'It is crucial to start during your studies'

  • Graduate stories
David Marcel de Jong

Alumnus David Marcel de Jong graduated from Composition and Music Production in 2014. Registered as an entrepreneur during his studies, David has successfully built a multi-faceted career and now works as a composer, music producer, pianist and marketer.

Sonic Branding

Through his company, Finetune Audio, David harnesses the power of music, voice and sound to enhance the messages of filmmakers and brands. "We create music, sound design and voice-overs for brands. While we occasionally do other projects such as band recordings, the majority of our work is focused on film and media. We also compose brand tunes, jingles and sound logos" David explains.

How to choose?

The Bachelor's degree in Composition and Music Production offers a wide range of subjects. "You have courses on Instrumental Composition, Production, Songwriting, but also Composing for the Media. So a lot of different things. The way I see it is that you gather all this information and take it with you, on your journey. Every now and then you take something out when you need a specific skill for a project."

David is a firm believer in the benefits of a 'portfolio career'. In his youth, David wanted to be a concert pianist. During high school, however, his focus shifted to music composition. David finds his piano skills invaluable for composing music. "I still draw on my piano background, from classical harmonies and structures to rich jazzy chords. This knowledge is incredibly useful, even in electronic music. You can take elements from one genre and apply them to another." For David, this interdisciplinary approach is much more compelling than making electronic music in isolation, without the diverse knowledge and experience he has gained along the way.

'I never thought I would do voice-overs.’

A year before graduating from the Prins Claus Conservatorium, David Marcel de Jong was already registered as an entrepreneur. Reflecting on his journey, he emphasises the importance of preparing for a future in entrepreneurship early on. "It is crucial to start during your studies," David advises. "Start your journey from where you are now; don't wait until the end to start working towards your goals."

During his time at the conservatoire, David focused primarily on film music. However, a project sparked his interest in voice-overs. "I was really happy with the music I composed for the project, but when I received the voice-over from the company, I thought, 'Oh my God, this doesn't match the tone of my music'. So I decided to take control of that aspect as well. I think of voice-overs as another form of music, with its own intonation and rhythm."

David believes in expanding one's vision, especially as an entrepreneur. "You may not always get the projects you want, but it's important to keep going." He also stresses the need to maintain a steady income for the company. "We have a team of four people and two interns, as well as two studios. This requires a steady cash flow."

Expanding his services to include voice-overs has allowed David to take full control of the production process, ensuring a high quality end product. "This holistic approach not only satisfies our clients, it keeps them coming back."

‘Why I do what I do’

David notes that while finances are crucial to running a business, there's much more to his work than just entrepreneurship. "Music is inherently a creative field. It's about inspiration and passion. To sustain that, it's important to find mental peace, which we've achieved by incorporating voice-overs into our services".

The addition of voice-overs has allowed David to take full control of the production chain. "This holistic approach allows us to deliver the highest quality end product, which keeps clients coming back. I also tend to over-deliver initially, giving clients more than they expect. This not only satisfies them, but often turns them into ambassadors for our brand, which is incredibly valuable for natural growth."

David believes that passion is the key to customer retention. "When people see your passion, they want to come back. I love to enhance a film with my music. With music, a film can be amazing; without it, it's just good. Seeing the positive reactions from clients who recognise the effort and energy I put into my work is incredibly rewarding. That's the real prize doing what you love and getting real feedback".

He advises others to find their unique value and purpose. "Look for your thing - why you do what you do and what adds value to you."

Working with clients: "The Yellow Wall"

When taking on a project, it's important to ensure that you and your client have aligned expectations for the end result. David uses the metaphor of 'the yellow wall' to illustrate this.

"I think it's always important to ask why people want something. For example, if you're a painter and someone asks you to paint a wall yellow, first ask why they want it yellow. It might clash with their furniture. As a professional, you might have a better solution for them. It's important to ask more questions instead of just doing what the client says they want."

"In your professional life, clients often ask for something without fully understanding the implications. If you don't ask questions, there can be a mismatch in expectations. You might end up saying, 'But you wanted a yellow wall, what's the problem?' when in fact they wanted a different shade of yellow. There are many shades of yellow. Always ask what exactly they want and why, because the reason behind their request might be more interesting and lead to a better solution than the yellow wall itself."