Weill Music Institute – Making connections – Arielle Kaye

I am interning at the the Weill Music Institute (WMI) of Carnegie Hall, but I have mainly been working with the Social Impact Programs (SIP) team. I have been very lucky throughout my internship because there have been many opportunities to engage with each member of the SIP team. During my time in WMI, I have been working on a project that is a report on how to build a strong community for the artists contracted out by SIP. In creating that report, I spoke with every person on the SIP team, asking them a list of questions that I created in part with my supervisor Ann Gregg—Director of SIP. In each of my conversations, I had the opportunity to understand each person’s role within SIP and often heard about how they came into their job in the Weill Music Institute. Not only did I speak with staff members within SIP, but I also spoke with a few artists that SIP contracts throughout the year and staff from the venues where SIP programming happens like a hospital in the Bronx and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). After the twelve interviews, I felt like I had a clearer picture of how the community of programs in SIP functions within the broader scope of WMI. It was also just exciting in general to hear about how each member contributes to the whole of the department. After I presented the report, I had a chance to speak with Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf—a consultant at WolfBrown who has researched and worked on many programs throughout WMI. We spoke about how I could make the report stronger and relevant to people outside of Carnegie Hall so that I could use this document as the start of a portfolio of my work.

In addition to working individually with everyone on the SIP team, I have had other opportunities to meet people from other departments in Carnegie Hall. The Director of Operations set up meetings with many of the directors of WMI. In each of those meetings, I had a chance to hear about each director’s path and had time to chat with them. I have also had the chance to sit in on many meetings with different departments within Carnegie Hall and outside organizations that Social Impact Programs is currently working with. One of these meetings was at Lincoln Center to see a partnership between Lincoln Center Education/New York City Department of Education’s Middle School Arts Auditions Boot Camp. This was primarily a planning meeting to talk about their upcoming program that prepares middle schoolers for high school auditions at arts schools. WMI helps out with the vocal program in the camp because it has a similar structure to one of their programs, Count Me In. It was interesting to witness an exchange amongst a few of New York City’s leaders in arts education.

Another way that I have been able to meet people within Carnegie Hall has been through the HR department. One of the HR staff members set up informational meetings with people in different departments around Carnegie Hall. These meetings included informational sessions with someone in the development department, marketing department, a tour from the Archivist of Carnegie Hall, and a meeting with the Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. Going into this summer, I could hardly fathom the amount of work and detail that goes into creating even one event at Carnegie Hall. While I still cannot entirely imagine the countless hours of effort that goes into making a season happen, it was inspiring for me to hear each person speak about their role in maintaining the legacy of artistry and community that Carnegie Hall has worked towards for over 100 years.

Lastly, I also had the chance to meet many participants of WMI’s programs throughout my time here. I went to SUNY Purchase College to see NYO/NYO2 practice during their residency, I sat in on some sessions in the Summer Music Educators Workshop, I helped out with the NeON Arts Spring Showcase where participants shared the artistic work that they had been working on in the spring session, I met a few men who had recently been incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility where WMI has a program that gives the men there a musical outlet through education and performance experiences, and I went to Studio 57 to see young people who are part of Future Music Project perform songs that they had been working on in workshops. While most of these experiences were mostly through observation, I was often actively speaking with participants and in some cases working side-by-side with them. The SIP team makes it look easy to make sure that everyone feels valued whether they are Carnegie Hall staff, artists, staff working at the venues where programs take place, or participants. From speaking to each of them, I know that though it may look easy, it is a very difficult task to achieve that level of care and consideration. From my experience, it seems so easy to get side-tracked in the administrative world around me and think about the people who the programs are benefiting as just a single piece in the larger puzzle of “programming”. This summer has shown me that participants are the program. Without understanding the needs of the people you are serving, your program has no meaning and is essentially useless. If there is rarely any interaction between administrative staff and the participants, something that may seem simple to an outsider, like providing accessible transportation or a meal, can make the biggest difference in the amount of people who can benefit from the program. I have met many different people this summer, from all walks of life, and for the first time I feel prepared and empowered to learn how to try to engage each one of them individually and within their community. I couldn’t have imagined to have a better group of mentors than the SIP team, but they have shown me that the most valuable way that you can truly engage anyone is through empathy, passion, and understanding. This kind of thinking has redefined my conception of what an arts administrator should be in the world.

