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fuchs audio

Mike Cavalli: Final Reflections, Part II

Berklee Blogs hears final thoughts from Mike Cavalli as he finishes his internship at Fuchs Audio Technology, a boutique audio equipment company. In today’s blog, Mike follows up on Part I of his post, telling us what it was like working at Fuchs and the lessons he took away from the experience

The first day at Fuchs Audio was nothing like I could imagine. I discovered the company during my freshman year at Berklee through a family friend of my Dad. Additionally, I had an opportunity to talk to Harvey Leeds of Headquarters Media, a Live Nation consulting company and compared both situations to figure out which environment would best suit me. Having done only odd jobs and outdoor work, I was never meant to sit at a desk in front of a computer all day. I don’t mind the idea of it, considering air conditioning is usually involved. However, my idea of pleasant workday involves creativity to accomplish a task and working with artists and luthiers of similar beliefs. The idea of custom building guitar cabinets has been something that I aspire to do. Having minimal experience in this field, what better way to learn something particular to me and receive credits at the same time?

Waking up in the morning and going to work is easier when you get to walk into a room, stocked wall to wall, with custom amps and framed press releases. Most would say its like a little piece of heaven. However, behind the wall of amps is where the real “day to day” work gets done- with mountains of amplifiers and boxes getting ready to be loaded with speakers and shipped. With a lot to do on a daily basis, my first day as an intern consisted of  soldering reverb cards for one of their top-selling amps, the Fuchs ODS 50. I had never soldered a thing in my life nor did I understand what it was that I was soldering. Nevertheless, I got my new spot at the bench, ready for chaos, and began loading the boards with resistors and capacitors, and soldered away.

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Mike Cavalli: Final Reflections, Part I

Berklee Blogs hears final thoughts from Mike Cavalli as he finishes his internship at Fuchs Audio Technology, a boutique audio equipment company. In today’s blog, Mike tells us about his foundation at Berklee and how it led him to music business and his internship at Fuchs.

As college students, we spend our days preparing for the moment we are offered an opportunity to thrive in the real world.  Fortunately for me, I managed to get in touch with a great business close to home and with little stress, I had created an opportunity to get involved with a thriving part of the music industry. After much thought about my life as a musician and my involvement at Berklee, I came to the conclusion that interning at Fuchs Audio would be the best place to learn how to successfully start a business from scratch. At Fuchs Audio, owners Andy and Annette are responsible for supplying the world with some of the most proper boutique guitar amplifiers, pedals and modifications. I jumped on board during some of their busiest times and was given the chance to do more than I ever thought an internship would allow.

Growing up with so many different musicians, I always wanted to get involved and bond musically with all different styles. That moment, when nothing else matters, is when a group of people can lock in and create perpetual art. Those moments were the only thing I lived for. Driven by a natural inhibition and a need to become involved, I learned to play not only drums, but developed a decent technique and understanding of bass, guitar, and piano as well as audio production and engineering. Whether someone needed a demo recorded for shows or a bass player for the high school funk band, I was always the “go-to guy”, purely for the experience. My infatuation with playing music superseded everything else in my life and I knew I had to find a way to become part of Berklee.

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Mike Cavalli: All or Nothing

Berklee Blogs checks in with Mike Cavalli as he settles into his internship at Fuchs Audio Technology, a boutique audio equipment company.

With two more weeks remaining, I feel like the semester flew by too quickly. After all, three months is not enough time grasp every concept of running a business- but it is a great way to become familiar and experience many situations. Even if I am not offered a job, the relationship I created with Fuchs will help me continue to pursue a career in music products. Although my main objective is to secure a full time job, I would not mind taking the time to focus on music and touring. After so many years of putting off bands for school and managing, I feel I owe it to myself to take another stab at turning my dream of playing into a full time gig.  Easier said than done, but you only live once.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in life and we always have to risk so much to achieve our goals. But to me, life is all about having an “all or nothing” mentality. The real world consists of big goals with minimal time to tackle them. Consequences of handing in an essay or project in late do not have the same effect as putting a delay on a product launch and not meeting a deadline. Small businesses struggle enough already with showing profits and budgeting effectively. In order to maintain a stable flow of income, the atmosphere is pure chaos on a daily basis and you have to be prepared to handle it while accomplishing tasks. While asking a company to invest money and time into new workers is a big expense in the short-term, you have to show that you are able to earn the company much more later on. So whatever you do, don’t be a lemon!

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Internships: Create Your Worth

We tend to think of internships ending in a full-time job offer as something that either will or wont happen, depending on the employer’s finances and the intern’s job performance. That’s largely true, but how should an intern think about this equation?

A few weeks ago, I was reading a blog post submitted by one of our interns, Mike Cavalli. Mike is currently in the process of interning at Fuchs Audio Technology, a boutique audio equipment company and he’s pretty keen to turn it into a full time job. He’s working double-time to show his value and make that happen.

Frankly, it’s impossible to say whether that will happen or not. I, nor Mike, can jump into Fuch’s financial records and know if they’ve got the cash to hire a full-time employee. I also assume that Mike is doing a five-star job there, but again, I’m taking his word for it. When you intern, there’s just no guarantee your internship will turn into a job. Most don’t, and it’s largely dependent upon the company’s need and ability to hire you, your performance, interpersonal dynamics, etc. You shouldn’t assume to land a full-time job unless you’ve got some pretty clear indicators it’s going to head that way. But Mike’s got a very important mental concept in his mind to give himself the best shot at his goal.

If you read his post, you’ll quickly see that Mike understands that his value as an intern (and potential employee) is not static- it’s not a fixed quantity. Mike understands that his value as a worker, in the mind of his supervisor, is partly within his control. Mike gets that Fuchs may not have the cash to hire him full time. Instead of seeing his internship as something that probably won’t pay out, just a quick stop on the way to bigger and better things, Mike is asking himself, “How can I, as an intern, help this company grow to the point where not only can they afford to hire me, but can’t see themselves growing without me.

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Mike Cavalli: Nearing the Finish Line

Berklee Blogs checks in with Mike Cavalli as he settles into his internship at Fuchs Audio Technology, a boutique audio equipment company

Right when I feel like I have become a regular at the company, the semester is starting to come to an end. What felt like forever is now going to be my 3rd month working at Fuchs Audio and already I can feel the anxiety building up as to whether or not I will become a member of the Fuchs family. With that said, I have to make sure I stay focused, take a shorter lunch break and really enjoy the moments to come.

A particular situation I will remember is having the opportunity to set up a drum kit and re-organize the Fuchs showcase room. This area, filled wall to wall with amps and awards, is the first thing you see when walking into the shop. Talk about making a first impression. The same place many artists, such as Al DiMeola and Jimmy Herring would hang out and talk about life and music with owner Andy is now a place for other artists and staff to play music. This introduces a whole new way to entice current and prospective players to come into the shop and test the product in a live music environment. Who knows what amazing drummer is going to play the same kit I revived out of parts in the corner of the shop. Regardless, I was able to leave behind a piece of what I do musically and hopefully Andy will appreciate the new look when he returns from Soundcheck in Nashville.

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