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Good/Bad Ways to Do Your Music Internship.

04.25.13

A music business internship is a great way to get a footing in the industry, but you get out of it what you put into it. If you have an internship, are you really grabbing every opportunity that comes your way and milking the internship for all it is worth? Here are four big music industry internship mistakes that you could be making. If you see yourself in any of these, now is the time to turn the ship around. If you have an internship coming up this summer, be sure to avoid these behaviors so you can have the great experience your internship is supposed to be.

You’re putting a lot of free labor into your music internship, right? Well, it’s not really a favor. In a music internship, the idea is that you trade your elbow grease for great experience and the connections that can help you land your dream music industry job (or at least your FIRST music industry job). It CAN work out like that, but you also could be blowing it. You’re not, are you? Here are four ways you may be ruining your music internship opportunities – if you see yourself here, change up pronto so you can reap the full rewards.

1. You’re Late

Oh no, you’re not showing up late for music internship, are you? The clock is a test in any internship, and especially in the music industry. Being there on time shows how serious you are – and being late shows exactly how unserious you are. Time management will only help you in your professional life, even if you end up doing something non-music related. Learn how to be on time now – it will make your life easier.

Sure, things happen. If you’re usually on time but find yourself caught in traffic behind the slowest driver in town one day, acknowledge you’re tardy and apologize. If you’re chronically late, adjust your outlook, adjust your watch, apologize to your supervisor, and get there 5 minutes early for the rest of your time.

2. You Don’t Ask Questions

It’s not unusual to feel a little shy at an internship – especially in the beginning. You also may feel a little pressure to hide your inexperience or lack of knowledge. That’s totally normal – and totally wrong. Any music business that takes on interns is doing so with the idea that they are going to help you gain that knowledge and experience. It’s why you’re there. The more questions you ask, the more eagerness you show about learning the business.

Now, I wish I could tell you that all music businesses that take on interns are nurturing and investing in your future. Let’s be honest, a few people are just looking for some free labor. If you’re in an internship where your questions are discouraged, by all means, get out. Find another internship where you are invited to get out of it what you put into it.

3. You Ignore Opportunity

It’s Saturday afternoon. It’s sunny. Your friends are going to the beach. Your internship boss is going to a venue to set up a show for that evening with some big touring acts who are coming through town. Your friends want you to go to the beach with them. Your internship boss offers you a chance to see what really happens on the day of a show, from load-in to close. What do you do?

If you’re at the beach with your friends, you lose. Just because something doesn’t happen during your usual internship hours doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience it. Grab every single opportunity that comes your way. A day with your friends is not more important in any way, shape, or form. Doesn’t matter how tired you are – whatever your excuse is. If you decline opportunities, you come off as not very interested in your internship company or the music business.

4. You Don’t Do Your Work

If you’re assigned a task at your music internship, you need to do it. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it is – until you get assigned something that you don’t know how to do, but you don’t want to say you don’t know how to do it, and now you don’t know what to do – so you do nothing. That’s a bad play. If you get confused about your responsibilities, speak up. If you fall behind on your work, speak up. If you think you’ve made a mistake, speak up. Even pros long on the job get puzzled by a task, get off schedule, and make mistakes. Don’t bury your head. Speak up, and you’ll actually earn some internship bonus points.

 

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