#LifeAfterBIMM

Jack Smith: Finding My Place in the Music Industry

29th July 2021

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At BIMM Institute, we’re committed to developing every student’s talent and employability so they can find their place within the industry. It’s why we have a range of outstanding careers and employability initiatives, programmes and partnerships in place, such as Talent Match: our exclusive in-house recruitment service that sources talent for the creative industries. 

In our new interview series, we speak to the students and graduates who have walked through our doors and secured their dream roles in music. First up is Jack Smith, a Music Production graduate and professional producer, engineer and musician. Jack secured a place on the SAM Teacher Development Programme through Talent Match, as well as a Music Supervisor role through our Alumni services. Today, he runs Golden Wave Audio. We spoke with him to find out how his passion for music and time at BIMM have helped get him to where he is today. 

It’s hard to say what it is about music that draws me in. It just does. Simply put, I think being able to express yourself through the power of wobbly air particles is not only very fun but also extremely rewarding, and even therapeutic. Working with other people who are into it as much as you are is also such a great feeling. I really don’t get why everyone doesn’t do it!

I contacted Talent Match during the summer of 2020 for general help with music industry employment. Catriona was really helpful and mentioned the SAM Teacher Development Programme to me.

When I expressed my interest, I was put in touch with the guys at SAM and quickly scheduled to shadow lessons via Zoom during the run-up to the Christmas term break. Shadowing a SAM tutor for a few weeks was a great way to learn, as it’s not something that can really be taught. Since hosting some of my own lessons for SAM, I have taken on my own private clients for Drums and Guitar tuition, so it was great for building the confidence and knowledge needed to get started.

“It was a huge step out of my comfort zone.”

I really enjoyed shadowing an experienced tutor through the SAM Teacher Development Programme. I learned first-hand, could ask questions and gained valuable insights. It was a huge step out of my comfort zone to teach younger children how to play instruments and I was very nervous about it at first. In the end, I really enjoyed it and I’m glad I did it.

Working as a Music Supervisor

The Music Supervisor role involved liaising with the Director, Producer, and a team of other Supervisors for a small budget film called Swipe Fever, and finding suitable songs for a list of briefs to use in the movie. We completed a two-week search and collated all the music in a database, which we then all rated based on suitability for each scene. The best were then hand-picked by the Director to be featured in the final cut.

With the Supervisor position, working with a team of other creative people for a common goal was a lot of fun. The best thing about this, of course, is that it has led to plenty more work!

“This opportunity gained through Talent Match has really put me in front of the right people.”

Since completing this role, the guys behind the movie have asked me to produce a piece for the film as well as compose a song for an upcoming music video they will use to promote it. This opportunity gained through Talent Match has really put me in front of the right people and has led to even more work.

My Time at BIMM Institute

The guidance I received at BIMM has been invaluable, in terms of both music technology and advice from the Careers Team. Beyond that, I think being in a hub of like-minded people every week certainly helped inspire me and provide the energy I needed to really pursue music as a career. Having lecturers around who genuinely believe in you and are willing to help you out in any way they can around stressful deadline periods is also a huge bonus.

“It taught me to believe in myself a lot more.”

I’d say one of my main highlights from BIMM would have been towards the end of my third year – literally just before lockdown. I was pulling my hair out in the run-up to a recording session I had booked in the studio, wondering how on earth I was going to get two songs recorded with a full band in just three hours. In the end, I got a mate on board to help me set up; we did both songs live, and they came out great! Sometimes, being under that kind of pressure makes some good stuff happen, and it taught me to believe in myself a lot more.

The most memorable piece of advice I received at BIMM would have to be from the Masterclass with Producer and Engineer Ethan Johns. He opened up about a lot of stuff, but among many, many other topics, he discussed avoiding burning out, something that a lot of students and musicians (myself included) end up doing regularly. His advice was essentially to “do other stuff”. I know it sounds stupidly simple, but I found it very reassuring to know that your entire life doesn’t have to revolve around the studio, as it’s too easy to put that kind of pressure on yourself these days. It has definitely proven to be true for me as I’ve gotten into actually looking after myself a lot more over the past 12 months, which has done my creativity and motivation wonders.

The best advice I could give to anyone joining BIMM is to make the most of the people around you and the connections you can make. I feel I was too enclosed during my first two years and only really started working with other people in my final year. I made more friends and connections in my third year than I did in the first two years combined – and all just from putting a simple: “Hi, I’m a producer, does anyone want to work with me?” message on the BIMM Student Facebook Group! I definitely wish I’d started ‘networking’ a lot sooner than I did. My advice is to speak to people!

“If you get offered an opportunity that frightens you to death, you should definitely do it.”

As for using Talent Match, I’d say go into it with an open mind as you don’t know what opportunities will come your way. Even stuff you never imagined yourself doing, you might really enjoy. Always keep learning new skills, and if you get offered an opportunity that frightens you to death, you should definitely do it. Breaking through the barrier of fear will almost always lead you to good places, and you’ll grow as a person.

You can follow Jack on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and find out more about Talent Match here. We wish Jack every success in his career and can’t wait to watch him live his dream. To discover more about Employability and Careers at BIMM, head here. Alternatively, you can read more about our student success stories and inspirational alumni here

Photo Credit: Stuart Daley

Author

Loulou Baylis

Loulou is BIMM's Copywriter and joined the Marketing Team in March 2019. Loulou's main passions include music (especially anything to do with Fleetwood Mac), writing, and going on adventures (while trying not to get injured in the process).