I’M A STUDENT INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN THE RECORDING INDUSTRY. ARE THERE ANY PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS I SHOULD JOIN? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MEMBER OF THESE GROUPS?
Two words: professional development. One the main benefits of joining a professional organization is the ability to network with industry leaders before you finish your degree or certificate program. Many students don’t realize that men and women working in the business are interested in sharing their knowledge with the next generation of professionals, and two national organizations provide such opportunities: The Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the Recording Academy, which have chapters around the country, and offer educational programs where students can meet and interact with professionals in every aspect of the music biz—from musicians and engineers to promoters, managers, and attorneys.
For a one-time $50 fee, you can join GrammyU (grammypro.com/grammy-u), the Recording Academy’s student program. As a member, you get access to events and special programs that include visits to recording studios and sound checks at major concert venues, as well as workshops on topics such as songwriting and music business. Student membership with AES (aes.org) costs a little as $39 per year, and it gives you access to listening events, research papers, and a variety of workshops.
Another resource worth checking out is Women’s Audio Mission (WAM; womensaudiomission.org). Located in the Bay Area, WAM is a nonprofit organization that offers educational opportunities in their own prolevel studio for women and girls across a variety of age groups. However, you don’t have to be a Bay Area resident (or a woman) to use this resource: Check out WAM’s Sound Channel, an online audio-training course where students can work at their own pace. Full access costs as little as $25 a month.
It is also worth nothing that, once you become a professional and earn income from an music industry-related job, you may get a tax writeoff for the membership fees when you join AES and the Recording Academy at the professional level.
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