Kaan - "The conservatoire is your playground"

15 December 2022

Kaan is in the first year of his Master's degree in the Art of Sound department at the Royal Conservatoire. This is his fifth year at the institution, as he also completed his Bachelor's degree there. After recently returning from a tour as a sound engineer, Kaan was able to take some time to speak with us about his experience at the Royal Conservatoire so far.

“I was born and raised in Istanbul until the age of twenty. When I was thirteen, I began singing and playing the bass guitar. By the time I was sixteen, I had decided to pursue a career in music. Although I was passionate about science and was studying it at the time, I felt the need to find a way to express my creativity in that field. I studied at the Music Department of Istanbul Bingi University for one year, but I wanted to broaden my studies and gain an international perspective. This ultimately led me to move to the Netherlands.”

Experimentation zone
“Being a part of the Royal Conservatoire community, surrounded by many talented musicians from all over the world, has been incredibly valuable for my personal and professional growth. I have had the opportunity to work on various projects and collaborate with many other students, and I have learned and grown from each experience.

The Conservatoire is a place where it is safe to take risks and experiment with new ideas. Collaborating with students from other departments is also important, as music can only be created with the contributions of all types of musicians. As a student in the Art of Sound department, I often have the opportunity to assist with recordings and projects for other students.

In my first two years at the Conservatoire, I accepted every project offered to me to gain as much experience as possible. This allowed me to work on a wide range of projects, from contemporary music to jazz, as well as recording and producing. In my third year and beyond, I have been more selective about my projects to focus on the areas that interest me the most.”

Going live
Currently, I focus on creating live sound. This was a revelation for me. When I first arrived, I was primarily interested in studio production. Still, as I progressed in my studies, I became more passionate about live sound engineering for concerts. This has become a driving force for me in my studies and career."

A musical approach
“The Art of Sound department at the Royal Conservatoire provides a unique blend of technical and musical training. While there are other audio technician programs in the Netherlands, the Conservatoire stands out by providing a more musical approach to education. To succeed in this field, it is essential to understand the material you are working with deeply and to see the essence of the music. Having a clear idea of how to shape and mould sound to achieve the desired effect is important.

Within the Art of Sound department, students can choose to focus on one of three paths: recording, live sound, or studio production. These different tracks offer a wide range of opportunities for students, and the department is home to a diverse group of musicians, from those who create electronic music in the studio to those who focus on live sound engineering or on-location recordings.”

Helping each other
“A strong sense of collaboration and mutual support characterises the Art of Sound department. For instance, when a fourth-year student has a complex project that requires multiple people to set up, they often ask a second-year student for help. This is an excellent way for students at different levels of their studies to learn from each other and gain valuable experience.”

Combining work and studies

“When I began my studies at the Royal Conservatoire in 2017, I was able to find freelance work almost immediately. The Conservatoire provides many opportunities for its students, but gaining real-world experience is crucial for anyone pursuing a career in this field. The behaviours and expectations of clients in the professional world can be very different from those in a school setting, so it is important to gain as much hands-on experience as possible.

My teachers have supported my efforts to balance my studies with outside work and have been flexible when they know I am working on something important. Ultimately, the key to success is finding a good balance between your studies and your professional pursuits. This is something I have been working on for the past five years.”

Master research project

“For my Master's research project, I am developing a workflow to implement studio production techniques in live sound situations. In the studio, it is possible to stop, go back, make changes, and listen multiple times to perfect a sound. However, in live sound situations, time is linear, and it is not possible to stop and make changes in the same way.

I am examining the main differences in approach and workflow between studio and live sound and identifying techniques currently impossible to use in live sound. I am then developing workarounds to make it possible to use these techniques in live sound situations.

I am fortunate to have the support of multiple teachers helping me with my research. This is the first time I have undertaken a research project of this magnitude, so it has been somewhat overwhelming for me. Having guidance from experienced professionals has been very helpful in navigating the process.”


“We are passionate about the work we do, but it is important to remember not to get too caught up in it. I have noticed this happening to myself lately – even though I am only 25, I have been working too hard and not taking enough time to enjoy the other aspects of life. It is important to take time to appreciate this period of your life as a student when you have relatively few responsibilities and can focus on your studies and personal growth. Remember to feed your soul as well – don't get so caught up in work that you forget to enjoy life.”

Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire.