Polygence blog / Research Opportunities and Ideas

11 Best Music Internships for High School Students

5 minute read

white printer paper on brown wooden table

If you are considering a career in music, completing an internship while in high school is a great way to immerse yourself in an aspect of the music industry while forming valuable connections with professionals. With the availability of internships around the country in performance, composition, arts administration, production, recording, and more, there are countless ways to learn about careers in music while in high school.

Benefits of Music Internships During High School

My music internship was one of the most rewarding activities I participated in as a high school student. At the time, my local orchestra had a student docent program, where high schoolers went to elementary schools to teach kids about the music they were going to hear at a free afternoon orchestra concert later that week. My fellow docents and I always had fun preparing the sessions, which often involved performing short excerpts on our instruments, interactive presentations and, occasionally, costumes and skits. Now, as a music educator, I realize that the skills I learned through that internship formed the basis for my philosophy and passion for music pedagogy.

If you are interested in gaining experience in the music industry during high school, an internship could be a great option. Your community is a great place to start. If there is a local symphony orchestra, summer festival, or other music organization in your area, try reaching out to them by email or phone, or go in person to ask if they have an internship program for high schoolers.

Personal Projects in Music

If you’re passionate about music and want to work on a personal project (from anywhere), check out Polygence’s programs! We can match you with an expert musician to guide you through the project while answering your specific questions and advising you on various aspects of the music world. Want to learn more? Head to https://polygence.org/ to get the details and apply now!


11 Top Music Internships for High School Students

1. NYO-USA Apprenticeships

  • Eligibility: high school students, ages 16-19

  • Commitment: 6 weeks, full time (summer) 

  • Location: New York City metro area, plus world tour

  • Roles: composer, librarian, and orchestra manager

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: December

  • More info: NYO-USA Apprenticeships

I had the chance to work directly with the NYO-USA administration at Carnegie Hall when I was a college intern. Unlike the performance program (which is also renowned in the professional classical music industry), these three high school apprentices work primarily backstage. As a composer, librarian, or orchestra manager, you’ll contribute key components to concerts from behind the scenes.


2. Triangle Youth Music Internships

  • Eligibility: high school juniors and seniors

  • Commitment: September to May, minimum four hours per month

  • Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Roles: management, marketing, and operations of non-profit arts organizations

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: August

  • More info: Triangle Youth Music Internships 

Triangle Youth Music has one of the strongest music education programs in the country. Several of my colleagues participated in the program through the Triangle Youth Philharmonic before studying music in college and beyond. This internship is geared towards musicians who also have an interest in the administrative side of arts and non-profit organizations.

3. San Diego Symphony High School Ambassadors

  • Eligibility: high school students, ages 15-18 (graduating seniors can apply)

  • Commitment: 3 weeks, full time (summer)

  • Location: San Diego, CA

  • Roles: workshops in financial literacy, public speaking, resume and interview training

  • Paid? Yes

  • Applications due: March

  • More info: San Diego Symphony High School Ambassadors

This paid internship is an opportunity for high school students in the San Diego area to work with the administration of the San Diego Symphony. Participants focus on developing the skills to become leaders in music organizations. The internship is three weeks long and takes place over the summer.


4. College Light Opera Music Administration Internship

  • Eligibility: high school students

  • Commitment: varies

  • Location: Falmouth, MA

  • Roles: Arts Administration/Publicity and Box Office, Music Administration/Orchestra Management, Stage Management/Production Assistance, Scenic Technician, Lighting and Run Crew, Costume Technician and Wardrobe Crew

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: 

  • More info: College Light Opera Music Administration Internship

This theater company offers internships to high schoolers interested in technical theater and arts management, including musical theater. One of their five tracks focuses on music administration and orchestra management within a theater context.

5. National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship

  • Eligibility: high school students

  • Commitment: weekly private lessons, plus two days per month of fellowship activities

  • Location: Washington, D.C.

  • Roles: orchestral training mentorships (all orchestral instruments)

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: April

  • More info: National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship

The NSO’s Youth Fellowship aims to identify and support exceptional young musicians in the Washington, D.C., area through 1:1 lessons with orchestra members. The program focuses on college readiness and citizen artistry.

Express Your Creative Side

Interested in visual arts, music, or literature? We can match you with an expert mentor who will help you explore your creative streak!

Motivated student standing on books holding a graduation hat


6. Holland Symphony Orchestra Student Internship Program

This opportunity gives student musicians the opportunity to perform regularly with the Holland Symphony Orchestra, an adult, semi-professional ensemble in Western Michigan.

7. iAM Music Internships

  • Eligibility: high school students

  • Commitment: participate in music theory classes, private lessons, band leadership, songwriting and composition, production, recording, live sound, and more. Optional: instruction in music education practices.

  • Location: Durango, CO

  • Roles: varies

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: varies

  • More info: iAM Music Internships

Interns at iAM Music work with professional musicians to get hands-on experience in multiple areas of the music industry. In addition, if you are interested in music education, this internship would be a great fit!

8. Carolina Studios Music Production Internship

  • Eligibility: high school juniors and seniors

  • Commitment: varies

  • Location: Charleston, SC

  • Roles: workshops in music production, songwriting, studio recording, and the music industry

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: varies

  • More info: Carolina Studios Music Production Internship

This internship program works with schools in the Charleston, SC, area to teach students about music production using professional equipment and software like Logic Pro X (the software that I use for the majority of my projects), and through field trips to recording studios and concert venues.

9. Sound Thinking Music Production Internship

  • Eligibility: 10th, 11th, or 12th grade students (women encouraged to apply)

  • Commitment: three weeks, full time (summer)

  • Location: New York, New York

  • Roles: music production internship

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: varies

  • More info: Sound Thinking Music Production Internship

Check out this music production internship in New York City. They are especially encouraging women to apply for the program!


10. Earshot Jazz Festival Internship

  • Eligibility: high school and college students

  • Commitment: September to November, part time

  • Location: Seattle/King County, WA

  • Roles: Loader/Stagehand, Lead Front of House (FOH) Volunteer, Hospitality Runner, Marketing Assistant

  • Paid? Yes

  • Applications due: August

  • More info: Earshot Jazz Festival Internship

Participate in the celebrated Earshot Jazz Festival as a paid intern. Festival interns work primarily with the box office and with the artist hospitality team—so, you’ll get to meet the performers!

11. Charles Mingus Internship

  • Eligibility: students in the New York City area

  • Commitment: varies

  • Location: New York, New York

  • Roles: jazz publishing, education, performance, and promotion

  • Paid? No

  • Applications due: varies

  • More info: Charles Mingus Internship

Charles Mingus was one of the most influential jazz musicians and composers of the 20th century. The Charles Mingus Institute was founded in 1986 to promote his compositional legacy through publishing, education, and performance. Intern responsibilities include sheet music engraving, library maintenance, and archiving historical documents.


Additional Music Opportunities for High School Students

Are you looking for a way to accomplish a music-related project, and think having a one-on-one mentor would help? Polygence’s programs are designed to support your passions by empowering creativity and giving you direct access to mentorship from professionals in the music industry. Through our core program, you’ll get ten hour-long sessions with your expert mentor en route to completing a personal project that you get to choose! Click here to learn more about the programs and resources that Polygence has to offer.

You call the shots

Polygence matches you with an expert mentor in your field of interest. Together, you work around your schedule to create a one of a kind research project that you can call your own

Student exploring their passion