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Learning, Inspiration

Topic: Learning, Inspiration
Young musician female working a summer job as a radio intern

Update: Summer Jobs for Student Musicians - Apply Now!

Posted by StringOvation Team on May 8, 2019

It’s that time of year again – the summer job rite of passage. They make movies about summer jobs. But you don't have to get lost in a summer job that doesn't excite you.

We've put together a list of awesome and intriguing summer job options for the young musician. This year, we've added a few more choices to get you thinking about how you'll spend your summer earning money (perhaps), gaining experience, and expanding your musical horizons.

Remember, the time to start applying is now, especially if you want to make sure you get your position of choice.

  • How often do you think about the audience? Get to know them and their perspectives a bit more closely by working as a patron services intern. This position helps to manage relationships with ticket season holders and donors, contribute to planning patron events and galas, and work to strengthen the bond between an arts organization and its audience.
  • Explore an internship or job with a digital arts platform like Vevo or Concertwindow. They'll introduce you to the digital side of music distribution – everything from the technology that supports these platforms to distribution and promotion, to how they make their money.
  • Are you familiar with audio branding? You know that famous "clink-clink" that opens every SVU episode or the "zhhooom" when your Netflix opens? That's audio branding. It's very niche. Finding a firm like this won't be easy, but may be worth the effort.
  • Last, don't overlook our other list of awesome summer job ideas for musicians. This list has several suggestions for those you are particularly interested in the business and promotion side of the music world.

UPDATES

We've added updates to the job descriptions below, expanding the way you can find and land these types of jobs.

  • Summer camp counselor: This is a classic, but don't settle for just any summer position. There are summer camps dedicated to music and the arts, where you can instruct younger kids. Another option is a general summer camp as they always have arts and music programs. Summer camp can be a day camp, or even just a portion of the day, that leaves you free to focus on other activities over the summer. Or, you can opt for an overnight camp experience.
  • 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. Don't limit yourself to kids' arts programs. Senior centers, adult day care centers for the mentally challenged, or drop-in centers sponsored by religious organizations may also run music programs for their communities (or would like to).
  • 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! Other arts organizations can be valuable opportunities too. Dance companies, schools, and organizations definitely have a musical component. Theatre and museum organizations often have music departments as well.
  • Pit or session musician: To find work as a pit musician, look for summer festivals, music or other performing arts organizations, that will need musicians. Here's a list of festivalsDid you do any live performances this past year? Do you have any recorded? Put together a sharp audition reel or website for potential employers to check out.
  • 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. Don't limit yourself to looking for only classical stations. Spending a summer learning the ins and outs of other musical genres can be invaluable!
  • 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. Record stores are making a comeback – that could be an interesting option too.
  • 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 that people don't want the expense of hiring a formal professional to do, but aren't confident enough to do themselvesIf there aren't any luthiers in your area, see if there are other manufacturing or repair shops for any sort of instrument. Learning the physics of construction and sound production will give you a deeper appreciation for those other instruments.
  • Put up your own teacher's shingle! This one takes a bit more networking. 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. Here are a few gig websites where you can put up a violin tutor/teacher profile: Care.com, Thumbtack, TakeLessons, and Lessons.

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 out their website to see if they're offering a formal position or internship. If they're not, don't be afraid to approach them with your own thought plan of what you'd like to offer them.

You could offer to help them with office work, manage their social media, or give them extra hands to take care of their "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 to you, 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 can be fantastic but don't lose focus on your studies.


Music resources for students