How to Succeed at Your Recording Studio Internship

by | Apr 18, 2024

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If you’re like most of the interns that have crossed the burning sands of Bay Eight Studios, your resume might boast certifications from SAE or Full Sail. That education costs money, and oftentimes comes with a hefty debt. As an intern, you earn your keep by being steadfast, a quick study, and most importantly, reliable! Here are some tips to help you succeed at your hard-earned recording studio internship. 

Don’t Offer Your Unsolicited Opinions

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Music making can be a very vulnerable process. You’re watching artists sort through first drafts, voice cracks, bad takes, and whatever emotions the creative process may be bringing up for them. This means that having “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be a major hindrance for artists. Additionally, as an intern, the expectation is that you are there to learn. It’s important that you’re not a distraction to the client’s process. Of course, if you’re asked your opinion, it’s okay to give it. However, clients have likely established a relationship with the engineers you’re learning from, and establishing this trust one-on-one is often necessary before your opinions are welcome. Lastly, remember this applies even if situations where you know more (or think you know more) than the person in charge.

Don’t Drink Or Smoke On the Job

Irregular hours, the creative setting, and informal environment make music studios a nontraditional work environment. Clients around you may be drinking, smoking, and taking videos for the Gram. You may see musicians you’ve only ever seen through a screen right in front of you. Despite all of this, you still need to remain professional, or you’ll be unlikely won’t last long in the industry. It’s best to minimize your phone use while you’re in the studio. You can use a pen and paper for note-taking so no one misconstrues your phone use. You can wear a watch as well, so you’re not constantly checking your phone for the time. Even if clients around you are making themselves at home, you should continue to behave as if you’re at work if you hope to one day make the studio your office.

If you remember nothing else, hold on to this; when in doubt, simply stay out of the way.

Work Hard

Recording studio internships are how one proves themselves worthy of a paid full-time position. Turning down opportunities is counterproductive to your career trajectory. The candidate who makes it a point to say yes to extra work assignments will rise to the top much faster than the candidate whose technical skills are more refined. A head engineer can train a lesser skilled counterpart, and provide them with the knowledge needed to succeed. However, having an ethos of hard work is something you need to walk through the door with. Whenever you can, be willing to take on additional assignments. You can also use the time when things are slow to ask questions, clean around the studio, etc. If you can’t find anything to do, simply ask. Even if there isn’t, your inquiry will likely be appreciated. 

Do No Harm

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If you remember nothing else, hold on to this; when in doubt, simply stay out of the way. It’s easy to overthink being proactive in the studio. While there’s a lot of emphasis placed around taking initiative, this idea can also get you into trouble. You shouldn’t take the “initiative” to assign yourself major tasks, like moving around studio equipment unless you’re asked to. Taking initiative is best reserved for when you’ve been at your internship for at least a few weeks and have a good understanding of the tasks that need to be done regularly, and know how your bosses like things done. Until then, simply aim to “do no harm.”

This means that when you’re given a confusing task,  you should ask for clarification so you don’t mess it up. Remember that studio equipment is expensive, so be gentle with it. You don’t want to be the intern that breaks or damages something they can’t afford to replace. Don’t eat or drink near the console. And lastly, don’t delete takes of a session. In trying to impress, some interns will go too far and end up getting themselves in trouble. It’s better to err on the side of caution until you know your actions will do more good than harm.


producer in front of board at Miami music and audiobook recording studio Bay Eight

When it comes to working in the music industry, the importance of interpersonal skills cannot be overstated. Even if you’re not the best, being kind and curious will open a lot of doors for you. It can be the difference between turning your recording studio internship into an apprenticeship or job down the line versus getting a cold shoulder when you inquire about future opportunities. So most of be all, remember your manners and be kind to people. Who would have thought it’d be that simple?

For additional inside tips about the industry,  check out more from our blog.

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