AES Section Meeting Reports

Japan - June 2, 2023

Meeting Topic:

Moderator Name:

Speaker Name:

Meeting Location:


Tonmeister education, which originated in 1949 at Detmold University of Music in Germany to train recording producers and engineers, is currently offered at two German universities: Detmold University of Music (ETI) and Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). In Japan, in the 2000s, music production and sound recording programs were established at art universities and music colleges, marking the beginning of a new era in education and fostering exchanges.

During this event, moderated by Prof. Kazuya Nagae, we connected Germany, Belgium and Japan online. Tetsuro Kanai, currently pursuing a master's degree at ETI, and Shintaro Sugiura, a graduate of UdK, shared their studies and discuss the similarities and differences between Japan and Germany. Additionally, Hannes Baier, who is currently studying at Tokyo University of the Arts after attending UdK, Cornelia Zöhrer, who is studying at Nagoya University of the Arts after attending ETI, and Tomohito Takeishi, an exchange student from Nagoya University of Arts who studied at ETI for six months, shared their observations during their studies.

Tetsuro Kanai provided a detailed overview of the characteristics of Tonmeister education at ETI, focusing on three aspects: music, theoretical subjects such as physics and mathematics, and recording techniques. He shared his experiences and discussed the measures and services offered by the university to enhance students' musical skills. Summarizing his findings, he emphasized how such an environment nurtures individuals. As a result of his journey, he can now confidently say, "I am a music director and engineer." He further pursued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium.

Shintaro Sugiura provided a detailed explanation of the Tonmeister education at UdK, which involves studying major or minor instrument performance classes, as well as subjects like music theory, music recording foundations, studio techniques, and sound technology, all of which contribute to the practical training in recording arts. He shared his personal experiences at each stage of the education. While acknowledging the comprehensive educational content, he emphasized that the outcome of the education depends on the individual receiving it. He also expressed his opinion that how one connects their education to their professional work can vary from person to person. He mentioned that he can work in the field thanks to the connections he made with his classmates during that time.

While introducing the facilities at Tokyo University of the Arts and UdK, Hannes Baier reflected on his practical experiences, such as creating works using spatial audio, recording exercises, and installations. He described his activities and highlighted the unique aspects, such as presenting his work in seminars at the Tokyo University of the Arts and receiving feedback from other students in the department. He also mentioned the presence of events like production and research exhibitions. One common aspect between Japan and Germany is the ability to have personal consultations with professors.

Cornelia Zöhrer, based on her own experience, presented specific tools and services used in her studies and activities at ETI. During her classes, she also shared her engagement in subjects such as electrical engineering, mathematics, and psychoacoustics. She conducted demonstrations of sound design and her music compositions. She also touched upon her activities during her study abroad in Japan, expressing her belief that her education in Germany gave her a deeper exploration and development of her ideas during her stay in Japan.

Tomohito Takeishi shared his experiences and differences between studying in Japan and Germany. He mentioned the academic environment in Germany, where one can engage with music 24 hours a day, and the numerous concerts and events that can be experienced by living there. He explained his participation in orchestral recordings outside of the university and the 3D audio production he worked on during those sessions. In conclusion, he expressed his belief that students should have a proactive attitude towards learning and strive to enhance their skills with like-minded peers.

Lastly, a panel discussion titled "The Future of Music Recording Education" took place with the participation of Prof. Toru Kamekawa from Tokyo University of the Arts. The discussion explored the positive aspects of learning and activities in both Japan and Germany, highlighting the importance of mutual engagement. In Japan, where access to school facilities for 24 hours is often limited, it is essential to consider what can be achieved within those constraints. Despite receiving advanced education and possessing skills, there is a challenging situation with the shrinking industry, making it difficult to build a career. It was emphasized that students should actively seek opportunities for work and internships while in university. The discussion also discussed the challenges of pursuing careers in fields such as the game industry, where the combination of art and programming makes it more challenging for Tonmeisters. Overall, the session was precious and rich in content.

Written By:

More About Japan Section

AES - Audio Engineering Society