TARA Grads

With the skills they learned in our program TARA Grads have chosen many paths after graduation.
Click on the pictures below to hear their stories.

Andrew Sutherland
Class of 2019

I chose to attend TARA for the hands on approach, intimate class sizes and the ability to learn in a studio setting.

What I got out of it was the knowledge and ability to handle numerous engineering and recording scenarios, with the theory to go along with it.

Since graduating, I started a sound career in film. I’m currently working as a boom operator and live sound mixer for movie productions. All of which was made possible by the great staff and lessons learned while at TARA

Gary Pollock
Class of 2016

In addition to organizing and running DJ events, I have been working at Wall Sound. Pre-Covid I was heavily involved at Bluesfest working on the City Stage. This pic taken while giving my dad (also a TARA Student) a tour of the “mini city” they have setup at Lebreton Flats.

I have enjoyed being part of the Wall Sound community, along with other grads such as Isaac Lovell and enjoy servicing Ottawa/National/International touring audio clients and acts.

Tara Shannon
Class of 2014

I had taken a break from music to raise my family and when I decided to get back into it, I wanted to catch up my knowledge about how the recording technology had changed in the time I had been away.

The TARA Program was perfect for what I was looking for…the instruction was current, it gave me the confidence I needed and the ability to communicate with producers on behalf of my artist clients at Willow Sound Recordings, the label I founded shortly after I graduated. The classes were fun and informative and there was a real sense of community that I still connect with to this day.

Since TARA I have reached Top 50 on the Music Row Country Breakout chart in the US with my song “Mutha”, the single from my EP “Freedom” made the PlayMPE Top 20 Streams and I co-founded, Syndicut Music Publishing with Nashville’s Debbie Zavitson

Tyler Riopelle
Class of 2014

My name is Tyler Riopelle and I am a graduate from the class of 2014.  TARA has given me the skills and know-how to become successful in the audio field.  Immediately after graduating, I was hired at Wall Sound and Lighting and got to spend my summer at Bluesfest and Folkfest learning all the ins and outs of live sound on a world class scale, with world famous musical acts.  I am enjoying working in the field of live sound but have not lost my passion for recording as I have also begun the construction of my own recording studio.


Being a lifelong musician, the recording process has always interested me but I never knew where to start.  I had been to Raven Street Studios several times in the past as a performer and was always interested in becoming a engineer at TARA.  After doing research on the program and what was offered, I knew this was for me.  I enjoyed the small class sizes, which enabled more one on one instruction, and a comfortable and adaptive learning environment.  The instructors at TARA are very knowledgeable, current, and ready to assist you in learning what you want to learn.  One aspect of the program that I felt valuable was the vast areas of the industry that are covered, along with the renowned guest speakers that gave us a true feeling of what its like to work in the music industry, everything from production, recording, live sound to artist development and foley.


My experience at TARA has been nothing but exciting, fun and informative.  TARA has given me all the tools I need to be successful in this field and it is up to me to keep the fire roaring!  My only regret, is not registering sooner.

Andre "KING" Thibault
Class of 2012

My experience at TARA was second to none.  It is very safe to say I would not have accomplished any of the things I have, both musically and professionally, without the knowledge and skills that the program provided me.  I learned so much, from recording and production techniques, live sound set-up and mixing (and it’s differences with in-studio mixing), MIDI… it all carries over into not only my work but also my everyday life.


Using the skills I learned at TARA, I was able to secure a position at Ottawa’s #1 radio station, Hot 89.9, and experienced all the nuances of operating the best in the business.  Whether operating broadcast equipment, wireless mics and headsets, etc. while live on location, or actually doing edits for on-air, recording commercials, and so much more, TARA enabled me to build trust in my skills and gain valuable connections as well.


I was also able to secure a position at PM Events, an Audio/Visual company that does various live setups across the city and most recently DJ and Audio-Visual Manager at Real Sports. Whether it be a large DJ setup, a conference, or otherwise, even just understanding audio signal flow, having learned live sound techniques all contributed to my ability to succeed in this position.


Last, and certainly not least, it has enabled me to become the definition of an independent musician.  I am a hip-hop artist, producer, and now engineer, and would never have progressed to the point I have without the mixing, production, midi and recording techniques I’ve learned.  I produce all my own material, record it, mix it, and master it, all from my project studio (TARA also provided me the understanding of studio setups and how to build my own). I also produce for other artists, both in the city and otherwise, and make a side income mixing and mastering other artists projects as well.  It has enabled me to form professional working relationships with some of the biggest names in Eastern Canadian Hip-Hop, as they see my capabilities and respect my work. None of that would have been possible without TARA.


I would recommend The Audio Recording Academy to anyone even remotely interested in working in any realm of the audio world.  The small class sizes and hands-on learning are incomparable to any other program, and you develop relationships with the staff and your classmates that last a lifetime!

