November 02, 2010

Internships for the Music Tech Major Can be a Pretty Tricky Thing

I want to interject first and introduce you to our new blogger, Alden. He will be focusing on advice specific for music tech people and anyone who's interested in a career in production, composition, live sound, or any other similar music career. I'll add a page soon with bios and more info and you can always reach out to him directly at his email at the bottom of this post. But, as a quick overview, he's done several tech oriented internships, holds a degree in music industry, and currently works designing sounds for video games. I'm glad to have him helping and to finally provide better advice to those of you interested in tech and sound!  Enjoy his first post.
   - Katie

Internships for the Music Tech major can be a pretty tricky thing. There’s a lot to balance and a lot to handle when considering pros and cons of any job opportunity, especially so in the music industry. The following are some helpful tips for finding, and retaining, a great internship in the tech side of the music industry.

1. Find out what you want to do

This might seem kind of strange. You’ve already chosen to be a techie, so you already know you want to sit behind a recording console in a studio, right? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. There are literally hundreds of careers out there to choose from. You could be a front of house engineer at a live venue. Why not be a mixing  engineer for TV or film? Better yet, why not compose the music for TV or film? Ever wonder where the sound effects for video games come from? To use an extremely cliché term, the possibilities are endless. Your first priority in finding an internship is soul searching. Figure out what you want to do, and what you need to do to make it happen.

2. Research
Research. Research, research, research, research. This is the most important thing on this entire list. Google companies, rifle through their websites, and make educated decisions based on your findings. Remember, these internships lead to jobs. More importantly, they’re the first positions that go on your résumé. It’s important to consider not only what makes sense for the here and now, but also how to go about building your résumé for your dream career.

3. Remember, your first internship isn’t going to be easy

A professor of mine once told me, “The one who gets the job at the end of the day is the one who scrubs the toilet clean and makes the best sandwich.” Internships are getting better and better. There are laws in place making sure that internships (paid or unpaid) grant college credit, and provide good learning experiences. Having said that, there is still a fair amount of grunt work involved. Chances are, no matter where you work, you’ll have to clean, make food for clients, stand at a copy machine making copies, etc. Although it’s not ideal from the student point of view, don’t take this as a nuisance. Go at these jobs with gusto; do the best damn job you can, because one day, the head engineer will want a second, or he’ll get sick and the boss will need a replacement. Will they go for the lazy complainer, or the guy who gets the job done before he/she is even asked? This leads to not only a better job recommendation, but also a more rewarding learning experience. More often than not, a good intern is rewarded with the best kind of payment: being allowed to mess with the gear! To sum it all up: work hard, learn harder.

That’s all I have for now. Keep an eye on this blog, as it will be updated with more tips and helpful hints. If you have a specific question, or an idea, feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail me at

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