Everybody wants to be a rockstar.
The adrenaline of playing in front of millions of people, the money and the fame are all parts of the rockstar dream that so many musicians share. Like every teenage boy who picks up a guitar and dreams about being the next Hendrix, or every young girl stepping up to a microphone who envisions herself on a stage like Beyonce, there are hundreds of thousands of musicians around the world who dream of the sweet life.
But the vast majority of them will eventually come to face reality. They will realize that their dream is a long-shot. They will see the huge imaginary wall separating everyday people from the elusive music industry and they will give up. The guitar will go back in its case to gather dust; the diva will sing only in her shower.
Alex Arnold, a father of two and a senior majoring in Integrated Studies at UVU, knows what it’s like to pick up that guitar for the first time. He knows what its like to dedicate hours and hours to your music — and he knows how to dream.
He’s willing to merge his dream with the harsh reality of the real world, though, and he wants to help people get a look at the other side of the music industry’s wall. Arnold is currently working on a proposal for a Music Tour Internship program at UVU. The program will give students the opportunity to work alongside actual touring musicians and will give them a glimpse into what it’s like to work in the industry.
Arnold plays keyboard in country star Charley Jenkin’s band. Jenkins, who starred on “Nashville Star” and has opened for big names like Montegomery Gentry, Kellie Pickler and Neal McCoy, hired Arnold on as a ‘Jack of all trades’ for the band where he also sings backup vocals. Jenkins has agreed to help out with the Music Tour Internship program and if all goes as planned, the interns will be touring with Jenkin’s band.
Arnold understands that not everyone in the industry will become a rockstar, but those who are passionate and work hard can at least make a living doing it.
“I’m not the star,” Arnold said. “But it’s fun.”
He hopes the internship will help people find a way into a seemingly impossible industry.
“There’s a social stigma that you’re never going to be able to do it and that it’s not practical,” Arnold said.
The Music Tour Internship will serve as a gateway into the industry. The interns, depending on their majors, will be part of different aspects of concert touring such as sound engineering, stage set-up or digital media.
“They get some practical real-world experience with a band that actually performs and in turn they would get credit from school,” Arnold said.
He wants to make his living doing what he loves, and he knows that might not include the glamorous rock star side of music.
“You don’t need to make it big to make a living,” Arnold said.
By SPENCER HEALY