Here is something to keep in mind when looking for a job in the music industry: When you first start to work in the music field, you generally will end up getting a gig (or job) that you feel you are not 100% qualified for. It is also important to note, whenever you are looking for music jobs, that you might feel unqualified based on the written job description. Do not let this discourage you from applying for great opportunities. Keep this in mind: If you are a college graduate, industry experts around the world are more likely to hire you because they understand that you can complete long term goals, learn new subjects, exercise patience, show up on time, do things even when you really don't want to, receive instruction in a professional manner, etc. It is also important to note that you should not have anxiety about starting a new job because, once you start a job, you will gain the experience and skills you need to actually be qualified for that job. You will also learn new knowledge and technical skills which will further build your marketable skill-sets. This is why you should apply for any job that you are interested in (New employers know that your college education is worth it and that you will probably do an acceptable job and do what it takes to learn your craft).
Important Fact: Every musician should strive to gain protools and finale experience, show "production" experience, and have a general knowledge of microphones and mixing board. The simplest of functionality on these platforms is highly valued and highly requested in any music arena. Having these skills will ultimately allow you to write and record your own music at your home and therefore save you time and money during your career.
Good luck finding a job that looks exciting! (Cruises, Recording Studios, TV Stations, Radio Stations, Production, Musical Director, Talent Scout, Artist Manager, Stage Assistant, Recording Engineer, etc).
NOTE: This is where I found the Snow College Director of Jazz Studies position!
By Peter Spellman, Director of the Career Development Center, Berklee College of Music
This article is from his new book, Indie Marketing Power: The Guide for Maximizing Your Music Marketing.
Music is too big a world for a one-size-fits-all model of music career success. Musicians' career paths are as unique as their individual fingerprints. Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines that I believe apply to anyone trying to make a living career out of their love of music. Here are five:
Hone your talent and realize there is a place for you. Not everyone is a Quincy Jones, a Beatles, or a Bruce Springsteen, but if an artist like Tom Waits is a vocalist, then there is definitely room for you too. Do the work necessary to excel in your niche, whether it's writing a chart, engineering a session, providing backup vocals, or teaching kids the basics of music.
Your goal, to use marketing lingo, is to "position" yourself in your "market" as the go-to person for that particular skill or talent. Don't worry too much about industry rejection. Every record label in Britain initially passed on the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The key is believing in yourself and persevering beyond others' opinions (even those of "the industry").
Connect with as many people as you can because relationships drive music careers more that anything else, even talent. Music is a "who-you-know/who-knows-you" kind of business. The quality and quantity of your relationships will be the primary engines of your progress. Try developing creative projects with fellow-musicians. Perhaps you can combine your live show with two other acts and present the package to a local promoter. There is strength in numbers. Finding the right combinations takes experimentation.
If you're interested in working in the business side of music, then interning at a music company is the best way to both learn how the biz works and connect with those who can help move your career along.
Accept the new powers in your corner and take responsibility for creating your own success. The last twenty years has given you the means to both produce and distribute your own music on a global scale. New models of business are emerging in the world of music. A "record deal" is not necessarily the goal any longer. The Internet has clearly become your "open mic" to the world, and desktop technologies provide you with ways to have the look, reach and efficiency of larger companies. Dare to be different.
Remember, new power also means new responsibilities. Global reach means a potentially far-flung audience. You need to be ready for the incoming messages and questions from this new market. Have you created the best business structures to hold and express your work? Are you setting up effective systems to communicate with your audience? It's up to you to create your own success and not merely rely on a record company or agent to do the work of making you visible in the marketplace.
Understand that every business is becoming a "music business" and so musical opportunities are multiplying. It took a coffee company and a computer manufacturer to teach the music industry how to sell music in the digital age! Non-music businesses everywhere are seeking creative ways to add music-related services to their mix. This means that you needn't be dependent on the traditional "music industrial complex" for music career success.
Think of companies you already resonate with and try brainstorming ways you can link up. Start on a local scale. It might be a gift shop, bookstore or arts organization. It may even evolve into a full-fledged sponsorship for a tour or recording project. Find ways to add value to what these businesses are doing with what you have to offer. Forging creative alliances is key to building a multi-dimensional music career.
Prepare to be versatile and to wear several hats initially, until your "brand" is established. Most musicians I know have had to cobble together several revenue streams in the early stages of their careers in order to make enough money to support themselves. Many have also had to take on a non-music "lifeline careers" just to make ends meet, pay down debt, or supplement what they earn from music.
I tell musicians to not so much look for "a job," but to seek out the work that needs to be done. It might be arranging a song, playing a wedding gig, helping organize a concert series, doing a jingle session, offering private music instruction, or writing a review of your favorite band's new CD. Eventually, all the different experiences merge together into the roaring river that will be your music career. At that point you'll be visible, in demand and able to name your price. And that's career success.
Peter Spellman is Director of the Career Development Center at Berklee College of Music, Boston.