July 13, 2012

What To Wear To A Music Industry Conference

What to wear tends to be one the most popular topics on this site. Probably because it can tough for interns and other newcomers to determine what to wear in an industry that's a mix between business, casual, and countless musical subcultures. How do you look professional but still fit in when it comes to attending a conference or other professional event? To be honest, the answer really depends because some events are more formal than others and may include awards dinners or walks down the red carpet (no, I'm not kidding). Today, we'll take a look at what to wear to your average music industry conference or professional event and will get into some more specific examples in the future.

Joe Mabel [GFDLCC-BY-SA-3.0  or CC-BY-2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Music Industry Dress
There is a certain outfit many often joke is the unofficial "music industry uniform." It consists of business-casual style shoes (such as loafers for men or flats for women), jeans, a stylish shirt or even a t-shirt, and a blazer. This is the outfit you will most commonly see worn any just about any music event from a convention to an industry showcase. It is also the quintessential example of what the "music industry dress code" involves. It is some unique hybrid of casual, trendy, and business casual to create a style that is rather unique to the music world.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when putting together your own outfit:

July 12, 2012

Crash Course: Dealing With Electric Guitars

Electric guitars are one of the defining elements of good ol' fashioned rock and roll music. From roots rock to death metal, you'll run into electric guitars pretty much every day in the live sound world. A few simple tips will put you on a solid path to rock guitar (mixing) greatness.
By Feliciano GuimarĂ£es from GuimarĂ£es, Portugal (Electric guitar  Uploaded by tm) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Listen to the Amp!
This sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many pro sound folks, myself included, will have already decided on the 'right' way to mic a guitar amp before the guitarist has even plugged in. Take a second and listen to the player's sound. Also, check with your ears to make sure that all the speakers in a cabinet are working. The owner of the cabinet is usually the last one to know when his speakers are torn, blown, or have fallen out and are rattling around inside the cab. (I've seen this.) You do not want to mic an empty hole, so check for yourself.

Choose your Weapons.
Your mic selection for electric guitar may come down to what's left over in your mic box. If you have options, though, don't be afraid to experiment. Dynamic microphones are usually preferred for guitar because of their ruggedness and their natural tendency to roll off low frequencies (the rumbly junk you don't need for guitars) and high frequencies (the really screechy scratchy stuff you're probably going to EQ out, anyway). However, certain particularly plucky condenser microphones are sometimes used to capture an edgier sound. If I have the option, I'll sometimes use both a condenser and a dynamic mic, and blend the sound to taste, but a desert island dynamic like a Shure SM57 is always a safe bet. You'll occasionally see a third type of microphone—ribbon mics—used for guitars . . . but if you're using one of these, you either already know what you're doing or you've already ruined your microphone. Either way, no need for me to go down that avenue.

Location, Location, Location . . .

Understanding Radio Formats: Hot AC

No matter what area of the music industry you want to work in, whether as a producer, musician, or concert promoter, there are some basics things it is helpful to understand and one of those is radio. Sure, your job may have nothing to do with radio and the airwaves may be competing with countless new technologies when it comes to generating buzz for music. Still, good old fashioned terrestrial radio remains as one the most popular ways the greater population is exposed to new music. So, getting radio airplay is still an important facet of any musician's quest to the top of the charts and it is still important for the members of those musicians teams to be able to understand and properly strategize for it. So, we've already taken a look at the CHR format, today we'll be taking a look at it's cousin: Hot AC.

Source: Billboard

Hot AC
The AC stands for adult contemporary and the hot part means popular music. It's similar to the CHR format but generally for a bit older audience.

July 11, 2012

How To Make A Good First Impression As An Intern: First Five Minutes

Psychologists, networking experts, career advisors, and your mother will all tell you that first impressions, formed in that crucial first 30 seconds, are hard to change. They might be right generally, but when it comes to setting yourself up for a positive internship experience I disagree. There's something unique about being an intern: everyone knows you are a student and no one expects you to be perfect. Honestly, that means the bar for your performance isn't always set very high. Some interns start out with mindless tasks simply because their boss isn't sure what to expect as far as a new intern's abilities go. In fact, I know someone whose boss was amazed that this person had alphabetized CDs correctly because previous interns hadn't been able to handle that (true story).  This may be frustrating, but it does mean you get more than just 30 seconds to make a good "first" impression. We'll be going over each "first" in the coming days to help you make the most of each time period and opportunity, but for now we're starting with the first five minutes.

First Five Minutes
This truly is that "first impression" you automatically think of when you hear the phrase. This is all about how you dress, greet people, walk, and talk. It isn't about showing off your skills or dedication just yet (though that is important later). Right now, it is about showing that you are capable of being mature, friendly, professional, and put-together. You want to leave the impression that you are someone who can be trusted and someone who knows how to handle themselves in a business environment.

Dress
You should dress somewhat formally on your first day, even if you know the office will be full of jeans and t-shirts, to convey your professionalism and the respect you have for the company and opportunity. You do not necessarily need a suit in a casual environment but business casual is usually a good choice. For women: a nice blouse, dress pants, professional-looking hair and makeup, and flats are heels are appropriate. For men: loafers of similar shoes, black socks, dress pants, and a dress shirt or polo is a good option.

Presentation
Stand talk and try to carry yourself with confidence. This is definitely easier said than done when you are understandable nervous, but remember that if you got the internship they saw something great in you. They picked you out of all of their applicants for a reason so you have no reason to worry. Just don't forget to smile.

Introductions

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