The Value of the Unpaid Internship

After a grueling initial interview, you have reached the second interview stage and you find out the position is going to come down between you and two other applicants. Each of you possess similar credentials from credible academic institutions, held office in a couple of academic clubs, and sport impressive GPAs. The Department Manager reviews the resumes one more time and decides on one of your competitors.

Why did they pick him / her? Because last summer, while you were soaking up the sun and surf in San Diego, your competition was gaining valuable on-the-job experience, volunteering their time through an unpaid internship. Even though all of the paid internships through the Placement Office were taken, there was another little-used option … the unpaid internship. If you are still looking for a strategy that can help your career in the long run, consider these factors about an unpaid internship:


Training costs are a major factor considered by business entities when making hiring decisions. Department Managers want to be sure that (1) you can be brought up to speed on job duties quickly, (2) you can successfully function in the corporate culture. An internship targeting your career path can provide you valuable real-world experience that your resume writer can use to give your resume the edge over the competition.

Additionally, your future employer only has to check your references to learn that you take direction well and respond to supervisor input … factors many employers wish they had known about recent college graduates before the hiring decision was made.


We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not what you know … it’s WHO you know.” Being ejected from a bachelor degree program without any connections puts you behind the proverbial eight ball right away. Working an internship gives you the opportunity to build your network within the industry even before you are available for permanent hire.

While your internship employer may not be in a hiring mode at the time, they may be able to point you in the right direction … and even put in a good word for you. Imagine the weight this can carry in a close competition with another graduate.


Want to “WOW”an interviewer? Tell him how you volunteered your time in the summer to learn the industry and position specifics … and that you did it for nothing! Congratulations … you have immediately communicated your dedication and seriousness to your career in the eyes of your interviewer. Now, when you convey to them that you are looking to be a serious player in the company and the profession, it is backed by your willingness to sacrifice your free time to do so.


Let’s not forget “you” in this equation. How do you know if this career path is for you? Does the profession have inherent characteristics you wouldn’t find out about in a classroom setting? Your internship just might show you that this path isn’t for …

Photo Fantasy Sports Revolution

Just when you may have thought fantasy sports reached a point of over saturation, a new frontier is upon us. With hundreds of teams in each of the major college sports, fantasy competition is rising to a whole new level with the inclusion of college football and college basketball. This really is no surprise given the popularity of these college sports and the popularity of fantasy contests in general. It's development has also been aided by the demand created by daily fantasy sports websites where one can compete for cash. Fantasy sports contests for cash prizes are legal in most US States and on a federal level. At a Federal level fantasy sports is defined and exempted by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) because it is considered a game of skill as opposed to chance.

Nowadays many sports fanatics participate in fantasy contests from their computers at home and at work. Due to advances in mobile technology and user friendliness, participants are now capable of entering contests, editing lineups and tracking player performances from their mobile device as well. All this adds up to a larger market that also has greater access to online sports competitions among friends or strangers. College football and basketball is essentially going to fill this void created by the increasing and already large demand. One can then expect for media and marketing corporations to utilize this opportunity as an advertisement medium which should help compound the popularity of college fantasy sports. This translates into billions of dollars worth in revenue and will revolutionize the way sports are viewed.

When fantasy sports first became popular on a main level, it changed the way games were televised. Now every televised game that has fantasy implications demonstrations graphics with player stats during the game. Player statistics from other games are also shown – usually on a scroll at the bottom of the television screen. This will also be done for college football and college basketball games that are televised. As you may know, the NCAA has strict regulations for college sports programs and their athletes with regards to compensation for performance. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA will revisit these restrictions as a result of the increase in popularity. All the major daily fantasy websites have recently begun providing college football and college basketball contests. Therefore it is still in the early stages. …

Think Music Theory Is Too Hard? Here’s Why

In my opinion (as a 35+ year music professional), music theory is taught in the most confusing and painful way imaginable. One example of this, students are often confronted with multiple sets of systems to described the same thing in different classes.

For example, Scale Degrees are referenced using numbers (0-9) in private lessons, roman numerals (both upper and lower case) in analysis, terms like Tonic, Submediant, Dominant, etc. when you get to theory class, and something called “Solfege” (Do-Re-Mi) in ear training. Too often the student has no idea all these systems are referring to the same basic thing, scale degrees. And this is just one example!

Scale Degree Naming Schemes…

  • Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Names: Tonic, Supertonic, Mediant, Subdominant, Dominant, Submediant, Leading Tone
  • Roman: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII
  • Solfege: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti

Can Music Theory be made easier to understand?

Yes it can. All it really takes is boiling theory down to its simplest form. Then, present it in a uniform way, much easier to understand. For example. Let’s take a better approach to Scale Degree presentation mentioned above.

Instead of using different systems for private lessons, analysis, music theory class, and ear training, we could use standard numbers (0-9) for all of them. We’ve removed the obstacles of having to learn solfege (including all the solfege names for notes not in the scale), english names for each scale degree, proper use of upper and lower case roman numerals, etc., BEFORE any functionality of music can be learned. We get right down to business using a system every student is already familiar with, the numbers 0-9. Again, this is just one example.

With consistency across the board, all of this can be learned and retained easily. If planning on attending college where all these terms will be needed, you can always learn these terms and systems AFTER you understand how music works. Believe me, it is MUCH EASIER that way!

As indicated before, this is only one example how something that can be explained so simply has become unnecessarily complex.

So, the solution is to make music theory simpler, not the current trend of making it harder. I believe the study of how music works can be reduced to these two basic concepts… First, learn the major scale. Then, use the major scale to learn everything else. Sounds pretty simple to me!…