Matt Farrier

This is a snap on the set of my day job, the TV series “Suits” in Toronto. When I was finishing up TARA’s program in 2012, they got a crew call for an overnight shift on a film that was shooting in Ottawa. I volunteered to work the shift and after only a couple of days on set, was hired as a boom operator. I continued to work regularly in the Ottawa region, until I made the move to Toronto a couple of years ago and joined the union. I am now part of the audio team on the show and keeping busy with music on the side. I have also worked on feature films such as 2019’s release, Ready or Not.

Cameron McLellan
Class of 2010

The best part of my education at TARA was that our course covered everything from music production to live sound to video post-production. It didn’t pigeonhole our education into just looking for a studio to intern at after we were done; we had options, and experience to play with.

I am working full time now doing live sound for sizable Canadian bands such as Protest The Hero, Abandon All Ships, and Stereos. I have also mixed for broadcast television, and even done some in studio engineering and production on Universal Music albums.

I liked the partnership TARA had with EMI Music Publishing, as half of the music industry is who you know. I would recommend TARA to others, as it is an eight month program that fits everything you need (and more) into a short amount of time. It’s spread out perfectly so that it isn’t overbearing or boring.

Peter Heinrichs
Class of 2009

After graduating from TARA I established some great connections with some artists in Toronto and in Europe. I also formed a relationship with some of the guys at EMI, they allowed me to use the studio there and build up my experience working on a c24. I toured Canada and Europe with a group called “Babylon Warchild” and worked with some artists that I always wanted to work with. I produced some songs on a project for Killah Priest including the single Brilliantaire.


I found myself gaining new opportunities but didn’t always have the money for travel or music business related costs.  I decided to go back to school for social work as this is a field that I naturally lean towards along with music. I am now exploring ways in which I can combine my experience as a music producer with advocacy for those caught in a struggle. The majority of the artists I’ve worked with come from challenging environments and the music that is created reflects and is an expression of that. Many of the interpersonal skills in social work also exist in the recording studio, especially as a producer. Knowing how to listen, and how to transfer an artists message in the most impactful way possible is in my opinion essential as a music producer.

Colin Cooper
Class of 2009

After months of studying and researching all of the Canadian audio engineering programs being offered I felt great about my decision to apply to TARA. The price was great and lower than all of its competitors and the caliber of the instructors was top-notch. After speaking with the staff at the school, it was easily felt and expressed by both of us that the fit was right and I felt secure in my decision to move forward in the music industry.

I’m a big believer in TARA and their teachings. TARA is up to the challenge of making it simple for you to create and comprehend, and get in there and get dirty. The staff is amazing and approachable. Everyone is industry minded and they help you take positive steps toward molding your career in music.

After school I decided to open my own record label and small home studio and I am doing what I love. My advice is this, friends. If you’re going to TARA, get in there and work, smile, dance and take your projects seriously. Everyone at TARA is there to help you and guide you toward greatness.

Sebastian Biega
Class of 2009

TARA definitely helped me prepare for my career in the audio industry. I currently work in the Media Services department at RMW Music in Toronto. RMW is an award winning post production house that works primarily in advertising and specializes in Original Music and Sound design. The engineering course at TARA definitely helped me shape up my pro tools chops allowing me to do my own compositions for commercials. Most recently my demo was picked to be on Hyundai’s Superbowl commercial for 2013. 

The very close and hands-on approach TARA offers made it an easy choice for me from the start. The small class sizes assured me I would get all the help I needed to begin my career in the industry. The eight hours of weekly studio time ensured I got to use all the gear on a regular basis and taught me the ins and outs of not only recording other artists, but also allowed me to grow as a musician and record my own compositions.

The joy of learning something new in each class was always my favourite part about TARA I never left school at the end of the day without absorbing the latest lesson. I would recommend TARA to any engineer or music lover because of the great environment it offers. The Applied Audio program is a very hands-on course that allows you to use the gear every day and become familiar with all sides of the industry. The teachers and staff are always there to attend to your needs and each day brings a new world of knowledge.

John Bruce Affleck
Class of 2007

I moved to Toronto from PEI to attend TARA for the 2006-2007 semester. After doing research on multiple audio schools located in the Toronto area, TARA stood out right away as the right place for me. I learned a lot from the instructors, with their wealth of knowledge and experience. TARA allowed me the opportunity to get the hands-on experience I was looking for, as well as a solid background of audio. After graduation I was immediately hired at the biggest production company in Toronto, Towers Clair Showco. It allowed me to work on multiple music festivals and different venues in Toronto. My responsibilities included putting together shows, setting up p.a. systems, front of house and monitor engineer at concerts and also mixing live broadcast for the Edge radio station. I went on the road with Metric, and then was hired full time by Great Big Sea which has allowed me to travel the world and led me to my gig on tour with Ariana Grande as part of her 2015 sound crew. For a boy from PEI this couldn’t have been a better opportunity and I have TARA to thank for getting me my start!

