Internship brings former drum major closer to music-producing goals

Posted on Aug 28, 2018

Senior Taheerah Hansen wants to be an award-winning music producer and own her own label. That would be hard, however, without ever stepping foot in a recording studio. So, Hansen worked hard to find an internship this past summer that would help her gain the experience she needs to help her frame a long-term career perspective, going to work at the Blue Room Recording Studios South in midtown Atlanta near Atlantic Station.

The visual and performing arts major feels that music is part of her purpose. Her dad, she recalls, asked her what she wanted for her fifth birthday. She told him that she wanted an 88-key grand piano. She got a keyboard instead. Still, she considers that her best birthday present ever.

"I want to have my hand in anything that has to do with music," Hansen said. "From all facets, from gospel to R&B, instrumental, live bands, composing for ensembles, or transcribing."

Hansen knows that there is a long road from having a dream to making it happen. As an intern, she understood that she would have to start from square one. She set up studio sessions for artists and worked with microphones and digital systems. She performed administrative and receptionist tasks as well and helped to make sure that the artists were fed and were comfortable. In return, she gained priceless fundamental knowledge of how a recording studio operates. Though some of her work might initially seem menial, she learned how important those things were to the music business.

Hansen in studio

"It's definitely about who you know in addition to what you know," she said. "The reason I took the internship was to better understand how clients and artists conduct themselves and how studios operate, from booking sessions to executing sessions, and even the paperwork that comes with the business. I wanted to get a first-hand experience so I could soak up just how a professional studio is run. It's one thing to love recording and love making music, but it's important to understand that you are providing a service to your customer or client. So it's different from recording or working on projects in your own personal space. As a producer, you're providing a service to your client. Knowing what makes the client comfortable so that they will want to create is very important."

Hansen also learned more about nuts and bolts of recording"” not only paying attention to who the artist is, but who the engineers are, mixing, mastering, and aspects of the creative process. Artists she engaged with in the studio included Grammy, American Music Award, BET, and Billboard-award winner T.I., gold-selling artist Dej Loaf, and other artists including Smino, Juice Wrld, and Bandhunta Izza.

Hansen has worked hard at FVSU to grow her experience in music and promotion. She served as the drum major for the Blue Machine Marching Band from 2012-2016 and created the FVSU W.E. Rock the Party Artist Seminar and Music Showcase last year featuring D.J. Traci Steele. To her, music is power.


"I just love music," she said. "I love the science of it. Music is powerful. What makes it interesting for me is that certain sounds and keys and modes make people respond to it in different ways. Relaxed, excited, angry, sad"” you can put different chords and frequencies together which elicit an emotion. To write a hit song is to tell a story that has never been told before; to make someone feel something they have never felt before. Creating music is a service to mankind."

Learn more about FVSU's visual and performing arts and media studies program.

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