New York Jazz Academy – Making connections – Jake Victor

I have worked with so many wonderful people with whom I’ve been able to build a network and connection. The entire NYJA faculty is filled with top-notch New York musicians, many of which I’ve been trying to show that I am capable and worthy of work here in NY. I’ve been doing that by being early and always on hand, but I’ve also just been trying to be myself and be super positive and friendly and all about the music, and I think it’s been working well. A lot of the faculty have been very supportive of me, and I even got a $300 private event gig from a student who’s the lead singer of Madrid’s Cirque du Soleil who wanted to work with me! Ron Wilkins, a really incredible trombonist/vocalist on staff got me into the Blue Note for free to see the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Javier and other faculty members have been introducing and connecting me with their New York musician friends… it’s been so awesome to have everyone be so supportive of me here.

Simplifeye – My responsibilities – Austin Frank

After completing SDR (sales development representative) training I have been calling dental practices around the country and setting up meetings for our sales “closers”. I have learned that it is extremely hard to steal 10 minutes of a doctor’s time during the summer, especially specialists like oral surgeons and endodontists. It is my job to get passed that and set up a meeting through an office manager. I make anywhere from 150-200 calls a day. Our daily goal is to schedule at least seven meetings. That’s obviously an extremely small percentage when you’re making so many calls. We deal with a lot of rejection but it’s nice to have team members doing the exact same thing across the table so we can all laugh it off together. I am reaching my goals and also stretching beyond here and there so far. I work about 10 hours a day so it does get exhausting, but the work environment makes it easy to want to work.

I am certainly living the NYC grind. I wake up at 5:30am to workout, then catch the train at 8am and get into work just before our 8:52am team huddle every morning. I usually work until between 6 and 7pm, then head home to have some dinner and prep for the next day. I am a fan of being on the go and productive so this is the perfect environment for me!

Merit School of Music – Making connections – Sally Alvarado

I think that I have established a strong relationship with my two supervisors, the three other Student Services employees, the band program director, and the front desk receptionists. These are the people who I work with on almost a daily basis. There are many more people who I have met but only see once in awhile, and I met them all at the same time so it is hard to remember names. There is also a difference between Merit staff and the private instructors. I do not really work with the instructors, and it is their supervisors who I get to interact with more.

Usually, the library is locked when it is not Open Hours, but an instructor will knock on the door and come in to take an instrument or a piece of music. I always have to introduce myself first because they sometimes won’t, and I have to make sure they sign out the instrument and music because some of them think they don’t need to follow the rules. But I try to be friendly and I am working on remembering names and faces.

Merit School of Music – My responsibilities – Sally Alvarado

So far my duties at Merit have been split between the music library and the student services department.

In the library, I have learned how to catalog music and instruments into the online library system, along with keeping track of the instrument fleet via two different spreadsheets. Keeping track of instruments is very important because we loan the instruments out to students to take home for the whole summer. We have to keep track of the conditions that the instruments are in before and after they are used by students. Certain damage to instruments will be covered by Merit, but in some situations, such as if the instrument has been damaged by the same student numerous times, the family will need to pay for repairs.

In the library, students can also purchase reeds, sponges, and other items that they may need for their instrument. They can also come and hang out in the library during open hours.

My main project in the library has been to catalog and box band music. We are working on reorganizing the entire library so that music is more accessible. This is extremely important because if a piece of music is not cataloged properly or cannot be found on the shelf, a teacher might order a new piece of the same music, which can be extremely expensive.

In the student services department, I have been working on enrolling students into their camps and classes. Merit is also trying to have clear records of past BRIDGES, now renamed as Merit Music in Communities, sites. These are offsite schools where Merit runs a music program. The goal is to have students in the program end up coming to Merit after they leave elementary school. Right now we are two years behind, so I have been entering students into the system from 2015.

Simplifeye – Making connections – Austin Frank

I have been fortunate enough to work with an excellent team. Everyone is young and on the same page, but also really accomplished. I talk to our CEO regularly. We have an open office and work collaboratively. My sales team here was a part of a startup called SinglePlatform that was acquired for $100 million, due in large part to their success in building the sales team there. We are using the same philosophies that were used there to have those same successes here at Simplifeye.

I have been able to network like crazy out here. Our team goes out for drinks weekly and I get the chance to talk on a more personal level with everyone and pick their brains. This time is especially important for me since I’m trying to build relationships out here. Everyone says once you’re involved in one startup out here it’s easy to find connections at almost any startup.

I also went to the LU alumni summer meet up last night and got to meet some more LU alumni!