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How to Get a Job Working for a Rock Band
Some people dream of being a rock band's front man, while others guarantee a show's success by working behind the scenes. Whether you see yourself as a band manager, a crew member, or the band publicist, you’ll want to gain and emphasize knowledge, training, and experience in your field of interest. Figure out what you're good at, then line that up with available opportunities. There are a number of ways to get a job working for a rock band but, like getting any other job, it will take persistence, creative thinking, and hard work.
Choosing the Kind of Job You Want
Get to know the live music business.You have to learn everything you can about the live music business before you can even think about how to break into it. Get to know its various aspects. If you’re interested in working for a band, you’ve probably gone to a good amount of shows. Have a conversation with everyone who will talk to you, from the venue tech crew to the band’s production team.
Identify your top skills and goals.What are you good at? Are you business minded, great with numbers and fine print? Are you a technical kind of person, who’s great with the audio and visual stuff? Do you love reaching out to people and telling about them something you’re passionate about? Decide what skills you have that line up with a band’s needs: management, production, and marketing/promotions.
Get the required education.Sometimes jobs in live music require a college degree. Figure out what you want to do, then enroll in classes if a design or business degree is required. Focus on gaining an apprenticeship if your chosen field requires technical training rather than formal education.
Put together a competitive skill set.Even if you’ve earned a degree in communications, lighting design, or other relevant discipline, you’ve got to prove that you can put that education to use. Put together a strong record of experience that shows you’ve got what it takes for a lasting career in the industry.
- At this stage, don’t quit your day job. Internships, apprenticeships, and working for free are part of gaining the experience you need for your first paid gig.
- Treat an unpaid internship or apprenticeship like you’re getting a million dollar salary. Gaining references and a reputation for being a hard worker will be vital in scoring your first job sooner rather than later.
- Some areas require a broad knowledge and skills base, others require highly specialized experience. Use the research you’ve done to decide what sort of training you need.
Create a winning resume.Once you’ve put together a bit of experience, craft a resume that convincingly communicates how great a candidate you are. Research your area of interest to decide which skills you need to highlight. Use your relevant experience to show how you’ve put those skills into action.
Market yourself.Remember that, especially when starting off, fulltime jobs are few and far between in the music industry. As you’re putting together your first gigs as a roadie, promoter, stylist, or whatever your field is, think of yourself as a brand. You have to market your small business: get business cards, a website, and referrals.
- Find emerging talent in your area and demonstrate how you’d be a valuable member of their team: can you improve or repair their sound system? Create a better lighting component? Organize schedules?
Getting a Job in Management
Be a band manager to be the "face" of the band.Gather experience with making both business and creative decisions. Learn about booking and scheduling gigs, landing record deals, as well as marketing and promotions. Highlight how you applied these skills in your application..
- Gain experience reading and understanding music contracts, business communications, negotiating, booking and scheduling, and venue acquisition.
- No formal education is required, although it helps to have a bachelor’s degree or certificate in music/artist management fields.
- If you have any background in communications, dispute resolution, negotiating, and pitching a band’s music is helpful, be sure to emphasize that in your resume or during an interview.
Consider production or stage management for hands-on, behind the scenes jobs.Be able to show that you can lead a group of people achieve a specific goal or complete a project on a deadline. You'll need experience in budgeting, planning, coordinating staff or crew, securing venues, and set design.
- No formal education is required to be a production or stage manager, but a degree or certificate in electronic music production or sound and lighting design would make you a stronger candidate.
- Be sure to communicate any training in working with lighting and sound equipment.
Think about being a tour manager if you can balance all the details.Demonstrate your talent for working with travel agents and venue managers, and for ensuring band members’ safety while traveling. You work with production managers and road crew members, such as sound engineers and lighting technicians, so you've got to be familiar with all the business's aspects. You'll need to build a range of experience across all categories.
- Be sure to emphasize any experience in finance, budgeting, and planning and organizing trips.
