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MEET ACADEMIC CO-ORDINATOR BEN LUDIK

Ben Ludik joins the team as Academic Co-ordinator for Abbey Road Institute Johannesburg. Ben’s extensive experience in creative collaboration in the music industry, both locally and abroad, paired with his strong communication skills have primed him for this important role at our new school.

Throughout his film scoring career, Ben pursued the development of skills as a record producer, particularly in the blossoming of artist’s unique sound – the product of which has been rewarded with multiple awards. Ben has worked with some of South Africa’s leading film auteurs, including Katinka Heyns and Oliver Hermanus.

Ben completed his BA in Fine Arts (Visual Communication Design) at Stellenbosch University in 2007 and an MPhil in Music Technology in 2017. His creative approach to music production is balanced by an appreciation and understanding of rigorous research methodology.

Ben Ludik has a passion for supporting and developing up and coming artists, such as Kaleidoskoop and Joshua na die Reën, who won Newcomer of the year and numerous other awards at the prestigious Ghoemas. His commitment to the process of finding an individual’s unique voice is as much about persistence as it is about remembering to have fun in the studio. An ethos he loves to share with his students.

Work in Progress at Mastermax Studios, Abbey Road Institute Johannesburg

WELCOME BEN! What made YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MUSIC?

I was interested in music from an early age and I learnt to play various instruments during my school years. It was in only in 2009, while working as a designer and video-editor, that my passion for music and a career in audio started pulling me away from the visually-creative space I found myself in. I decided to pack my bags and move to Cape Town with the dream of being in the music production industry.

HOW HAVE YOU DEVELOPED AS A PRODUCER AND ENGINEER THROUGHOUT YOUR FILM CAREER?

I had to learn fast after I, overconfidently, thought that I understood music and it’s emotional connection well enough to be a record-producer after working in the visual space for quite a while. I picked up techniques as I went and trusted the engineers, producers and musicians I was working with to compensate for my shortcomings. They began to act as mentors as I started to develop my own technical know-how. Working with experienced professionals, being exposed to proper techniques and through making many of my own mistakes one cannot help learning the lay of the land. Once the hunger to learn about audio engineering and proper music production techniques bit me I delved deep into the resources available to me at various times in my career. There is allot of workflow and time management that forms part of the film world which are very valuable skills that I was also able to transfer into my music production and engineering career.

HOW does the course we offer differ from your own learning experience in music production?

I have thought (jealously!) about what it would have been like to start my career at Abbey Road Institute. As I mentioned, mentorship played a key role in the development of critical skills during the formative years of my music career. The opportunity to work in professional environments and with award winning engineers and producers wanting to help you grow is hard to get and without it, building a network and gaining experience is very difficult. This is where the vision of Abbey Road Institute and the enviable network is far-reaching in giving students real-life environments to learn in with plenty of networking and experience building opportunities which helps them fast-track their careers. Immersing myself in the Abbey Road Institute curriculum has been a series of lightbulb moments, illuminating the network of technical knowledge that I have spent a good 18 years acquiring, as well as highlighting areas where I can grow in my understanding. The thought of being presented with not only this framework but the opportunity to put it into practice in a world-class studio facility is a privilege, to put it mildly and it will provide our students with the catalyst to progressing their careers .…

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE CURRICULUM OFFERS TO ASPIRING MUSIC PRODUCERS AND AUDIO ENGINEERS?

Firstly a very well balanced, expertly crafted educational experience with 3 key focus areas namely Music Production, Engineering and Music Business. The emphasis within the course is to develop our students as producers; multi-skilled professionals with a creative approach, strong technical knowledge and the skills to operate in a studio and professional recording environment.  Alongside learning what equipment, techniques and microphones to use you also learn why you use them. This will help you develop your own expertise and understanding of how to create different sounds and effects.The curriculum is built on 85 years of innovation and expertise at Abbey Road, also offering students the opportunity to work on recordings that are exclusively available within the Abbey Road network. The regular workshops with industry experts offer students face-time with some of the world’s leading audio professionals. This consistent exposure to excellence in music production and audio engineering offers students the chance to stand on the shoulders of giants. Through our broad range of industry professionals, from sound engineers to music producers, artists and music business professionals you’ll gain insights into the breadth of the recording industry and establish your personal career path.

THE JOHANNESBURG INSTITUTE WILL BE THE FIRST ABBEY ROAD INSTITUTE IN SOUTH AFRICA. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES IT SPECIAL OR DIFFERENT TO WHAT’S ALREADY AVAILABLE IN TERMS OF AUDIO EDUCATION?

Our school differs from the other local schools most notably in the way our programme intertwines the world of music production, sound engineering and music business. The curriculum is designed to be a career kick-starter with a one-year intensive course. It provides vocational, hands-on, apprenticeship like training to ready students to step out into the industry and start forging their own careers. A class at Abbey Road Institute Johannesburg allows a maximum of 25 students. It is because of this fact that students can expect an unprecedented level of attention, and access to top-of-the-line audio equipment, including their own dedicated audio workstation during classes. Abbey Road Institute is a globally recognised brand. We are very proud to able to endorse the cream of the crop. The course is demanding, our expectations of students and the pass-rate very high; this means that our partners in the global industry have confidence in the standard they can expect from our graduates.

What would be your advice to aspiring music producers and audio engineers?

Firstly, it’s never too late to start, if it’s your passion, follow it and practice “Kaizen” – the ancient Japanese wisdom of improving continuously – a little bit better, every time. Don’t try to fix everything at once, pick one thing at a time, improve it and integrate it.

WHAT DOES ABBEY ROAD MEAN TO YOU?

Abbey Road represents timelessness to me. From the experiments that shaped the trajectory of modern recording art, to the evergreen hits that have been so meticulously crafted within its quarters, Abbey Road seems to rise above that which is here today but will be forgotten tomorrow. Abbey Road is about art, not commodities – whether it is about the works themselves or inventing the tools to fashion memorable music.

Find out more

If you’d like to join Ben’s first class check out our course page for more information on the Advanced Programme in Music Production and Sound Engineering.