Studying at university is stressful at the best of times – let alone during a pandemic. Throughout my time at BIMM Institute, I learned a lot about the Music Business. I also learned a lot about navigating adult life – sometimes the hard way. These are five things I wish I knew when I started here (as told by a Mentor).
1) Prioritise your university work and gaining industry-related experience equally.
Getting a good result in your degree will help kick-start your career. However, put equal emphasis on building your CV with valuable industry experience. Working at gigs or becoming an intern will set you apart from other applicants and provide you with transferable skills for eventual interviews.
Remember, each year there are thousands of fresh graduates; you need to make sure you are the one that stands out from the crowd and secures that interview! Don’t forget that BIMM is full of potential creative industries connections. So, make the most of them while they are there.
2) Sometimes the best flatmates aren’t always your best friends.
I’m not saying this is the same for everyone; it isn’t. However, sometimes living with your best mate isn’t always the best idea. If you lack willpower, it’s quite easy to – you know – forget about those deadlines and watch YouTube instead.
I’m not saying it’s gospel, but when house hunting in your second year, find a flatmate who is financially responsible, a good landlord, and also somewhere you will be able to work independently without distractions. Make sure you are well read on your rights when letting to avoid getting a cowboy landlord.
You might be someone who likes to be clean, organised and in bed by 10 – find a flatmate who is the same. Some friends might not share the same budgeting skills, which could also be a source of stress. Why? Because you don’t have time for conflict! You just need to find someone you are compatible with as a roommate; they might be a friend, or they might not, but make sure you think about the bigger picture when committing to a lease.
3) Book tutorials, find a study group and set up a group chat.
When I first joined BIMM, I joined the student group on Facebook. That’s where I got to meet my coursemates. We then set up a group chat for our class to get to know each other. This also meant we could ask each other course-related questions. Of course, the best source of information is your BIMM lecturers – who were also amazing at answering my queries when I’d come forward with them.
Remember – some lecturers do not work full time, and their response time will be according. So make sure you are making the most of your tutorial time. If you’re looking for an answer to a quick question, it’s best to ask your peers because someone is likely to know the answer. Perhaps you’re looking for some feedback on an essay draft, and you could swap essays with someone (whose opinion you trust) and give each other some quality peer feedback from a fresh perspective. Getting connected makes all this so much easier.
4) Don’t quit when the going gets tough (use BIMM Mentors and Student Support!).
Sometimes, we make bad decisions. When I joined BIMM, I studied Songwriting. For many reasons, I was struggling, and I changed my mind about a career in Songwriting. Over the summer break, I jumped ship to the Music Business course. I came to this decision by having regular meetings with the Student Support team, who walked me through my options step-by-step.
Despite being unhappy with my original decision, I left BIMM with a First. So don’t underestimate yourself and give in too soon!
It’s really important to remember that nobody is left to struggle at BIMM. But, you have to be proactive to receive that help. It’s best if you’re transparent and reach out to the relevant people. That could be Student Services, your Course Leader, or even a Student Mentor.
Part of BIMM’s Access and Participation initiative, Student Mentors are former students like myself who have been through it all before. Any of these people will be able to help you and point you in the right direction.
5) Set time aside to immerse yourself in up-to-date media relating to the music industry.
We are lucky to have a breadth of music industry news outlets available to us at the touch of a button. To produce top work, you must tackle topics at the forefront of discussion in the music business. Besides using the e-library, routinely read the likes of Music Week, Music Business Worldwide, and the Complete Music Update to make yourself aware of current or future music trends. Also, spoiler alert: all the professionals I’ve come across in the workplace read these – so you should too.
If you are like me, there may be times where you feel ‘music’d out’ and reading article after article isn’t feasible. When this was the case, I would listen to some amazing music business podcasts available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. I recommend listening to:
- CMU’s Setlist
- Danny Champion’s Behind The Business
- Switched On Pop
- Music Business Podcast with Sam Hysell and Jordan Williams
- The Ninja Tune Podcast
- The BIYPOD by BIY People and Talent
Even if it’s just during your commute, in the shower or when you’re cooking dinner – some stuff will go in!
As well as being a Music Business graduate, Harry is currently a BIMM Mentor for LGBTQ+ and Music Business students. Like all our Mentors, Harry is here to offer a friendly face and help you as you transition into BIMM life. It’s part of our many support systems in place to help you get the most out of your time at BIMM, no matter who you are. Find out more about Student Support or our new Access and Participation initiatives.