For the last six months I’ve been the Learning & Participation Intern at Spitalfields Music. Tucked alongside the Festivals team you might have seen me typing fastidiously at my desk, or spotted me scuttling around Tower Hamlets on the way to our many and varied projects in schools and community centres, often carrying all manner of electrical/musical instruments and gadgets.
I applied for this internship wanting to get that all important ‘foot in the door’ for a career in the world of community music. I am passionate about the accessibility of the arts for all, particularly classical music, and I’ve found that working for Spitalfields Music has helped me build a solid foundation of hands-on work experience that can support my beliefs. Becoming part of a small but committed team has given me the opportunity to share my ideas, feel my input is valued, and take responsibility for tasks and jobs in a way that breaks down the ‘intern’ mindset – we all make the tea in this office.
Being part of the L&P team at Spitalfields Music really means getting stuck into all aspects of community music – personal highlights have included:
- Depping for our player at the Phoenix School project, and spending the afternoon making music
- Being on ‘baby patrol’ during performances of our early years opera Musical Rumpus: Mudlark Dances when it went on a tour of libraries and community centres in East London
- Concert managing events in this year’s Summer Festival, such as the final performance of the Songlines project in Partnership with Magic Me, and choreographing the on- and off-stage movements of over 100 children in the Platform concert in partnership with THAMES
But really for me the highlight has been getting to know some amazing characters in the extraordinary range of people Spitalfields Music works with on a daily basis: artists, participants, partners, venue staff, event producers, freelance staff – the list is endless.
To anyone considering applying for an internship such as this in an arts organisation like Spitalfields Music, here’s my advice (for what it’s worth): Listen. To everything. Music, conversations, news stories, office gossip – get involved, and make the most of the relationships that come out of these (sometimes unlikely) encounters. And smile.
Zoë Carassik Whitfield