Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

“What Do You Do?”

Sylvie Simhon has been making a name for herself in Los Angeles. In her final post she talk about her experience freelancing and making a living off her music.

A question we’ve all encountered when meeting new people is the age-old “What do you do?” In the past six months my answer to this question has ranged from, “I’m a Music Publishing Intern” to, “I’m a Custom Song and Jingle Writer” to “I’m a Composer’s Assistant” to “I’m between jobs right now.” Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Berklee’s steady 5-year bliss of, “I’m a music student”. But from this end of the spectrum, I hate to admit that our careers are, and might always be, unstable. (You were right, Mom and Dad!)

My last post was all about how I worked on the Charlie’s Angels pilot. Well, as it turns out, the producers decided to go in a different direction for the series. Jeff Russo is no longer involved, which by extension means I’m no longer involved.  Instead, (after about a week of panicking) we recently began working on USA’s new show, Necessary Roughness! We had to shift gears on a moment’s notice to take on this new project. I’ve come to find that this is very normal in the biz…

This post is actually supposed to be about freelancing. So here’s my 2 cents on the subject. There’s a lot of competition out there! So I believe in order to thrive, you need to find your niche. Determine your skill or talent that sets you apart from everyone else.

At Berklee I majored in songwriting, film scoring, and Jon Aldrich. I think I took ALL his courses: Jingle Writing, Business of Songwriting, Singer/Songwriter Workshop, and Songwriting Directed Study. He really inspired me and taught me to take advantage of my skills and, best of all, make money doing it! (Isn’t that what it’s all about?)

I started a business last November in which I write custom songs, jingles, and sound logos. (www.sylviesongs.com) I’ve written for local and international clients, always making sure that they’re 100% satisfied with the music and service. Personal connections and word of mouth have played a big part in my “success”, but having a good-looking, informative website is crucial as well. And of course, the quality of your work has to back everything up.

I enjoy writing to specifications. It spikes up my creativity when I know I have to fulfill the client’s as well as my own standards.  In an ideal world, I would make a living with this for now, learn everything I can from it, and then go on to write music or songs for film and TV. I love knowing that I’ll always have this skill to fall back on, though. It almost brings some stability to the unstable industry we all love.

Sylvie Simhon is a composer, songwriter and music editor based in Los                 Angeles. She writes custom songs and jingles through www.sylviesongs.com and is currently working as Jeff Russo’s assistant on USA’s Necessary Roughness. Visit www.sylviesimhon.com for the full scoop!

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1 Comment

  1. Danielle Dreilinger

    If you want an in-the-classroom look at Jon and his jingle-writing class, we actually have a fairly new set of videos focusing on them. Hmm, I wonder if I can embed a video in the comments. Let’s see. Jingle-writing class:

    (link: http://bcove.me/hv6oqmbs )

    Jon Aldrich:

    (link: http://bcove.me/0i886qo3 )

    Edit: Wow, I can. The internet is amazing.

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