Hello fellow CELT interns!
I apologize for the silence over the summer. It is said that much of what makes music so wonderful is the spaces between the notes, but I regress. My time with the Nashville Symphony was much too short for my liking, but I learned an incredible amount about the artistic process, the work that goes in to developing new programs, and much more
To begin, what is arts administration?
Have you ever been to see a play? An opera? The ballet? The symphony? If so, which I hope many of you have had the opportunity to attend, then you have benefited from the work of an arts administrator. These are the people who creatively, logistically, educationally, and functionally make artistic institutions run. They ensure that the programs for the upcoming season meets artistic standards set by the director/conductor/choreographer, negotiate contracts with the artists, engage the community through educational programs, and fundraise to help the show go on.
Who are arts administrators?
Largely, an artistic institution is the cumulative effort of many individuals with different talents and abilities but a shared love of the arts. I love Art music with a passion, yet I know that I do not want to become a professional instrumentalist who performs with a symphony. Working in an arts administrative environment allows me to be part of the team that produces major classical and modern works without being directly involved with the performance. Many who choose to work in arts administration have experience working with non-profits and find that the arts are a wonderful place to dedicate their time and professional expertise.
What was a typical day like for an arts administration intern?
As I was an Education intern, my day was vastly different from an intern working with HR, development, or production. Working with three other interns and the Education department Assistant and Manager, we developed curriculum that would accompany the children’s concerts for the 2015-2016 season. These concerts are directed towards different age groups, so we were faced with the challenge of creating engaging and informative content across a large range of developmental milestones. The state of Tennessee uses Common Core Curriculum for the public schools, so we integrated CCC standards into each lesson that we created to support a structured learning environment.
When we weren’t in the office, we were engaging with others in the community, sitting in on board meetings, listening to the Symphony rehearse, or taking inventory of the instruments that the Symphony uses for their educational programs. Perhaps one of my favorite aspects was the Instrument Petting Zoos we attended each weekend. The Symphony provides free concerts during the summer at many public parks across Nashville and an hour before the show starts we would bring a selection of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments to the park and let children try them out before the show. We spent three days at the Country Music Awards FAN FAIR X with an Instrument Petting Zoo in the children’s area. Nashville is known for country music but is equally strong in the representation, artistry, and audience for classical, jazz, and other genres.
For many, this may be the first (and perhaps, only) exposure to a musical instrument. When a child particularly took to an instrument, you could tell by the look on their face that a new facet of life had been discovered. I hope that the petting zoos inspired many children to incorporate making music into their daily lives.