Published: 18 February 2021

Meet the academic: Dr Russell Mason

Dr Russell Mason, Senior Lecturer in Audio and Programme Director of the Tonmeister programme, works in our Department of Music and Media. Dr Mason conducts research into aspects of perception and measurement of audio.

Dr Russell Mason
Dr Russell Mason

What inspires you about Surrey?

The thing that inspires me most about Surrey is the students. All of the students on the Tonmeister course have a good background in engineering and music, but they each have different skills, interests, and abilities. Some are amazing musicians and composers, some are incredible engineers, and some are incredibly talented producers. It is always rewarding to see the amazing things they produce, be it performances, technology, or recordings.

Why should a student come to Surrey to study music?

I believe that it is important to study both the science and the art of the subject; this means that you have a much greater understanding of the subject, and it means that the range of jobs you can go into is much wider. We have a great track record of recruiting highly talented students, teaching them the fundamentals of the subject, giving them the opportunities to learn how to use the best equipment in the industry and providing many opportunities to meet and work with people in the industry This ensures our graduates have incredibly good employment prospects and go onto amazing careers.

What did you do prior to working at Surrey?

I studied on the Tonmeister course in 1994 with the aim of becoming a rock and roll engineer but during the course, I realised that wasn’t the right thing for me. At the end of the course, one of the Tonmeister lecturers asked whether I wanted to do a PhD – of course I did! Who wouldn’t want to spend three more years learning about audio, getting to play with expensive surround sound studios and equipment, and finding out new things that no one else has before? As usual in research, I finished my PhD with far more questions than I’d started with, so I used those to apply for funding to carry on as a postdoctoral researcher, and then was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when a lectureship became available.

How would you describe your time at Surrey?

My time at Surrey has been varied, challenging, and highly rewarding. Being at the intersection of music and technology is always exciting, and there are always new things to learn.

Is there a particular memory at Surrey which stands out for you?

Probably my favourite memory happened at a graduation celebration, where a student’s parent came to thank me for taking his son from being a scruffy oik to a proper functioning adult. I don’t take the full credit for that process happening, but it really sums up how much our students change in the time they are with us, and it’s rewarding to think that we have had some positive effect on them and their future lives and careers.

What are your interests and hobbies outside of academia?

Like most students and staff on the course, I’m interested in music and technology, and so it’s great when your job has such an overlap with your hobbies. I’m also inspired by the great outdoors, so being located in Surrey is perfect for going hiking and canoeing in nature.


Discover all of our courses on offer within the Department of Music and Media.

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