The value of an Internship by Faye Polden

When applying for this internship, I was encountering many barriers to gain traction as a young music educator with the rising cost of further education and diminishing career/paid opportunities. However, this internship was accessible and paid, which meant that I could take the risk and leave my previous jobs to focus on this opportunity to develop my skills and gain experience. 

To have been able to access this internship to develop as a music leader and music educator has benefited me in a innumerable ways: CPD, inclusive practice, music leading skills, outreach, different approaches to engaging young people, running events, partnership work, social media campaigns, online workshops and training, safeguarding, health and safety, delivering music workshops, First Aid training and Arts Award Advisor training. These experiences and opportunities have enhanced the way I teach, and the goals I am working towards. They have also exposed me to approaches that help make music education more accessible for all. Working with o360 and the young people with SEN/D completely opened my eyes to the positive impact music has on young people's behaviour; focusing and calming them in a way that a mainstream education setting is not always able to. 

Working in inclusive spaces to develop my skills as a music leader has also made me more rounded and adaptable to delivering inclusive music projects. This has required being able to call on my skills quickly and respond to situations on the spot to make sure that everyone is included in the music making process regardless of their abilities. This has really changed my thinking and has encouraged me to work more creatively - to develop simple and fun solutions to encourage young people's engagement with music. 

Whilst working within the role I had the opportunity to work alongside the Cities of Learning digital badge project. I truly believe this project will be a secure and fantastic resource to young people, where they can be exposed and educated about internship and apprenticeship opportunities alongside the traditional higher education routes.  With the current climate of higher education many students leave with a degree however no ‘work experience’ in the field, which leaves many fantastic and bright young people undesirable in the job market and in debt. I am hopeful that the next generation of young people to be exposed to these opportunities. However, they need to be made widely accessible to the young people who need them the most, and who do not have support, resources and encouragement available to them.

Through this internship I have been continuously astonished by the power of music within communities and how truly important this is. I think we were all reaffirmed by this when COVID-19 hit the world and the neighbourhood musicians came out to warm our hearts and lift our spirits. I will be leaving this internship with a network of supportive and knowledgeable educators that have become true friends! In addition to instilling a passion for inclusive practice and being empowered to use music to make a difference in young people’s lives… I am truly grateful to have been offered this opportunity and all the experiences that have shaped me into a well-rounded, and inclusive music leader/educator.

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