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This alumnus is exploring a combination of music, electrical and computer engineering

Apeejay alumnus Satyarth Arora, pursuing Master’s in Music Engineering Technology at the University of Miami talks about the growing popularity of this field in India and abroad

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Born and brought up in Delhi, Satyarth has been passionate about studying abroad. And so, he started planning to pursue his Master’s from a foreign university when he was 16-year-old. Satyarth completed his schooling from Apeejay School, Saket and then went on to pursue B Tech in Computer Science Engineering from Apeejay Stya University. Currently, he is doing his Masters of Science in Music Engineering Technology from University of Miami as well as working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Frost School of Music. When asked about how he got inspired to pursue such a unique and evolving programme, he explained, “I had decided to pursue a career in music, however, I was also passionate about computer science. So I researched online, went to forums, spoke to people in the industry to find out if I can combine my passion in both Music and Computer Science. Eventually, I found out about Music Technology/Music Engineering Technology, which combined these both fields and decided to pursue it.” Read on for more:

How and when did you decide to pursue Music Engineering Technology? Any inspiration?

I come from a family of academics, and was greatly influenced by my mother who earned her PhD in Mathematics. She introduced me to the concept of finding patterns in things at an early age. She did that by giving me a table of 10 multiples of numbers, going from 1 to 10 with no context. I went back to her with 8-9 different patterns that I could observe, each ultimately being a formula that I got to learn about during school.

My journey with music production also began with patterns. My brother introduced me to electronic music back in 2012. The music spoke to me on both an emotional and analytical level. I instantly got hooked on it and developed a drive of figuring out how I can make music using my computer. With just the internet, research, trial and error along with observing patterns in songs, melodies, I started composing, arranging and mixing music at home. 

It took years of practice to start producing decent songs. I was grateful to have friends and family around me, who gave me constant constructive criticism that allowed me to better my craft. In 2015, during 10th grade, I decided to pursue a career in music. But I was also passionate about computer science. So I researched, went to forums, connected with people in the industry to find out if I can combine my passion in both Music and Computer Science. I eventually found out about Music Technology/Music Engineering Technology, which combined these both fields and decided to pursue it.

Tell us what Music Engineering Technology is all about? 

Music Engineering Technology/Music Technology is a field that combines Music, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. The degree allows an individual to design, develop and implement algorithms that process sound as software/hardware products and services in both the digital and analog domain. Products include Microphones, Speakers, Synthesizers/Effects, Digital Audio Workstations, Audio/Video Conference applications, Games and many more. It also involves extensive research in areas such as combining audio with Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, Surround Sound, Acoustics. I will recommend going through Lindsay’s wheel of acoustics for individuals to get an idea on how sound is used in different fields extremely relevant to all our lives.  

Is Music Engineering Technology closely related to Sound Engineering? How are they different?

Sound Engineering is a small part of Music Engineering Technology, and involves learning about maintaining optimum sound quality in broadcasting media, live concerts, music studio. A Sound Engineer’s role is to use hardware and software to maintain/extract the best sound quality in any environment where music/sound is involved. 

What are the work-related opportunities in your field in India and abroad?

Graduates of Music Engineering Technology abroad typically pursue roles in Digital Signal Processing, Audio Software Development,Game Audio, Spatial Audio, Research, Acoustics and Sound Engineering. Work related opportunities in India as per my best knowledge can be in areas of Signal Processing and Sound Engineering.

Does studying abroad require a lot of planning? How did you make it?

It depends on the individual’s preference on how they want to go about it. I went about it with the primary objective of pursuing the best education with the least amount of financial liability  after I graduate. To achieve that objective, I started planning for my Master’s when I was 16 years old. I first had to convince my parents since they were going to fund my education, that this is a viable career option for me and I am passionate about it. After they were on board, we together planned out a 6 year goal which involved choosing an undergraduate degree to pursue that would complement my master’s application. I chose to pursue Computer Science Engineering at Apeejay Stya University because I got a 75% tuition scholarship. In fact, their curriculum had courses which involved reading and assessing academic papers to figure out solutions to problems which I deeply appreciated.

With the end goal in mind, I worked on the side during my undergrad on projects and software contracts to enhance my skills in programming. These jobs ranged from Cyber Security to Android Applications to designing and implementing the backend of Web-based applications. I then started implementing audio algorithms in softwares as audio effects which served a great addition to my portfolio.

My family then helped me with my masters applications and I applied to 7 Universities in the USA. I got accepted to 4 with scholarships offered by 2. Eventually, I chose University of Miami where I got a 50% tuition scholarship and a Teaching Assistantship which upgraded to 100% during the second year. The reason behind my acceptance, according to my opinion, was my strong GPA, portfolio and clear statement of purpose of why I wanted to pursue my masters.

Studying abroad requires you to ask three fundamental questions: why, how and when? It’s about taking the resources and skills you have available and applying them to the best of your ability.  

How do you strike a balance between education and work?

My work involves being a secondary instructor for undergraduate and graduate level courses of the field that I am pursuing. So being an instructor for me is an educational experience so there is no need to maintain balance yet (smiles).

When not studying or working, what are your other areas of interest that also add to your personal and professional development?

I am a member of a multicultural acapella group called Tufaan at the University of Miami. I am their vocal percussionist/Beatboxer. At Tufaan, we arrange and mix different songs and perform them using just our voices. Other than that, Miami is a great place to find and see emerging electronic music artists so, I typically go to these concerts, to listen to their music and converse with them about their journey. I also play badminton, as it’s a sport I deeply enjoy. I spend a lot of time researching Indian cooking, especially on the history of the dishes that I enjoyed back home.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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