[Editors Note: The following is an installment in our series of a partnership between TuneCore and students at Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University. In an attempt to offer new insight and educational content for independent artists, we’re excited to give these music industry professionals of the future a journalistic platform.]
Resources found on college campuses can be key resources for a student’s ability to break into the music industry. One major campus resource is the professors. Industry professionals love to give back. For example, many of them go back to their alma maters, or schools like Belmont University, where they know they can connect with students to help them break into the industry. They’re not only teaching the set curriculum, but also telling their stories to give their students insight about their time in the industry, giving advice that they learned from their personal successes and failures.
University clubs and organizations are another key resource on any college campus. They provide the opportunity to connect with other students that are interested in pursuing music as well. Collaborating with other students is one of the easiest, and often cheapest, ways to find new music and production opportunities on campus. You might find someone to track an instrument that you don’t know how to play or someone who is a whiz at Pro Tools by becoming involved in music related organizations. Networking with people with various music related skills can provide you with incredibly useful tools to have in your back pocket.
You never know where you can find opportunities in the creative field whether it be performance, audio engineering, or production. For example, if you are interested in live sound there are plenty of opportunities at your school’s sporting events. Usually the best route to getting the gig is a potential professor who may already be involved. Production could incorporate things such as the load in/load out of assemblies, sporting events, and, if your school promotes it, live concerts. Even the drama department needs people to handle these hands-on production jobs. Simply put, it can’t hurt to branch out department wise when looking for instructors to guide you. Audio engineering may be harder to obtain resources in depending on the school. Most of the time people go to a school that specializes in this field. If your school does not, don’t be afraid to ask around. You never know what your professors and classmates do in their spare time until you ask.
Basically, professors will be your number one resource despite whatever bias you may have acquired prior to attending the school because, often times, they are active in the fields in which they teach. This isn’t high school. We’re dealing with professionals!
Utilizing Other Majors on Campus
It’s great to utilize talents of other students from various departments on your campus. An example of this would be connecting with the other students. For example, maybe your school has a Film and Media program – tap these students as a resource for video promos, music videos, and electronic press kits. You can also reach out to students who major in PR and Communications, as they might know how to help promote your shows. Maybe there is a Law program on your campus. Become friends with some law students because you are going to need a lawyer at some point in the future. Don’t forget about the Art program! These students can help you design gig posters, websites, and even merchandise. And if there’s a Photography program, perhaps these students can help you with your next photo shoot.
It seems obvious, but it is essential to connect with students from the music and audio programs if these are offered at your school. If you are looking to build a band, find great musicians. Your school is the perfect place to do this! Even if there’s no music program, it is very likely that there are students that like to use music as an emotional outlet just like you. Definitely reach out to audio engineering students if your school offers it. They need to record musicians for school projects. Offer up your services so that you can record at a studio for free.
Always organically grow a network through the connections your school already provides. Each of these students are eager to build their portfolios and show off their work, so they will most likely do the work cheaper than a professional, but can still provide great quality.
Ways to Find Others On Campus and in the Community
As a student who is looking to enter the music industry it can seem like an unrealistic task to accomplish your dream, especially when you are busy with classes and are not able to get to know your community. It can also be especially hard to accomplish your dream if you don’t know where to start looking for others who share your aspirations. However, this may be easier to do than you initially thought. If you are highly motivated and passionate to accomplish your dream, you will make the time to meet like-minded people who share the same passions and motivations.
Within every campus and community, you will most likely be able to find some sort of group or club that is in involved in music. Joining these groups or clubs will help you engage and interact with other like-minded and highly motivated people who aspire to become artists or musicians too. Other resources of finding others can be the professors and staff on campus that are involved in the music programs, because they are most likely connected to the music industry in some shape or form which helps with networking.
Music groups and/or music organizations on campus can have a huge influence on future relationships in the music industry. Getting involved in a musical group not only gives students an opportunity to do what they love, but also to meet people who share the same interests. One of the most important things to consider when trying to build a career in the music industry is that creating these relationships and networking is the biggest way to be successful. What students don’t realize is that these relationships can blossom into potential band mates, managers, etc. Trough those relationships new ideas can be shared, inspirations can become creations, and things can take off.
Performance Opportunities on Campus
Performing is an integral part of any young musician’s career. Even with social media and streaming being such a large component of the music industry, nothing connects you to your audience more than being on that stage right in front of them. College is a perfect time to take advantage of the opportunities to practice your craft of live performance.
Regardless of where you go to school, there are bound to be opportunities in the area. Whether it is a music venue, a coffee shop, or a friend’s party, there are countless chances to show off your talent. Say yes to everything and anything. There is no show too small. Every ounce of practice is helpful and will allow you to further your career. Every artist has to start off on a small stage in order to make it to the big time.
Sign up for open mic nights! This is a great way to get practice and exposure in a setting that is more laid back and casual. People attending these events want to hear new music and you have the new music to give!
Coffee shops are also a good place to perform some of your material and sell some copies of your CD. Do not be afraid to approach a coffee shop owner and inquire about playing an acoustic session. Business owners want people in their shop, so if you can draw a crowd and help them sell a few drinks, they will probably let you perform.