This week we will find out what it’s like to work as a marketing assistant who is focused on music composition for University Student Commons and Activities (USC&A).
Meet Miles Hopkins, a rising junior from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in creative advertising and the talent behind the music for many of USC&A’s videos on our YouTube channel.
Composers are responsible for the recording and arranging of musical scores and sound compositions for videos and other materials to promote the programs, facilities and services offered by USC&A.
How long have you worked for VCU?
A little over a month now.
What are your main responsibilities as a composer for USC&A?
I am responsible for the scoring of original USC&A videos. I also keep a log of all our music sources, which ensures we have no copyright infringements. My goal is to find music that engages the audience and enhances the subject of the video.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I will come in and finish whatever project I was previously working on. Typically, I am assigned event coverage and student life videos that I need to score individually. I start off by deciding what the vibe of the music will be. Sometimes I compose completely originally soundtracks, but other times I take samples and build on top of it. Every video involves a different process, which keeps my job interesting.
Do you have an example of the type of work you do?
The Welcome Week parallax video was by far my favorite to make music for. Once they had a rough draft of what they wanted the video to look like, I found some appropriate sounds and manipulated them to compliment and enhance the video. The music changes the dynamic and tone of the video, making it more engaging.
Do you find it easy to balance being a student and a student worker?
Yes. Working in the Commons is really convenient because it’s so close to all my classes. Plus, my boss understands that school work always comes first. We are free to make our own flexible hours, which is especially nice in my position as someone who supplements content.
What are some suggestions for people finding it difficult to manage?
My first word of advice would be to talk to management. Communication is key and regardless of what issue is happening, you can resolve it through that. Secondly, understand your task and what you are here to do. Do the job you are assigned and you won’t be too overwhelmed.
What is one thing you really enjoy about your job?
My team is great. The people here are awesome and I love that I get the opportunity to network with important people. Also, I’m getting work experience in the field that I want to go into and can add VCU content to my portfolio, which is invaluable. My boss is also great because she wants me to get better, not only at composing for my job, but as a producer as well. People want to see you do good here.
Is there anything that you have now learned that you originally struggled with at the start of your job?
I have learned to branch out of what I considered to be my comfort zone. I liked electronic and hip hop, and I can still use that in my personal music, but the informational videos we make here require soft background music.
What has been one unexpected perk of working for USC&A?
We are always given free food and VCU paraphernalia to have.
What would be one suggestion to a student that is interested in working as a composer for USC&A?
Learn to make music that you don’t enjoy. You gain a different appreciation for all types of music and the effect they can have on different platforms while working here.