Last winter I made the reasonable college junior decision to start applying for summer internships. Last spring I was ignored and rejected, a lot. Last summer I moved to New York City on a whim.
I took an unpaid internship at a mid-tier music production company. Now for those of us who do not know all the technical terms, unpaid internships are ethically questionable at best. When people are terrified of not having an income, they will work for a recommendation, a line in a résumé, even Trident Layers.
As a person pursuing music professionally you may be wondering, “How is he going to panhandle enough change to fight the impending harshness of winter?” and I respond with Theodore Roosevelt.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty,” said Roosevelt in Des Moines, Iowa in 1910. “I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
So in true Teddy Roosevelt, pick yourself up by your bootstraps fashion, I quit after 3 weeks. The cold-blooded competitive world of the popular music industry had left me defeated. It was either that or the K-pop. I immediately set my sights on new horizons and got lucky.
After countless online applications and a record low brought on by an Olive Garden job application rejection, I get a call from Looplabs.
Looplabs is a new website for creating music. It is a small dedicated team of coders and musicians with a lot of ambition and potential. I would like to think that if you had a magic wand to transform humans into complex organizations, my new self would look a little bit like Looplabs. This idea is both ridiculous and imperative.
See, if the mid-tier music production company were a human he would be short, balding, greasy and generally unpleasant. Where you place your time and effort should be a reflection of you and your vocational goals, not Danny DeVito.
Too often today employment relationships are one-sided: The employer sits in his ivory tower and the college students weep. But if you have not already heard, let me be the first to tell you that you are not entitled to like what you do. You can work at company that looks like Danny DeVito your entire life and still be unhappy.
Fortunately I got to work in a place where my ideas were valued, I did not have to marginalize my ethical principles or beliefs, and I felt good about the work I was doing. The goal of Looplabs is to create an online community of music makers, and this made all the difference. The existing paradigm that music is made after years of careful study is holding to not necessarily be true. Creative expression can and should come from everyone, Looplabs is just designing tools to make it easier for people. Caring about and taking an interest in your work is not generally taught in the public school curriculum, so naturally this feeling came as a shock.
I feel an overwhelming desire to share music with the people around me and the Looplabs team shares the sentiment. I began writing the Sounds of Meadville series for the express purpose of letting as many people as possible know about the active musical community at our school. Similarly Looplabs aims to create and foster musical community, but on a larger scale.
Panhandling certainly is not out of the question yet, but for the time being I will be supporting the growth of music and its community at Allegheny.