either Ex'pression or SAE as competitors - we've never had anything but good relations with these Institutions and I will not disparage them during a time of change.
Having now seen 3 audio schools open and close in the Bay Area since 1999, I know the chaos that comes with schools changing hands (and in some cases, closing doors). If you're looking for advice as to what to do next - whether a student or instructor - feel free to reach out to me directly to discuss your options. That includes options that aren't Pyramind.
We're here to help, any way we can.
CAO/ COO Pyramind Training
Does anyone know if students are eligible for a loan cancelation or discharge or refund on he basis of the school losing its accreditation and not letting the students know?
It's funny seeing the contrast between the lofty, high-minded tone of the review, and the mind-numbingly basic content of the songs linked.
Tell me again about how you used to sell drugs, how you're totally badass and successful now, and what the bitches in the club be like. Definitely haven't heard that song before!
I have kept a file on my grandson, Dayna Stephens since he started playing music. I have been going thru my file and found the wonderful article you wrote. I wanted to let you know that Dayna who is now living in New Jersey is being scheduled for a kidney transplant in mid-Aug. His aunt who also grew up in the Bay Area will be his donor. These last few years have been difficult for Dayna who continues to travel when physically able. A fund has been set up to cover the costs for his aunt whose health coverage does not cover her medical costs and for him who will no longer be eligible for Medicare once he receives the new kidney. Thank you again for your article.
Another chapter in a very sad story.
This place is going to be missed. Where can I go after Dorsey's Locker closes for anything even close to the experience I get there?
Hello this is Zachary Watkins. I simply want to thank Sam Lefebvre for sharing our story and music with your readers! Big Up!
Some quick clarifications... Mom (Sara Waters) is also a powerful and esteemed artist, and Cornish College was a deep art school experience. I recently found a cassette recording of my first string quartet rehearsal from 2000 and immediately began balling.... I was 20 when taking my first Composition Seminar taught by Jarrad Powell. That semester Jarrad invited a string quartet to collaborate with our class. The main goal of the class was to compose for string quartet in collaboration with the Dance Departments Choreography Seminar student choreographers! I can be heard saying to the musicians "BPM is 120" and the score itself was xeroxed from a notation notepad that had so many eraser marks that it more resembled a carbon paper copy.... Any wayz! Dedicated and engaged artists teach at Cornish. However, being involved in academic music programs for 15 years plus, I notice an uncomfortable aesthetic hierarchy favoring classical music over other traditions and improvisation is still underrepresented as a powerful expressive approach. The Mills and Cornish music programs attempt to tackle some of these concerns head on by hiring innovators, programming radical works and by accepting critters like me into their programs... We also need more diversity in the student body and professorships.
Black Spirituals will play Sat, July 25 at San Francisco's Center For New Music, 55 Taylor, 8pm
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