January 08, 2013

Create Your Own Opportunities

If I could tell Intern Like A Rockstar readers one thing, it would be that you can't rely on anyone to make your dream happen but you. Enrolling in a music business or recording program alone often isn't enough, and while your school may do its best to create opportunities for you, your success is ultimately in your own hands.

What I've found is that many people think that specialized programs and official internships are the only ways to gain experience and eventually land a job. Both are great and will put you on the right path, but there are other roads you can take if, for whatever reason, those don't work out. This is the music industry! Think outside the system. Create your own opportunities.

If you do not qualify for the internship programs of companies in your area, or are just unable to find an internship, take some initiative. Read all you can on whatever area you wish to go into, and then offer to help musicians or others in the music industry for free. Want to go into marketing? Read some marketing blogs, pick up a few books at the library, and ask your friends' bands if they want someone to run their Twitter account. Want to be a recording engineer? Read up on recording equipment and microphone placement. Then borrow or buy some bare bones equipment and ask your singer-songwriter cousin if you can record her in your bedroom. It might not be the best quality (let's be honest: it will be terrible), but you're going to learn something. And the next time, you will be that much more experienced.

Keep in mind, however, that there are some limitations to what you can do on your own. Attempting to modify your brother's electric guitar without knowing what you are doing might be a bad idea, especially if he expects it to be able to play it afterwards. Likewise, advising your DJ sister on copyright issues when you are not a licensed attorney could have serious consequences

These types of experiences are great jumping off points to land a traditional internship -- or even maybe a job. They will make you more confident during your interview and give you relevant stories to share about when you learned something or solved a problem. Any type of hands-on experience will give you an edge over the other applicants with none, and some employers may find your entrepreneurial spirit to be a huge plus.

- Lauren
lauren@internlikearockstar.com | Twitter: @Musicn3rd
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