by Evan Cavil
During the course of my internship this summer (2016) at BlackRock Center for the Arts, I not only learned what I hoped to about audio engineering but much more about other aspects of theater and performing arts that I hadn’t even given much thought about beforehand. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, the facilities were clean and professional, and the summer concert series was a blast!
When I first applied for my internship at BlackRock, my initial thoughts were that most of what I would be doing would be directly related to the audio engineering aspect of things. There were many days I would come in and not do a single thing that had to do with audio engineering but at the end of the day I would find myself telling my friends about something interesting I learned about other aspects of production such as things related to lighting design, theater set designs, and art galleries. I am actually glad that I was able to see and be a part of each step of production though. It was a great learning experience and it helped me to put audio engineering in perspective compared to the other aspects that go into putting on a performance.
The staff at BlackRock was very patient in teaching me new things and very knowledgeable about their specialties and more. Their expertise mixed with a professional facility allowed me to maximize my learning experience at BlackRock in a way which will be useful to me in my future endeavors in audio engineering.
There were two parts of my internship which were specifically focused toward my interests: the summer concert series and my intern project. The summer concert series was one of the big selling points for me when I was deciding on interning at BlackRock. It was great seeing and learning about everything from the contracts that are signed with the bands and the stage plots that were sent to us by the band, to actually setting those stage plots accordingly on show day and learning about sound check and live sound mixing. My intern project also was specifically related to audio engineering. I had the idea that I would bring in a band to mix live audio for in a trial “faux show”. For the few weeks between summer camp ending leading up to my project, Steve had more time to be able to show me my way around all of the audio equipment I would be using and gave me some insight on how to adjust to different types of artists in the real world in a lesson he called “audio engineering psychology”. Steve was especially good at adapting to my learning pace and style and was extremely helpful in teaching me as much as possible this summer. By the time it came for me to do my project I had learned how to set up and patch the equipment correctly and I learned how to sound check and send different mixes to each monitor speaker on stage.
BlackRock’s internship program was expected to be 50% departmental support and 50% project based but I found that it was more like 80% / 20%. However, it was that 80% of departmental support that allowed me to learn as much as I did about the rest of the performing arts though which I ended up being highly grateful for.
Thanks to everyone at BlackRock who made this happen for me, it has been a pleasure!