Darren Glowacki
Class of 2007

My experience at TARA was one of fun and learning. I enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere, from both students and staff. I especially enjoyed not being seen as only a student number and getting to know my instructors on a personal level. I came from a background with little to no studio experience and felt I grew immensely in the short time I attended TARA. The most valuable part of my experience at TARA was the actual experience itself. I liked the practical approach and felt that all of the questions I had, no matter how elementary they sounded, were answered with thought and consideration.

I currently own and run a custom pro audio cable business — Sly Goose Productions. Our clients are primarily studio owners, but also include churches, bands, DJs, etc. I feel that real world experience from studio situations at TARA has helped provide me with the knowledge needed to aid customers in their inquiries. I also keep my notes from TARA classes in my shop so I have information to refer to if needed.

I would recommend TARA to other people who are serious about starting a career in the audio world. What I liked was that they encouraged and pointed out the numerous jobs available in this field. If you go in with an open mind, work hard, and follow the signs afterward you will get to where you want to be. The last thing I thought I’d be doing was soldering cables, but in the end it has led me to meet more people in the recording biz than I ever thought I would. Even though I’m not running a studio, I can always go hang out at one!

Visit www.slygoosecables.com for more information on Darren’s Pro Audio Cable business.

Jon Carter
Class of 1999

After graduating from TARA in 1999 I took part in many musical projects both recorded and live. I started working as a theatre technian as well, and became a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 471 here in Ottawa. In 2003 I was hired as the Assistant Technical Director and Head of Audio at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. 

In 2007 GCTC build its new 12 million dollar home on Wellington St. in Hintonburg. At that time I was able to make the decisions of what audio gear went into the new state of the art facility. In 2008, I was made the Technical Director and am still there today. As well as overseeing all the technical aspects of the productions I still am the head of audio and get to use the skills that I first acquired at TARA in the audio production of the shows. GCTC is also a fantastic concert venue and over the years, I have had the chance to mix many great bands. Some of the stand out acts have been Garnet Rodger, Don Ross, Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers.

The hands-on learning done at TARA , with their excellent instructors, has given me many tools that I use everyday in my professional life. I am very grateful for those days and the knowledge that I gained there.

James Starnes
Class of 1999

I graduated from TARA in 1999 and have never looked back. 

I found a job a few short months after graduating, in London UK, at a small music studio as an assistant. After 18 months of hard work I managed to land a job at a postproduction facility called Two Plus One in Soho, London as the sole audio operator there. It was here where TARA’s training held me in good stead. My confidence in my own abilities was extremely important here and there is no doubt that that confidence was born in the wee hours of the morning in the studios at TARA. I was responsible for all audio for the DVD releases for many Paramount titles like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sex And The City and Frasier to name a few. I performed the sound design and mixed a few feature films here as well as some successful feature documentaries for HBO, The History Channel and The Discovery Channel. 

My experience and good grounding brought me to Australia, where I work at a Post Production company in Brisbane called The Post Lounge. I am the only (you get used to that in the post production world) sound guy here and I have done sound design and mixed hundreds of TV commercials. In addition to this I have had the opportunity to work on a few feature films as a Sound Designer, ADR recorder, Dialogue editor Foley artist, Mixer, Location Recordist etc.

TARA was that critical first step in my career, a career, which would, in all likelihood, never have happened had it not been for the individual attention from the instructors and the ‘hands on’ application that this industry most definitely requires. I am indebted to all at TARA and would highly recommend the school to anyone interested.

Andrew Tweedy
Class of 1998

I began at T-Base shortly after graduating from TARA, almost 14 years ago. T-Base provides accessible statements and documents in braille, large print and audio, and I was brought in to set up and run the audio department. My job consisted of the recording, editing and mastering of narrated documents, ranging from schoolbooks to government literature to newsletters, and everything in between. Believe it or not, we were still using cassettes back then!

Since that time, the company has grown significantly, and the audio department has come a long way. We now offer a variety of audio formats from CD to MP3 to DAISY, which is a fully navigable text/audio hybrid. It was my job to research and implement the standards by which we adhere to concerning everything audio-related. However, in the last few years, my role has also changed quite a bit too. I still handle all audio related work, however I now also manage the entire transcription department, which includes a team of 6 highly specialized transcribers. I am responsible for all of our accessible formats, such as braille, large print, tactile graphics, and many others.

We’re very proud the fact that our grads have great things to say about our recording school. Two of the things we focus on are the level of student satisfaction and maintaining an extremely low level of dropouts from our audio program. If you would like to speak to a recent grad or one of our current students to find out their experiences and opinions of our school, let us know and we’ll be glad to put you in touch.