Your Next Stage: an Event

That Bridges the Gap Between Students and the Music Industry

By Arek Ganjalyan | Campus | December 20, 2022

Cover Illustration: Host and guest speaker, October 2022. Simon OrdonezThe Amsterdammer

Reporter Arek Ganjalyan presents the initiative “Your Next Stage”, which aims to create closer and clearer links between those who are passionate about music and who are already working in the field. 

Entering the music industry, regardless of whether it is a hobby dating from childhood or the sole driving force to attend university, is a dream of many students. However, doing so is easier said than done. There is so much to know about the music industry, yet so few resources cater towards this domain. Although some universities of applied sciences offer music-related courses, there is a lack of this sort of education at an academic level. Enter “Your Next Stage”, the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) first music-focused career orientation event.

The School of House, an Amsterdam-based music education organization, collaborated with three UvA students to give participants “the basis they need to kickstart their professional career in the music industry”. The event, held on October 12, was sold out. As it was about to begin, the line outside the doors of CREA theater was long and the excitement was palpable.

Speaker at event, October 2022. Darina Milanova / The Amsterdammer

The day started off with a presentation by the organizers explaining their background and how the rest of the event would unfold. It continued with three sets of panel discussions conducted by seven speakers who were invited to share their experiences regarding positions they hold within the music industry. One such speaker was Sarah Hildering, who holds a master’s in psychology and is the Director of Dance & Electronic at Ingrooves Music Group.

“I very much would have appreciated similar advice when I was at the start of my career”, she said, acknowledging the uniqueness of the event. She hoped attendees would benefit from this opportunity that she did not have, stating that there is “a bubble around what it’s like to work as a music professional” and that it is “difficult to get more tangible knowledge around what direction you might want to go”.

Multiple guest speakers, October 2022. Simon Ordonez / The Amsterdammer

Multiple attendees agreed that there is a lack of clarity surrounding employment in the music industry. One student commented that this was their first time going to an event like this and that they believe there is not “enough talk about creative topics such as music and film in universities”, which creates the bubble that Hildering mentioned. Another attendee claimed that participating was illuminating, especially for an international student. They stated that Dutch students with an interest in music are more likely to have “volunteered or taken part in other activities that international students would not have”, and that being at Your Next Stage could make up for that missing prior experience.

Once the panels were completed, participants had the chance to have some one-on-one time with the speakers and twenty-five music professionals during the ‘networking carousel.’ According to student-organizer Luis Esteban, this was the “finale where you take what you learn from the panels, apply that knowledge, and create connections”. As the evening drew near, attendees and organizers alike flocked to CREA cafe for drinks.

Fellow organizer Rosalie Visser commented on the academic diversity of the event, saying “the music industry is a field where people from various backgrounds work together, from law to marketing, from sociology and psychology to data science. We wanted to curate a program inspiring people that their degree can have value in this business by inviting students from 12 different study associations from the UvA.”

Networking carousel, October 2022. Darina Milanova / The Amsterdammer

Esteban further shared that he and his co-organizers were “unsure a couple of weeks ago about how it was going to go”. Those worries were put to rest after tickets sold out completely and they amassed a long waiting list. An atmosphere of excitement was evident throughout the whole day. He hopes that there will be a second edition of Your Next Stage and that it will continue to provide music industry education at an academic level.

“I very much would have appreciated similar advice when I was at the start of my career.”

Arek Ganjalyan is a university student in Amsterdam. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer. 

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