Abby House, '11 is interning with National Association of Music Merchants

August 10, 2011

Finding a match for my skills

By Abigail House '11

As I have completed my senior year, "What do you want to do after college?" is a question I am frequently asked. "I'm still figuring that out," I often reply. The truth is, during my years at Bradley, I have identified several strong interests for my career goals ranging from sales and retail to marketing and promotion, and I want to explore them all! When I completed my degree in music business in May, I decided to postpone graduation and do just that: explore the various departments housed under one roof in the industry that I love, music.

On August 1, 2011, I began a six-month internship at the internationally renowned music products industry not-for-profit trade association, NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, located on the sunny coast in Carlsbad, Calif.

I first heard about NAMM when I attended its Winter 2011 trade show in January. Along with two professors and two passenger vans full of Music Business majors, I had a blast visiting Orange County, California. Walking around exhibit floor at the trade show (which is open only to music manufacturing dealers and retail buyers and, of course, music students of select universities such as Bradley) was an eye-opening experience for me. I got to step into the heart of the music products industry and watch up close how business is conducted. Little did I know at the time that half a year later I would leave Central Illinois, move 2,000 miles to Southern California, and help to create and execute the following year's trade show!

The biggest privilege of interning at NAMM is getting to work in each major department throughout the six months. From handling customer service calls and learning the membership database, to brainstorming marketing objectives for new campaign projects, I will get a taste of what it would be like to pursue a career in my areas of interest.

As the sole intern during this period, some of my major projects include helping the Trade Show department to organize and oversee some 50 musical acts performing on at least five stages throughout the four-day trade show, planning seminar and workshop sessions for the NAMM-University segment, as well as conducting ongoing research for the Resource Center. I will also get some retail experience on the weekends working in the Museum of Making Music, housed on campus.

My expectation for the months ahead is that I learn about each of the departments and identify a match for my own skills. As I learn more about the music products industry, I definitely can see myself finding a lasting passion and career within it. I have long been an advocate for the benefits of music, and am thrilled to be working at an organization that focuses on promoting such. NAMM is not only a hub for the latest innovations in music products, but it is also an active advocate for music making to be a part of everyday people's lives. I resonate with that mission, and know that in whatever type of department I end up working in my career, I want to be working to further promote music and the inspiration it brings.