If you’re in a university music program and you’re interested in a future career in music, now is the time to identify summer internship possibilities. Some of the most competitive internship programs are already reviewing applications and conducting interviews. Time is of the essence.
In addition to your application, you may need to round up additional paperwork, including your school transcripts, audition videos, references, and recommendations from professors, instructors, and/or other mentors and influences.
It’s important to note that internships are typically no-pay or low-pay, but the solid experience and future connections you will make are the payoff. As a result, many music interns hold two jobs over the summer to get the career experience they want along with the paychecks required to pay the bills.
Tips for Finding Music Internships and Work Experience
Here are some ways to find and identify internships that align with your future goals. Keep in mind that too much specificity or narrow focus is not your best friend when looking for the “best music internship.”
Landing an internship that has a tie-in to the music industry in any way is better than no internship at all. You will still learn more about music career opportunities you might not have known existed. Plus, you will come into contact with industry professionals who can put in a good word for you in subsequent years, if you find an internship or job offer more specifically aligned with your interests.
While you should absolutely prioritize internships that are exactly what you want to do, it’s also worth applying to some of your second- and third-rung possibilities to keep your music career moving forward.
1. Familiarize yourself with all of the possibilities
If you plan to have a future in the recording industry, it makes sense that you’d want to find an internship in a production studio. However, someone else might get the job you want and, as mentioned above, having a music-related internship is better than not having one.
Learn all you can about the types of music internships and summer music jobs out there, and cast your net wide. Examples include:
- Counselor at a summer music camp (where the instructors and master class teachers you’ll meet are industry-renowned professionals)
- Sales associate in a music store
- Radio station intern
- Arts administration intern
- Teach private lessons on your own
- Cruise ship musician
- Pit musician for music festivals and events
- PR intern for a firm that handles musicians and/or recording labels
2. Use your current network
Networking is one of the greatest benefits of spending your summer break as an intern. However, your current network may hold the internship key to your future network. There’s a good chance your ideal music internship will come via someone you already know or who knows someone you know.
Inform everyone you can think of, including every music teacher or instructor you’ve had, that you’re looking for a summer music internship. Send group emails explaining your interests and post queries on various social media channels. It could be as simple as that to get the right lead or referral.
4. Peruse online job hunting websites and brand websites
Employers use popular job-hunting websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Simplyhired, mediabistro, and LinkedIn. Once you land on the websites, use “internship” in the search box along with “music” and other variations of what you’re looking for to see what’s out there.
Most well-known companies and brands, from recording studios and radio stations to theatre companies and performing arts centers, advertise internships directly on their websites. Don’t forget to look there as well.
5. Attend career fairs at your university campus and around the community
Schedule an appointment with a career counselor at your school. Sometimes, local employers advertise or notify university career counselors directly with information about internship and employment opportunities. The counselor will also have information about career fairs offered in your area. There, companies have information booths and HR representatives looking to connect with soon-to-be college graduates as well as individuals looking for internships.
Don’t wait another moment to begin identifying summer internship possibilities. Timeliness and drive are compelling attributes for future employers, so your prompt application submission is a first step in the right direction.