I just wrapped up my summer internship at the Weill Music Institute, and not surprisingly, it was very hard for me to say goodbye. On my last day in the office, my coworkers threw me a celebration picnic in Central Park (not a bad way to bid farewell!), and the rest of my day was filled with hugs, goodbyes, and attempting to sneak in a few more final projects before I left. As I packed up and left the office that night, I couldn’t help but realize how much I had grown and changed because of this incredible experience. I entered this experience with a strong passion for helping people to create or enhance their connection to music, but not very much practical knowledge of how to turn this vision into a reality. Now, after spending an entire summer learning from people who work towards this mission every day, in so many different forms and capacities, I can honestly say that this has been the most inspiring and transformative learning experience of my life so far. It would take hours for me to recount everything I have learned from my amazing colleagues at the Weill Music Institute and Carnegie Hall, but there is one central lesson that they have imparted on me this summer: the most fundamental step in making a difference in the world is deep, meaningful inquiry and a commitment to asking the important questions. The Weill Music Institute has become what it is today through this dedication to asking the important questions—especially the question of “How can music make a meaningful difference in people’s lives?”—and this constant commitment to excellence makes WMI and Carnegie Hall a truly inspiring place to work.
I really think that every internship experience is valuable in its own, unique way, but I am very grateful that this internship confirmed and even elevated my interest in pursuing arts administration as a career. I am of the belief that everyone involved in any part of an artistic experience is an artist, whether they are the performer, the audience member, or the behind-the-scenes logistics manager, and I think that the administrative staff of arts organizations have such a vital and exciting artistic role; a role that, at each level, involves adopting a holistic view of how their organization can best involve, reflect, and serve their community. All of my colleagues at Carnegie Hall this summer have been so incredibly supportive of my goals, and through their mentoring, I have come to realize that, with clear intentions and a commitment to inquiry and evaluation, anything is possible.
To my surprise, I now miss living in New York City almost as much as I miss working at the Weill Music Institute every day. At first, living in Manhattan was an adjustment (especially from life in Appleton, Wisconsin), but after a week or so, I came to love the day-to-day life of New York City. Most of my family is from New York, so I spent a lot of time there as a child, but it was amazing to experience the city through a new lens, as an independent adult. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I thought I knew what living in another big city would be like—but there is really no place like New York. The public transportation, restaurants, cultural institutions, and vibrant neighborhoods and communities all make New York City a very happy place for me, and I would love to move back after I graduate from Lawrence. New York life, combined with the life-changing experience of working at the Weill Music Institute, has made me a more confident and self-possessed person, and I am excited for whatever comes next.