Sylvie Simhon shares how she gracefully made the transition from student to professional.
My transition from student to professional was a smooth one, thankfully. Having heard horror stories of post-graduate unemployment, I started preparing for my professional life my second year at Berklee. In the spring and summer of ’09 I participated in the Los Angeles Internship Program. I interned at Immediate Music (a trailer music company) and at Playtone’s music department (Tom Hanks’ production company). With all the knowledge and experience I gained during that time, I returned to Boston, anxiously awaiting my graduation. I had fallen in love with L.A, and was confident that my post-graduate life would be there, so I did my best to keep in touch with everyone I had met during my internships.
When my last semester finally arrived, I planned a weeklong trip to L.A, where I scheduled interviews and casual “meet and greets” with a few people in the industry. (Some of my teachers were very helpful in putting me in contact with people they knew.) Even though at the time no one was hiring, I still thought it would be a good idea to meet with as many people as possible. Just in case something came up in the near future. A couple of weeks later I got a call from Heavy Hitters Music, offering me a music publishing internship. Even though publishing wasn’t my “thing”, I took it. I figured I’d be able to gain experience in the field, while still having time to work on freelance projects and my own music.
I worked there for 3 months, before another opportunity presented itself and I moved on. I built great relationships and got to see the ins and outs of a music catalogue. I listened to the kinds of songs that get TV placements, and learned what I should be doing as a songwriter in order to get there.
I had been keeping an eye out for “real jobs” which meant sending my resume out everywhere. Composer Jeff Russo was in need of an intern for pilot season and contacted me. I took the part-time unpaid position, with a gut feeling that it would lead to something…
Watch for out Sylvie’s next post to find out what her unpaid internship with Composer Jeff Russo led to!
Sylvie’s Tips for a Smooth Transition:
- Intern, intern, intern!! (Preferably before you graduate)
- If you’re close with a teacher who can introduce you to someone, don’t be shy to ask! They’re often happy to do it if they think you’re qualified.
- Read “Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed” – H. Anthony Medley. It’ll prepare you for interviews and the job-hunting process in general.
- Don’t get discouraged if you’re not “doing your thing” right away. Any experience in the industry is valuable. You never know what you might learn.
Sylvie Simhon is a Composer/Songwriter/Music Editor based in Los Angeles. She writes custom songs and jingles through www.sylviesongs.com and is currently working as Jeff Russo’s assistant on the upcoming ABC show, Charlie’s Angels. Visit www.sylviesimhon.com for the full scoop.
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