So you think you want to work in the music industry?
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So you want to see the world from the window of a bus?
So you think you want to work in the music industry? You think its all big parties and lots of fun and being wasted all the time? Sex drugs and rock and roll baby! If that is what you are looking for then you will be disappointed. However, if you legitimately want to work in the industry then this article just might give you some in-site on how to do it.
The best advice I can give you is GO TO SCHOOL!!! Finish high school then go to college or a technical school. You need to have something to fall back on or to pay the bills with till you get your foot in the door. No on will ever make fun of you for having a degree. I hold a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science. I have been on the road with people who have Degrees in Engineering, Archeology, Art, Education, and ever Pharmacy. Plus a degree or extended technical training shows your not some dumb ass just trying to get some autographs and party with the band. I can't stress this point enough! Get and education! I have been in this industry for years and sometimes there is no work so I have to go get a job. You would also be surprised how educated the bands are today.
If you know or have an idea what you want to do then start doing it. Go to shows in your area. Talk to the bands. Talk to the clubs. If you want to run a sound board start talking to people. If you want to be a Tech start talking to the people in the local bands. Everyone always appreciates FREE help. Yes I said FREE. You get to know the people and help lug cases or what ever you can and maybe they will start showing you some things or teaching you some stuff on the board. You have to cut your teeth somewhere. You help out enough people long enough and eventually some one will say " hey we are doing this show and need some one to sling our tee's" or " Hey we are playing this gig and we don't like the sound we got the last time we played there..." No one is going to pay you for this but you will get into the shows for free and you might even get some free Ts out of it or get to meet some famous bands.
Being there all the time and helping out the bands or clubs like that will get you noticed. Eventually a club Will say 'hey you're here all the time would you like to sweep the floors after the shows and we will give you $30'. Or a band will say 'hey we are going on a van tour for a week would you like to help drive/sell merch for us, we can't pay you anything but we will pay for your food.' if your serious about working in this industry your answer to either of these questions should be YES!!!!! I WOULD LOVE TO! You never know who will be the next Metallica or the next Tour Manager looking for reliable professional help. My first gig was a two week east coast tour doing merch and driving. I was payed nothing for it. If I was lucky and sold a lot of merch I would get some free burger king.
You can also go to a technical school like Full-sail or an Art Institute. Schools like these provide you excellent training if you want to be a sound guy or a lighting guy or back line or any of the more technical jobs in touring. Before you spend the big money on these schools be prepared to work hard. If you go this route remember all the technical training in the world only gets you so far. While in school continue to do the things i mentioned above.
When you finally get an opportunity to hit the road take it. Its not going to pay much but everyone has to start some where. The first gig I got paid for was on a summer festival tour and I was paid $35 a show. That was just 6 years ago! But i jumped on the chance and it was the best thing I ever did. With that first gig i made contacts which have kept me employed in the industry for a large part of the last 3 years. Once you get that gig bust your ass! your not only trying to get these people to hire you again but you want other bands and crew to see your professionalism and work ethic. Bands are always taking crew from other bands.
This is not going to happen overnight if it even happens at all. You must work hard be professional and be friendly. I have been in the industry in one aspect or another for almost 10 years. i still have to get regular jobs once in a while. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to get in the industry and stay in the industry. You have to be driven! I hope this article helps some of you out there in the land of the Internet. I will be writing more articles on touring and the industry shortly so stay tuned. If you have a questions feel free to ask and I will try to address them.
Until next time safe travels!
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