Education of the Audio Engineering Society
Directory of Educational Programs of the AES

Student Membership in the AES: What is it all about?

Roy Pritts, Past Chairman of the Audio Engineering Society Education Committee

The simplest answer to this question is to enhance and accelerate your audio education. The elaboration of that answer is focused in two areas: Individual Membership and Student Sections of the AES.


The student member of the AES immediately benefits by reduced cost of membership, which includes the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, and reduced costs of attending AES conferences and conventions. This explanation is often not enough to convince an audio student to join the Society, so let me carry it further.

The Audio Engineering Society is the only professional society dedicated to the audio profession. The AES Journal is the only refereed scientific journal dedicated to audio. Many of the leading changes and innovations in our science are introduced in the Journal and presented as technical papers at AES international conventions. The Journal is a significant link for the life-long learner in audio to the currents of the science. The applications articles provide timely insight into this profession and its artistic utilization of complex technology. Do not underrate the value of a thorough investigation of the Journal as an ongoing resource for our industry.

Reduced costs for attendance at AES activities is a commitment by the Society to encourage student presence at its gatherings. Only by attending the various meetings-local, regional and international-can you witness the scientific and artistic debate that surrounds new thoughts in this field. The personal relationships you can form at these meetings will broaden your contacts and resources for the future. This activity will most certainly enhance your education.


When students bring the value of individual membership, mentioned above, into action with other members, then recognized student sections are the natural outgrowth. Young men and women form a fraternity of preprofessionals with a common interest, which can accelerate the learning experience. A healthy student section can bring economy and focus to gathering the resources necessary to participate in a worldwide audio community.

Consider the advantages to your education as you fellow AES student members participate in some of the following. These are just some of the activities available to student section members and some considerations.

Leadership Training: The elected officers of a student section are looked upon by their colleagues and the industry as "tomorrow's leaders." As the officers carry out their duties and opportunities of managing a section, they develop leadership skills and build a network of contacts that see them as dynamic and engaged professionals.

Guest Speakers: By inviting professional guests to speak at your meetings, it broadens the resources of a school and can attend to areas of interest that may be unavailable to academic directors. Student members select the focus of these meetings.

Section Store: By purchasing tape and other supplies in bulk, students can lower the cost and provide better quality and consistency to the supplies that are necessary to meet laboratory needs. A modest profit in this transaction can contribute to the section budget.

Facilities Tours: Extending the classroom to include facilities in the area provides a better understanding of the professional work place and builds an network to some future employers.

Engineering Pool: Recording, reinforcement, and maintenance services provided by students broaden the resources of a program to the community and provide valuable training to audio students. Be sure to construct appropriate guidelines for the kinds of services provided so as not to enter into unhealthy competition with the professional community and, thus, torpedo an internship program.

Section Library: A complete set of AES Journals, AES preprints, AES anthologies, current and back issues of major trade magazines, technical specifications sheets, equipment manuals, and other reference materials can be maintained by a section librarian for use by audio students in research and investigation. You may find that this service becomes the best reference collection in your area.

Newsletter: A periodic newsletter that tells of section activities, visiting lecturers, student awards, alumni news, and coming events provides an increased community awareness of student professional involvement. Copies of this newsletter are normally mailed to local professionals and allied professional groups, alumni of a program, other AES student sections and AES professional sections, and school administrators. The emergence of the World Wide Web as a publication vehicle and information center is an activity that is logical for student section.

Student Awards: A selected panel of local audio professionals can serve as the selection committee for student section awards in areas of creative work, research, and service. Publication of these awards should appear in the newsletter and should be posted on the bulletin board.

Bulletin Board: A conspicuous bulletin board can provide a focal point for the announcement of section meetings, work opportunities, engineering pool projects, awards and student recognition, alumni news, and a copy of the sections most recent newsletter.

Special Events: Sponsorship or co-sponsorship of special events, such as concerts, seminars, MIDI/audio swap meets and other activities, can provide a community service and bring attention to students as active and interested audio citizens.

The money generated from collective projects and activities can be used to pay for guest speakers, provide student monitors for audio laboratories, print the newsletter, provide travel grants to AES gatherings, provide scholarships, purchase needed laboratory equipment, or supplement the program maintenance budget. Financial support can be requested from AES headquarters for the normal operating costs of a recognized student section, and there are allied societies in audio that have grant-in-aid resources.

It is hoped that these observations help you to make that important professional decision to join as an individual member with the audio community and to participate actively with other students in the common growth of this exciting and challenging profession.

Best wishes in pursuit of your audio education.

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