- Although higher education is not required, a degree in business management or a music related field is a plus.
- Gaining a working knowledge of sound system equipment and musical instruments is important.
Becoming a Production Crew Member
Consider a job as a sound or audio technician and ensure quality sound.Sound and audio techs deal with the soul of the band: the music itself. Get to know the ins and outs of setting up sound system equipment, speakers, and microphones. Consider apprenticing and freelancing to build this experience, and to gain contacts for referrals.
- When writing your resume and cover letter, emphasize any experience you have in operating sound and audio equipment.
- A degree in production or audio engineering from a college or trade school is a plus; however, being an apprentice of a sound engineer is a way to get your foot in the door.
Become a lighting technician.Consider lighting if you’re interested in creating the look of the show, in terms of the artists on stage as well as the ambiance of the entire venue. Focus on acquiring training and experience handling lighting equipment and operating the lighting board.
- A degree in lighting design from a technical college or trade school is a plus. However, a high school diploma is usually all that’s required.
- Training in lighting and audio/visual technology is required.
Start out as a tour crew member.You can try to get a job working as a tour crew member, often called “roadies.” Focus on finding a band who is seeking touring crew members; word of mouth is key. This is also a great way to build relationships and networks.
Gain experience as a production assistant.Since a production assistant works with essentially everybody involved with the production aspect of the concert performance, it’s a great way to build diverse skills and gain contacts. Search for job openings and inquire by word of mouth to find out about rock bands looking for a production assistant.
- Highlight any experience with audio and visual equipment as well as setting up and breaking down equipment.
- No formal education is required to be a production assistant. However, training or a working knowledge of sound and lighting equipment is important.
Be a band’s stylist if you're interested in crafting a winning "look." If you want to handle the physical appearance of band members, it’s often about who you know. Focus on getting referrals, and contacting people you know with affiliation to a rock band because most stylist positions are filled by word of mouth. Make sure that you have a portfolio of your work. Leave your business card with band managers.
- Be sure to mention your experience with styling hair and outfitting people in the music and entertainment industry.
- You must have a cosmetologist license if you are styling the hair of band members.
Getting a Job in Marketing and Promotions
Become a promoter for the band.Promote the band’s music, concerts, and paraphernalia like T-shirts. Build your people skills to help the band gain fans and even book concerts. Attend music festivals, open mic nights, talent shows, and local band concerts, and network with people in the business.
- Be sure to communicate any experience you have in marketing and promotions.
- No formal education is required to be promoter, but training in event planning is a plus.
Get a job in public relations if you're great at getting the word out.To be a publicist or PR specialist, you’ll need to show how you can craft a favorable perception of the band. Emphasize in your application any experience you have in writing press releases, creating press kits, pitching stories to media contacts, setting up interviews, and coordinating photo shoots.
- You should also highlight any experience and training in marketing, advertising, journalism, and communications.
- An undergraduate degree in journalism, communications, or public relations is usually required.
Go for a social media marketing position.If you have knowledge and experience in social media marketing, you can work as the band’s digital coordinator or social media marketer. Visit music-related websites for bands that can use more exposure on social media.
- Networking at music festival and events, and offering freelance services are good approaches.
- Offer to do some social media or content marketing temporarily or gratis to show them what you can do.
- Demonstrate your ability to brand and market the band across various social media platforms.
QuestionWhat if I just want to be a crew member so I can meet the band members?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour best start is to work for a music venue. I used to work for the 9:30 club in Washington, DC. Through them I worked at "sister" venues Lincoln Theater, Merriweather Post Pavillion, Constitution Hall, etc. You will meet all kinds of people in bands and management, but be prepared to work hard. You won't have a job if you just want to socialize.Thanks!
- For positions that require you to tour with the band, it helps to be fluent in at least one foreign language.
- It can take a long time for a band to have any sort of real success, so you will have to be patient.
- Always regularly follow up with everyone you talk to about a job.
- Transportation and security services can also be ways to get your foot in the door with working for a rock band.
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