When thinking about a specific field of work, it can be easy to generalize the personalities of those who have decided to pursue particular careers. For example, you might associate doctors with being highly educated and perseverant. With construction workers on the other hand, you probably imagine a tough and hardworking individual. The same goes with careers in the music industry. In order to be a part of something as special and entertaining as the music industry, your character must show similarities to those who have already paved a way for themselves in the world of music.
According to Geoff Sanoff, who’s now a head audio engineer of Stratosphere Sound in New York City, “a good intern should have a sense of humor, a willingness to work hard, a love of music or real interest in learning the work at hand and an awareness of what their ‘place’ is in the studio environment.” Sandoff was once in a similar position, first interning at Sony music and later being hired.
Aside from the ordinary tasks that are assigned to an intern at a recording studio, Sanoff points out the ones that might be considered unorthodox. “Basically, in major studios [like these], with multi-million dollar facilities, interns are a way to avoid hiring janitorial and cleaning services,” Sanoff exclaims. This is indeed a fact, and from personal experience, the higher-ups in the music industry are almost always able to provide a story from their beginning stages in the industry, sharing some sort of relation to cleaning and janitorial-like services on top of their original tasks. That said, it’s important to work faithfully in whatever tasks you are assigned in an internship, absorbing as much information as you can along the way, making yourself memorable even in the small tasks, and taking initiative in every opportunity presented to you.
Mind of a Sponge
The mind of an intern at a recording studio should be comparable to a sponge: absorbent and willing to learn more. According to an anonymous studio manager of Dark Horse Recording, impressing a potential employer doesn’t come from previously built knowledge or experience, but humbling yourself by showing that you’re willing to learn more than what you already know. To summarize, that means you need to be doing more than you are asked to do, with no exceptions. Running out of things to do? Ask for more tasks, even if they weren’t originally assigned to you. If there’s nothing else assigned to you after that, use that time to learn and get familiar with gear if accessible. You can always learn more, and the music industry employers will inevitably notice your work ethic, ultimately setting you apart from the rest of the pack.
One noticeable trend that’s become evident in the hiring process for music-related interns is their character and how they present themselves as individuals. Making a good first impression is key when it comes to constructing bonds, and this is an even higher priority among the higher-ups in the music industry. With this being a highly competitive field of play, you must make yourself memorable to your peers. When analyzing artists and others associated in the music industry, it’s clear that there are common characteristics among those who have found success. Successful artists exude confidence in their craft, as well as a somewhat bubbly and inviting personality. It’s important to replicate similar qualities when approaching opportunities in the music industry.
Mat Leffler-Schulman of Mobtown Studios emphasizes the importance of this, stating that you must become an asset to the company, therefore making yourself indispensable. The work that you put in is going to determine whether or not you receive an opportunity in the first place, but having a personality that compliments your work ethic will give you an undeniable advantage over your competitors.
Initiative and Drive
Speaking of first impressions, Xander Murphy of Full Circle Music has an abundance of experience when it comes to choosing potential interns. He states, “When looking at the resumes of potential interns, I want to feel a sense of initiative and drive in them.” This means they seek out opportunities to work with artists who have already established a name for themselves in the music industry, and have connections they have previously made that they are using to continue to try to find doors to walk through.
Xander both looks for this way of thinking and embodies it, as he’s had the opportunity to work with credible figures in hip-hop, including Megan Thee Stallion and Yo Gotti. He proves that anything is possible when your mind is focused enough on accomplishing its envisioned goals. A potential employer can sense when an applicant is motivated and determined, similarly to how sharks can sense the potency of blood. If you can’t differentiate yourself from your opposition, you’ll get eaten alive by the higher-ups in the industry without receiving an opportunity to begin with.
Career opportunities and internships associated with the music industry are undeniably one of the most unique hiring processes imaginable. Unlike other careers, going to school and getting a degree doesn’t guarantee you job opportunities the way they do in other fields. It’s almost as if your personality and independently-achieved credentials determine whether or not you should earn a place in the music industry. It’s evident that there’s a trend when it comes to hiring interns in a recording studio setting, formulated around personality as well as work ethic.
The opportunity to work in a recording studio can be life-changing if taken advantage of, but it starts with you as an individual. Having a prestigious work ethic is enough for a company to contemplate taking a chance on you, but if your personality compliments your work ethic and radiates positivity with a willingness to learn, you’ll be considered a hit to your potential music industry employers.