As an admissions representative for Dark Horse Institute, I receive a large amount of inquiries from people wanting to know about my personal career story. I’m somewhat unique from the “normal” admissions person because I’m a graduate of this program, who interned at the studio, and now am on staff full-time. However, I didn’t always work in the music business, and it’s taken a lot of connections and strong work ethic to achieve this position today.
Many people don’t know, but I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Electronic Media Management and Sales from Cedarville University in Ohio. I started as a vocal performance major for almost three years, but decided that since I didn’t want to sing or teach Classical music, it probably wasn’t the best idea to sink money into a degree I was never going to use. While finishing up my new major, I tailored my experiences and internships specifically for the music business. I traveled with my class and worked the Dove Awards during Gospel Music Association week, I interned with the marketing department at Fervent Records, managed my own touring band, and was team leader/road manager for my college-touring band called HeartSong.
My plan was always to move to Nashville right after graduation, get a great job at a record label, and be the next big high roller in the biz. However, things did not work out like I planned or dreamed. I met the most amazing women in college who I fell crazy in love with and married her the summer we graduated. All of a sudden I wasn’t just responsible for myself, but now I had my wife to think about. The reality of needing a job ASAP set in, and I started applying all over the Dayton, OH area. Now if you know anything about Dayton, OH, you know that there’s not a real happening music scene up there which made the blazing fire of my dreams dwindle to a small spark. My first position was as a management trainee with a car rental company. I won’t tell you their name because this was the worst job of my life. However, I excelled and became the #1 management trainee in Ohio and was the #1 branch corporate account manager two months. I worked there for two years and after getting super frustrated, I moved on to another position selling life insurance for a great company. I soon found out that the pressures of a full commission job, while trying to build a business by bugging all of your friends and family members, was not for me. I stayed in this position a little under two months, and then moved on to working for Starbucks Coffee. During my time at Starbucks, I worked hard and became barista of the month several times and finally was promoted to shift manager. This was a great company, and even though they pay a low wage, there are a lot of perks. During these years I also worked with several music ministries and was choir director at my church.
So, five years after I graduated from college, I took a picture of my life and realized that it looked nothing like what I had envisioned. I visited Dark Horse Studios years ago in college and checked the website about once a year just to see what they were doing. I noticed that they were offering an audio engineering program, and was very intrigued to learn that side of the business. I told my wife about it, and though I thought it was out of the realm of possibility, she was dying to move from Ohio. She contacted the school and started the admissions process for me. In March of 2012 I moved to Nashville and started my studies at Dark Horse Institute. My wife stayed in Ohio while I attended the course, and moved down once I graduated in June of that year. I interned with the studio after I graduated, then switched and interned with the business side of the school a few months later. As the school expanded, they needed a full time admissions staff member and offered me the job. Now I work for the institute, do some freelance engineering, vocal coaching, and studio vocal work whenever I can.
It’s taken several years of constant networking, plenty of sacrifice, and overcoming fears to be in the position I am today. I still regularly focus on improving my skills as well as my personal/professional growth. I am living proof that great customer service and an unparalleled work ethic will pay off in the end. I encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity and excel in every job they have. It may be far from their dream job, but I believe that if you are faithful in the little things, you can be ruler over great things.
Dark Horse Institute