If I had advice for my sixteen-year-old self it’d be this: Stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer- you’ll be a millionaire in a couple of years.
No really, I would tell her the power of having confidence in herself. For her, it was a constant need to mix well with everyone. What are their wants? What are their needs? Never taking a second for herself in fear that it would displease others, I can think of distinct moments where I would freeze up mid-sentence just because I thought I would sound stupid. The older I got the more I realized that unless I wanted my back to become a carpet permanently I would need to pamper and understand myself more fundamentally. What are my wants? What are my needs?
So since the clock is only moving forward, how about instead of giving some advice to a sixteen-year-old me, I give it to you? Cool? Cool.
Remember That You’re Learning
You don’t need to be a prodigy or have a doctorate to be considered smart. Surprised? Probably not, it is perfectly normal to be clueless when you start out on a new passion or career. That could be learning a new instrument, crafting, even learning how to solder. If you have aspirations to work in a recording studio, for instance, you don’t need to do every job. Monitoring engineers, audio technicians, booking, event planners – they all have a role to play. In larger settings some studios have people just to tune the instruments, someone, only to track, and someone only to mix. Smaller settings may have people doubling up jobs, so the tracking engineer might also be the mix or master engineer for that studio. Learning is always power in any setting, and while you don’t need to do every job it can help to not pigeonhole yourself into only one thing you can do. For our studio example, say you get hired on for mastering tracks for commercial use. If the person tracking a session cancels at the last minute or is running significantly late and you know how to track, not only does it make your wallet happy but you distinguish yourself as an asset. You show how valuable you are and if the client hits it off with you they may go on to recommend you to other studios and projects.
In short, you don’t need to do everything, but by learning how things line up and work together you will be able to expand yourself and only develop in your career or hobby. Remember that you are learning, and learning different and innovative ways to do things is one way to set up success for yourself down the line.
It Isn’t Weak To Ask For Help
The stigma around asking for help is ridiculous. Saying you need help doesn’t mean you are not valuable, tying into the learning part, you are still learning. You don’t need to know how to do everything, if you need something ask for help.
Trust me, I understand the human factor of this. Here you are getting a chance to go after your dreams, you’re in a room with tons of professionals with likely high-end names in their portfolios. Say, move, do anything and that’s it! It can be mind-numbing, anxiety-inducing, all, and any other
synonyms to describe how terrifying it can be. I want to say this next part with love, not asking for help when you’re stuck should be more terrifying. The last thing a professional producer, engineer, or showrunner will want is you slowing down a production. If you don’t know a key cut in the DAW that the studio has, ask. It will not only help the production of what you are doing go smoothly but you also learn how to do it.
If you risk not asking you might leave a bad impression (the thing you tried to avoid) because you could patch a signal wrong, not cue the light at the moment needed in a live production, fry a wire, etc. Assume anything and everything can go wrong if you don’t know something, it could save your employer time and money.
The global music industry is over twenty-one billion US dollars. Anyone that says working in the music industry is not a financially smart idea simply does not understand the huge caliber of this number. I know many friends from high school and a couple from college that loved to do music but kept being told no due to family or financial scares. So some of them went on to become teachers, one went on to work as a bank teller and that was that. In a “normal” job most retire the day they turn 62, in the music industry established artists and mixers don’t retire unless by choice or health concerns. So it makes sense that finding a job in this field can be daunting to say the least, but that’s okay. What makes you different from everyone going after the title of Madonna or the next DJ Khaled is that you are willing to put in the work.
Trust me, you are worth it. The moment you start to see that these intimating numbers and faces are just people that put in as much as you are now, that is the moment you understand confidence. Confidence is knowing that everyone is subject to human error and success. It means you are capable and value yourself and your capabilities.
Have the drive, the rest will steer itself.