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Julius Grafton has launched live sound courses, returning to the medium after a decade break. Grafton ran short courses in the early 2000s that morphed into an accredited college delivering Diploma level training, before closing in 2011. His new courses are short ‘basics’ courses that are not accredited against vocational training standards.
“I am not standards accredited for a very good reason,” he told CX. “I struggled with the competency standards for almost a decade as the government twisted and turned, changing the way we could deliver courses on a whim with a growing pile of mandatory ‘core’ units that had nothing to do with technical training. In the end, our full time Diploma students spent half of the year putting up with dross like ‘work as an inclusive team’ and ‘production accounting’. Even today there are 225 possible units from which you get given 15. They include ‘Establish and maintain safe creative practice’ and ‘Enhance professional practice using creative arts industry knowledge’. While I’m not dissing TAFEs and colleges that do this kind of training, I know for a fact you could achieve 15 units, gain a diploma, and still not know about gain structure”.
“When I started training there was a big groundswell of support, and an expectation that the theatre and events industry would eventually move to formal qualifications. These things didn’t happen, and even today the vast majority of professional tech’s are not accredited – they learned on the job, or were self taught”, he concludes.
There are six short courses on offer, each spanning just four hours. The first course is Basics, intro to live sound, equipment and concepts, covering signal flow, speakers, amps, EQ, Mics and mixer. Grafton’s approach is alternating between the theory room and the equipment shed with no more than 20 minutes of theory followed by a session with the equipment. He has his own production company called Julius Grafton’s Sound and Lighting, a nod to the firm he established in the 1980s.
Asked why a decade has passed since he was last training, Grafton says he was bruised by the college closure and then busy with other things. “Only since I returned to live sound engineering after the lockdowns has this become possible, because you need to own a lot of current equipment to properly train live sound,” he replied. “Returning to live sound I realised I really enjoy it. Previously I was on a treadmill owning a production company that said yes to every job, getting fatigued with touring, and servicing huge finance leases. Now I own all my gear outright, and I say no more often than yes, just taking the gigs I want”.
He has scheduled the Basics courses for February in Sydney, and March in Adelaide, with Melbourne likely in April. Each 4 hour course costs $130 inc GST.
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