#VPA Summer Opportunity Guide


One of the hardest parts about pursuing a summer program in any field is choosing one that is right for you. Musicians have many different types of summer opportunities they can apply for. Whether it be playing in a summer festival, performing in a summer opera program, or interning in arts administration the possibilities are endless. 

  1. Location:

First you will want to choose where you want to complete your summer program. Do you want to stay within driving distance of your home town to spend time with your family over the summer? Do you want to travel to a new city you’ve been wanting to explore? Maybe you just want to live in Appleton and live on campus for the summer? There are many different options, however, location is the first thing you should consider before searching for summer opportunities since it will narrow down your search by a lot. Some summer music festivals and programs actually provide housing, so be sure to look into this as well! 

  1.  Paid vs. Unpaid vs. Pay to Play/Sing

The next thing to consider while searching for summer opportunities is if you will be paid for your work, unpaid, or if you will have to pay for the experience. Sadly, many arts internships are unpaid, however, here at Lawrence we have many funding opportunities for internships. Many music festivals and summer programs are “Pay to Play” or “Pay to Sing”, meaning you actually pay them for the opportunity. This cost usually includes a place to stay and tuition. Very rarely does it include music printing, transportation, and meals but some do. Many of these opportunities offer scholarships as well as work study.

  1. What do YOU want to gain from the experience

There are so many different experiences that look amazing on a resume. Though some opportunities are at more “prestigious” places that doesn’t mean you wont get equally as good opportunities at smaller programs. An Arts Administration Internship at the Lyric Opera of Chicago can be equally as rewarding as an Arts Administration internship at Opera Carolina. If you find an opportunity or program that looks like something you would like to do, apply for it! It doesn’t need to be at a big name company for the experience to be rewarding. Find one that works best for you and what you would like to do with your career. 


Well, you’ve narrowed down summer opportunities you would like to apply for… now what? Next it is time to prepare and send in your application. Depending on how many opportunities you are applying for, this could take awhile so be sure you have your deadlines in order before diving in.

  1. Audition Prep

Many summer programs require an entrance audition. Sometimes these may be posted by video, or they have regional and on site auditions. It is important to know what repertoire you should prepare for your recording or in-person audition ahead of time so you can have enough time to practice them efficiently.

Tip: Find out what teachers/coaches will be at the particular program you are applying for, and schedule a lesson with them! Often times teachers give student discounts, and having a lesson or coaching with them can make them remember you once they see your audition.

  1. Application Materials

Most internships and programs require you to submit a resume. For summer music programs or festivals this resume will most likely be a Performance Resume. Whereas if you are applying for an internship or fellowship it will be a Chronological Resume. If you need resume help check out our article here or create an appointment at the career center and we can get you started! You may also need to create a cover letter to go along with your application, you can see a sample cover letter here. Be sure to triple check deadlines in order to get your materials in on time! 

  1. Gather References

References get handed in with your other application materials, however, they require a little more explaining. Many opportunities require you to list references for the company to reach out to to learn more about you. Some opportunities require you to list your academic advisor or current employer, but many leave it up to you who you want to list. We suggest listing any teachers, current or past employers who know you and your work ethic very well. 

  1. Interview

Very rarely do summer music programs and festivals require an interview, especially if an entrance audition is required. However, if you are applying for an arts internship or fellowship you will most likely be asked to do an interview after they review your materials. Don’t stress! Interviews can be scary but once you get the hang of them they are a breeze. If you are feeling nervous, set up an appointment with us at the Career Center and we can research the position you will be interviewing for and conduct a mock interview for you to practice. You can also do the same thing with a friend or two if you need the extra help.