Technology trainers and specialists help customers and colleagues—such as sales associates—learn to use a company's instruments, tools, and other music-related products. One specific variety of technology specialist is the product representative: a professional musician with excellent chops who demonstrates the full capabilities of a musical product in videos and trade-show demonstrations.
Some trainers specialize in particular tools while others are fluent in a variety of programs. A guitarist might funnel their skill into doing demos and trainings for manufacturers like Fender or Marshall Amps, while a percussionist might demonstrate the capabilities of a new sampling pad or trigger. Recording engineers may find opportunities at tool manufacturers like Cubase or PreSonus. Other companies, such as ProTools and Ableton, also offer hardware and software for musicians, and even administer their own certification programs so that their most advanced users can become certified trainers of their products.
At a Glance
A college degree in computer science, engineering, or electronic production can help one find positions at software-oriented companies. On the other hand, demonstrated interest, ability, and creativity might be all that's necessary to land a gig as a product representative. A successful technology trainer might move up the ranks at a company to become the head of education, managing the broad strategies used to instruct others in the use of the product. They might also become product managers, working at the intersection of marketing and product design.
Technology trainers and product representatives work for a wide variety of companies, including those that sell products like music editing software, music notation software, music production software, electronic instruments (including both controllers and synthesizers), and musical equipment (e.g. amps and mics), as well as for online schools and certification programs.
- Computer science
- Music software (notation, editing, production, and sound synthesis)
- High-level instrumental chops
- Creativity and innovation
- Education (teaching classes and individual tutoring)
- Written and verbal communication
Technology specialists are technology-savvy educators who love nothing more than to dive into a software program and learn every inch of its capabilities. They're the type of people who fix everyone else's computer, or teach them how to fix their own. An interest in education is essential, as well as the patience necessary to see it through.
For product representatives, perhaps the most important qualities are curiousness, creativity, and a sense of exploration. Creators of digital instruments and musical tools want to demonstrate the capabilities of their tools in a highly musical context. Ideally, they want musicians who are genuinely excited about the tools, using them to do things that would be impossible otherwise.
The work life of a technology trainer varies based on their employers and clients. Some work standard office hours behind a desk, responding to product-related queries via email. Others travel across the country giving demonstrations to school departments, musicians, and music stores, which often means working evenings and weekends.
Working as a product representative is usually a part-time gig for a professional musician. This typically involves recording videos that demonstrate the product, as well as demoing the product live at industry events and trade shows such as NAMM.