You’ve picked music as your major. You love the ensembles, the classes, and the performance opportunities. But now that your college days are winding down, you might be thinking to yourself, “What am I going to do with this music degree?”
Consider an internship! Internships are one way to gain experience in the field while increasing your chances of landing a job shortly after graduation. Designed to give students hands-on experience in the field, internships expand upon concepts introduced in the classroom. Internships can provide an avenue of skills and provide a way for you to imagine and plan for your future.
Internships in the music field can help you develop new skills in education, artistic planning or A&R, community outreach, publishing, public relations and marketing, development and fundraising, research, accounting, finance, human resources, information technology, customer relations, operations, law, and more.
Interning in the field won’t necessarily limit you to concert halls and performing arts centers. A number of record labels, instrument companies, publications and publishing companies, theatres, symphony orchestras, musical ensembles, music festivals and residencies, recording studios, professional organizations, summer camps, and arts commissions offer internships that blend the arts with professional development.
And while we’ve talked about music so far, know that professional experience for other types of organizations – either in the performing arts or in other industries – are highly sought after and appealing to employers. Skills developed in most internships can be translated to other fields.
Here are some examples of past student internships:
Nathan Hay – Richmond Symphony Orchestra
Since Nathan’s interests were in music education, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra worked to offer him a position with the “String Sinfonietta” – an introductory string training ensemble, part of the Symphony’s flagship educational program. Nathan assisted students one-on-one with parts and primarily helped out with the viola section. With 70 elementary and middle-school aged children in the ensemble, Nathan also supported the conductor during rehearsals and helped with the logistics of during concert days.
Colby Mullen – Multicultural Arts Management Internship program (sponsored by the Arts and Business Council of New York – a division of Americans for the Arts)
Colby Mullen’s main project “housed” him at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens. A cultural program administered by Queens College, the Armstrong House was the former home of jazz trumpet icon Louis Armstrong, who lived there from 1943-1971. Mullen’s duties varied from hospitality (he gave tours of the historic museum), membership and technology (he developed a campaign for the organization’s membership goals with up-to-date software), marketing (he organized two major mailings), and human resources (he conducted an administrative assistant search screening all 80 applicants).
Note that the listings below aren’t exhaustive. Check with the University Career Center about additional resources for scoring your dream internship.
Richmond music internship possibilities
- Richmond Symphony
- Virginia Opera
- WRIR 97.3 FM (internship credit offered for weekday board operators and live sound engineers)
Other Virginia music internship possibilities
- Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Academy (Wintergreen, VA)
- Heifetz International Music Institute (Staunton, VA)
- Castleton Festival (Castleton, VA)
- Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (Virginia Beach, VA)
- Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)
- Virginia Symphony Orchestra (Norfolk, VA)
- Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (Roanoke, VA)
- American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras
- Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (Alexandria, VA)
- Alexandria Commission for the Arts (Alexandria, VA)
- Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (Alexandria, VA)
Other Richmond arts internship possibilities
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Visual Arts Center
- Virginia Historical Society
- Valentine Richmond History Center
Internship possibilities beyond Richmond
- The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC)
- Americans for the Arts (New York or Washington, D.C.)
- Arts and Business Council of New York Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program (New York)
- The Recording Academy (home of the GRAMMY Foundation – local chapters throughout the country, closest in Washington, D.C.)
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (New York)
- Metropolitan Opera (New York)
- Carnegie Hall (New York)
- Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York)
- Sony Music
- Atlantic Records
- Warner Music Group
- Universal Music Group
- Naxos Records