“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Gandhi
This mentality has never been more proficient than in the music industry. An industry that harnesses the true values of perfecting your skills, sharing your ideas, and learning on the job.
A job, it seems, that you don’t actually get paid for.
Now, I’m all for volunteering for a worthy cause, or volunteering to perfect your skills in a particular area you are not quite sure in. But, how much volunteering is too much until it becomes nothing short of taking advantage for that poor soul’s enthusiasm to get involved?
I believe it soon becomes too much when they are looking at volunteers to do bar work at music festivals. Bar work. A job in any other sector would be paid. Minimum wage, no less, but it’s still pay.
But what about when you get a music degree? Surely, your prospects are increased further into the fields of jobs?
Well, to put it bluntly; no. I have recently finished a music degree, and the only prospects I have seemed to receive are handing out festival leaflets for free around city centres. It’s certainly sad that the only opportunities for me currently, within Lincolnshire are voluntary positions within the music sector. Whether that be the current living situation I am in, or not; regardless, that can’t be good for the industry has a whole.
To take this matter further, festival volunteering comes before festival place jobs when you search festival in Google. That’s the gravity of the situation. Festivals seem to push harder the fact on volunteers than accruing actual members to join, allowing further job prospects and income into the industry. I can understand why festivals want to push volunteering. They simply just saving money. But, don’t expect to turn around and scream, “the industry is dying” when the majority of your crew are sacrificing themselves for your cause, and are there, willing to help and prevent the industry from dying in the first place.
That’s not much of a prospect now, is it?
The opportunities I have undertaken during my studies at University have been countless. Giving away my time to venture into marketing, recruitment, festival management and so on. For this, I have received nothing short of minor appraisal and a good ‘ol pat on the back. (One time I did receive a tote bag and a certificate, however, so that was a nice surprise.)
So, what can be done? Is it up to these major companies or individuals to push job prospects further ahead of volunteering?
Well yes and no. It is mainly up to us both. These major companies will always offer volunteer roles to anyone who is willing to do it. But, it should be their end goal to get these volunteers to not only just hand out leaflets, but to provide further job prospects and future contact down the road, because believe or not, they have gone out of their way to contact you, and give up their time. Now, it is time to go out of your way for them.
Now, I’m sure there are people who do this for their volunteers. But, there simply isn’t enough of them out there. You can say, in fact, that it boils down to this.
There are more voluntary opportunities than job opportunities, and that needs to change. Of course, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this.
- The music industry itself has low income and so individuals within it cannot afford their staff – or volunteers, for that matter
- Voluntary roles are mostly temporary so merely require an individual for a day or two
- And most arguably, some voluntary roles do not require a sense of “skill” or “dexterity” for them to be achieved with some degree of success
What can we do now?
I think at this moment, that all we can do is just wait and hope for the best. Push ourselves more than ever towards this major global companies who operate within the music industry. Wait for the moment until they take their volunteers seriously, listen to what we have to say, and provide further opportunities to enter into the industry. An industry that seems to have barricaded doors for anyone willing to enter.
You’d think moments like this would change once you have a music degree, but I guess, I was wrong.
Change will come, right?
For more information on this, check out some of these useful links I have provided that give you some insight into music volunteering: