The summer job is a rite of passage. They make movies about summer jobs. But you don't need to get lost in a summer job that doesn't excite you. There are numerous music jobs for student musicians you need to check out that can enhance your music skills and just all around gives you skills you didn't think you had.The time to start applying is now, especially if you want to make sure you get your first-choice position. Here are some great summer jobs for student musicians:
- Summer camp counselor: I know. This is a classic, but don't settle for any summer position. There are summer camps dedicated to music or the arts, where you can instruct younger kids. Another option is a general summer camp as they always have arts and music programs.
- Summer school arts programs: This position is like a summer camp program, but is sponsored by local schools. You'll get to work with younger kids, and nothing helps people learn better than by having to teach the topic to others.
- Arts administration intern: Every orchestra, music venue, festival and arts organization needs help! They often have special projects they reserve for summer when temporary help (e.g. you) are there to get them done. As many organizations work to improve outreach to a younger demographic and want to use social media to do it – you may have exactly the special skills they need!
- Pit or session musician: To find work as a pit musician, look for summer festivals, music or other performing arts, that will need musicians. Here's a list of festivals.
- Radio station intern: Look for the public and classical music radio stations in your area. You'll learn more about classical music and people's tastes in classical music. Here's an example of what this kind of position looks like.
- Sales associate in an instrument store: You'll meet other musicians. Who knows, you may find some gig work as a result! You'll also get more familiar with other instruments. If there aren't any instrument stores near you, check out whether local pawn shops have sizeable instrument sections.
- Become a luthier's assistant: If you don't want to sell, maybe you'd like to repair? If there are any instrument repair shops in your area, go in and introduce yourself. You'll learn a practical skill, which you can translate into a side hustle at any time – at least for some of the simpler repairs people don't want the expense of hiring a formal professional, but aren't confident enough to do themselves.
- Put up your own teacher's shingle! This one takes a bit more hustle. If you've already done the summer music counselor thing and have some teaching experience, put yourself out there for private lessons. In addition to having a real music job, you'll also learn a lot about being an entrepreneur. Use social media to get your name out there, but don't overlook showing up to meet people who could refer students to you. Talk to your teachers, visit administrators at local congregations. Have you ever babysat or mowed lawns? Talk to your past clients. Even if their kids don't need music lessons, they may know other families who'd be very interested in hiring an enterprising student.
You may come up with your own ideas for a potential job. If there's a music-related organization you'd like to work for and learn from, get pro-active. Check them out to see if they're offering a formal position or internship. If they're not, don't be afraid to approach them anyway.
Before you talk to them, think about what you can offer them, not what you'll get from them. Will you help them with office work, help manage their social media, give them extra hands to take care of back-burner projects? Learn a little bit about them to see where you could offer the most help. Or just ask them – "If you had an intern, what would you want them to help with?" If it appeals, tell them you'll be happy to do it.
Whatever your summer position, don't forget to start switching back to student-mode towards the end of the summer. Summer jobs are awesome, but don't lose focus on your studies.