I am very excited to be interning at the Weill Music Institute this summer in New York City. The Weill Music Institute (WMI) is the education and community arm of Carnegie Hall, and they are devoted to creating the most meaningful, inclusive, and high-quality musical experiences for everyone. They are especially devoted to enabling musical experiences for people who are facing challenging life circumstances, including homelessness and incarceration. WMI has been incredibly inspirational to me as a musician, because they are devoted to the very core of what music is all about. As a classical musician, it’s easy for me to think of music as an art form that lives solely within our orchestras, concert halls, and cultural institutions, but the Weill Music Institute has reminded me that music is a fundamentally human experience that belongs to every person in this world. WMI enacts this philosophy in so many incredible ways, and I am thrilled to be working with the Family and Community Programs teams of WMI to plan the next season of rich musical experiences for people throughout New York City.
My first day at the Weill Music Institute was quite unlike the typical first day of an internship! That morning, Family Programs was holding its final event of the year—a Carnegie Kids concert featuring an awesome, interactive group called Shine and the Moonbeams. Held in the Resnick Education Wing of Carnegie Hall, this concert was produced specifically for kids from a number of homeless shelters throughout New York City, and I could just feel the happiness and excitement from all of the kids and their families in the room! Shine and the Moonbeams got all of us up on our feet and clapping to the music, and Shine (the leader and singer) really made the kids the stars of the show. The first song was a name game song where each child got to go up and tell the audience about “what they like,” and at the end of the concert, each child got to stand up on stage and then dance “down the runway” through the audience! This is one of the most valuable things I have learned from the Weill Music Institute already: that meaningful musical experiences are often ones that break the traditional concert barriers and involve the audience, making the audience just as valuable and vital to the musical experience as the performers. Getting to see such a beautiful musical experience in action was the best possible way to start my summer at the Weill Music Institute.
After helping with post-concert operations, I got my ID badge, talked with the family programs team about all of the projects I’ll be helping with this summer, and got a grand tour of the Carnegie Hall offices, where I met almost all of the incredible Weill Music Institute staff. New Yorkers have a reputation for grumpiness, but every single person I’ve met at Carnegie Hall has been so incredibly kind, warm, and welcoming to me, and people are constantly asking me what they can do to make my internship more valuable. After two weeks of working at the Weill Music Institute, I can honestly say that I have never felt happier or more fulfilled in my life, because I am working with people who share my true life passion: helping people to deepen their connection with music in ways that help them express who they really are. Music may not be able to solve all of our world’s problems in an instant or create universal peace and harmony, but if we can give someone the space to express themselves through music or any other creative or personal outlet, we are helping them realize that they matter, that they are just as valuable and vital to this world as anyone else. Music has helped me at many points in my life to express myself and be myself when nothing else could, and I’m really looking forward to doing my own small part this summer in helping people to be themselves through music.