Within its 4.2 square miles, Westchase District is home to seven degree-granting higher education institutions, including one of the state’s finest recording engineering schools. Nestled in the Wilcrest Green Office Park, MediaTech Institute, located at 3234 Walnut Bend Lane, is a hidden gem for students interested in careers in the digital technology, multimedia production and entertainment industries.
The 15,000 square-foot recording studio and production facility was originally known as Sunrise Sound, founded during the 1970s by chief engineer Skip Burrows. Sunrise played host for a diverse lineup of artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Destiny’s Child, Selena, Clint Black, Yolanda Adams and Too $hort. In 2004, Sunrise became home to the Houston campus of MediaTech Institute, an expansion of audio engineering workshops at the Dallas Sound Lab recording studio.
Over the past 15 years, nearly 1,000 students have earned associate degrees and diplomas from MediaTech. The institute also offers programs in music production, digital film and video production, animation and visual effects, web design and mobile app development. Currently about 100 students are enrolled in courses.
MediaTech’s Houston studios include four recording consoles, each in specialized rooms which can accommodate everything from individual voiceover talent to full live bands. The studios offer both analog and digital professional grade equipment and classrooms are outfitted with Apple computers loaded with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud Suite software. Two editing rooms support a large film production studio, complete with a green screen room, lighting rigs and camera dollies. Dr. Sylento Lewis, Houston campus director, oversees a staff of about 16 instructors who bring a combined total of nearly 200 years of professional experience to students.
MediaTech’s career services department guides students through the process of seeking employment in the audio and video production industry. “While many of our graduates may not be as famous as the celebrities they produce, they’ve gone on to careers at TV news stations across the country, mix and master albums at Capitol Records, or open their own successful recording studios,” said Gary Foster, MediaTech’s director of education and head of the digital film department. “One of our film program graduates created a 20-minute highlight reel for Marvel Studios that was screened this spring at the world premiere of Avengers: Endgame in Los Angeles. His work received a standing ovation from the audience.”
Lewis said while MediaTech can be a launchpad for students wanting to work in New York, Hollywood, Atlanta, Nashville or Las Vegas, plenty of local possibilities exist that require the high-tech skills the institute teaches. “Many of our students have found work running sound systems at Houston-area megachurches,” he said. “I’d say the lion’s share of live sound engineers at Houston’s House of Blues have come from here as well. We teach them how to operate multiple sound mixes simultaneously so that both audiences and performers can hear everything clearly. It’s a lot more than karaoke.”
Arian Rivers, career services director, also teaches business communications courses to ensure that graduates can easily assimilate into professional environments. “Our reputation and relationships within the industry are on the line, so we want students to have appropriate soft skills as well as technical expertise,” he said. “We remind them that music and videos aren’t going away, that there will always be studios and live shows and that they will always have jobs if they’re good at what they do and are professional and likeable.”
While the studios are primarily used for educational purposes, Lewis said studio time may be rented on a space-available basis by non-students. “There are times when our instructors have brought in rappers like Paul Wall or Lil’ Keke to record or observe,” he said. “Also, we can consult with corporate clients and match them with appropriate students to facilitate production of commercials, podcasts and training films. We’re not like a barber college offering cheap haircuts, but we are willing to participate in community projects as much as we can.”
Tuition is $550 per credit hour. Financial aid and scholarships are available for qualifying students. Orientation for the 2019 fall semester begins August 22.
3234 Walnut Bend Lane