Working in a studio is not just one job; it’s a combination of many jobs with clear recognition at every step. A studio career may look difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are some great tips on building a successful studio career and achieving your music studio goals.
Some may think starting working in a studio means sitting down on a comfy swivel chair side by side with some popular musicians and talking about the art and music business. Well, it wouldn't be inaccurate once you establish your career as a studio musician or a studio music engineer.
You do not have to be a born rockstar or wait until you build up tens and twenty years of working experience as a musician, music producer, or music engineer to fulfill your music studio dreams. Irrespective of age or experience, you can certainly stand a great chance of starting a career in a studio – let us elaborate how!
Build a solid foundation
If you live in a major city, you’re already one step closer to working in a studio than anyone who isn't. Regardless if you do or don't, you need to find a way to work your skills and personality in your favor at the right time.
Although a formal music education is not mandatory, having any type of music education definitely won’t hurt when trying to make it as a music creator. A good way to do it is by studying for a diploma in music, which will increase your chances to a greater extent in terms of academic qualifications. You can then keep studying higher and increase your qualifications.
Start following your favorite bands and artists, familiarize yourself with their work, and attend their gigs. Try to create an opportunity to show an interest in working with them or even just contact them to ask them relevant questions. You can also look for organizations to aid music groups and concerts. You can join them as an intern or even a volunteer. Build your profile through hard and smart work and make yourself someone that the organization members depend on. Work long hours without a word of complaint and show them how passionate you are about music and that you deserve to be a part of it. This way, you can create yourself a platform to get into the music industry faster.
Social media is a big part of the new generation celebrity culture today. Having a strong presence on social media may open up amazing paths to set your career. If you believe you’ve got what it takes to be a well-known vlogger or social media personality, give it a go. Whatever you do on a daily basis, make yourself some time to get involved in music and music production to enhance your knowledge and learn something new. The technology develops and improves every passing day and it’s vital to keep yourself updated.
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Be realistic and start making tea
You need to learn how to make tea and be pretty dang good at it! Yep, I meant what I just said. If you expect high respect and high pay as a start, you are wasting your time thinking about joining the music studios. As a beginner, you may have to work extra-long hours, completely free of charge, and it has to be without a word of complaint. And if you are fortunate and they love your tea, you'd be spending most of those hours making tea for the team and guests. But unlike any other tea you’d make in your life, this tea can take you to greater places career-wise.
Making tea symbolizes that you’d need to start from scratch or from the bottom, cause most literally almost all music studio members start their career in studios as helpers and tea boys/girls running errands for others lunches and sandwiches. Your patience will be tested, your qualifications may not be respected yet, and your opinions wouldn't be accepted right away, and that's completely normal! Give it some time, impress the team and utilize this time to create stability and to learn new things by observing.
Be humble and open to opportunities
Be a people person! Be courteous, curious, polite, and friendly. By being simple and humble, you will not only win your boss’ hearts, but you are also winning a stable place in the studio career.
Most importantly, take all the jobs being offered to you. Many bands will love some free help in studios or recording live gigs, etc. Grab any opportunity that comes your way, build a good reputation and add them to your portfolio of recorded work. This is also a fantastic way to get closer to already established musicians in the market and get some priceless practical experience. If people start loving you, that itself is a skill, and you stand better chances to last longer in your studio career.
Talk less and listen more
Listening more than you talk is going to be a great piece of advice for anyone starting a career in the music industry. You will be working with experienced people, and listening more will allow you to learn more about the studio-related work. In some instances, you may feel your skills and knowledge are better than those on the seats, and the time to put your opinion on the table will come, but that is not as a beginner.
Learn, learn, learn
Grab every opportunity to learn about the equipment, technology, and acoustics of the room in which the recording takes place. Learn the gear better and their technicalities. Why not also learn the most common gear troubleshooting, such as how to repair equipment and instruments or how to restring guitars as well. The more areas you are skilled in, the more useful you’d be for them. In general, put ample time learning overall as much as you can.
It’s not just what you know, it’s also who you know
Be proactive and work with as many artists as you can. Start with friends and family to start building your track record. Any work that is studio-related is a rare opportunity to break in. Be persistent and flexible to go out, meet new people, and introduce yourself. Keep your PR in check and be known among people.
Keep an open mind, don’t let any opportunity pass you, and most importantly: don’t get distracted. The music industry is not just a single career or organization. Music works closely with many other industries, for instance, the gaming industry. Widen your search and find your best spot to enter the music studio-based work. Any path leading to the music industry can be your golden ticket to a studio career.
Stand out from the crowd
Studio career choices are uncountable. Many musicians and engineers with music literacy also know about DAW systems, editing, mixing, creating music, and recording-related tasks. As a plus point, you can learn how to fix studio gear and equipment, building websites, maintaining social media accounts, graphic basics, and general DIY things; that might be even more in demand at your local recording studio. Studios love those who are aspiring to be music producers but are well equipped with handy dandy technical knowledge and who do not hesitate to get their hands dirty. It may sound backward, but that is actually called “standing out from the crowd.”
A studio career is a competition, and the more chances you get to stand out, the more likely it is that you'll achieve what you desire to.
Caroline Nguyen is the co-founder of Sixstringtips. After more than a decade of teaching music, Caroline knows a thing or two about it and aims to share that knowledge through her work at Sixstringtips.
Are you an aspiring music creator and want to know more about how we work with artists? Check out our Artist Page.