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Why Young People Need Training to Enter the Music Industry

March 12, 2024

Adolescents aspiring to enter today's music industry face a landscape vastly different from what previous generations have known. The field is now characterized by rapid technological advancements, increasingly diverse career options, and the need for myriad skill sets. This means that young people hoping to get jobs in the music industry need multifaceted professional training and support. One excellent way for teens to get this is by seeking out development opportunities like summer music and singing programs.

Here’s why this training is critical and the benefits that career training opportunities like extracurricular music programs can offer up-and-coming teen artists.

A Glimpse Into How the Music Industry Works

For many adolescents, the dream may be quite simple: walking into spotlights, giving transcendent performances, selling out arenas, and becoming a legend. Yet in reality, the music industry is a complex ecosystem in which publishing partnerships, contracts, recordings, tours, and digital supply chain management are equally essential moving parts. 

To thrive in a music career, young musicians and singers must become familiar with many practical business considerations. Participating in summer music programs can expose them to many professional roles in the music industry, including those related to ​​production, marketing, legal concerns, and the digital landscape. This holistic view is crucial for those aspiring to navigate the industry wisely.


Networking Opportunities

Meeting various kinds of music industry professionals and peers who share their interests offers teens the chance to build their networking skills, an opportunity they can’t typically get in high school. It teaches them the importance of having robust professional circles and how well-positioned contacts may one day be able to open doors for them.

Coaching and Mentoring

One of the key advantages of summer music and singing programs is access to experienced mentors and coaches. These mentors offer guidance, industry insights, and personalized feedback in individual and group contexts. Some may continue to stay in touch with mentees after the program is over, potentially helping young people to secure additional training opportunities like music industry internships. All of this is enormously beneficial in helping teens to understand and navigate real-world scenarios. 


Skill Refinement and Technique Building

At the heart of music extracurricular programs is further developing and refining teens’ musical skills. Teens get to improve their techniques with expert guidance, exploring new performance styles and strategies while enhancing existing abilities. In addition, participants can build social and communication skills, collaborative abilities, and a sense of accountability to others. This is critical not just for artistic development, but for personal and professional growth as a whole.

Peer Support and Collaboration

Summer music and singing programs also bring together a micro-community of like-minded peers. Teens benefit from peer moral support, collaborative opportunities, and the chance to develop long-lasting relationships with fellow aspiring musicians and singers. This environment encourages creativity, productive risk-taking, the exchange of ideas, and mutual growth.

Discovering Identity as an Artist

Extracurricular music programs offer teens a profoundly important opportunity to explore who they are, not just as people, but as artists with distinct origins, perspectives, and abilities. 

Ali Stroker, a Broadway actress and Tony Award winner, asserts that these programs are “such an important place for young people to come and get to train and explore. And the truth is that when you are young, you are learning so much about who you are, not just as a performer. And so to have a space where that is nurtured and to work with young people around their skills and what their potential is … is just essential.”


Showcase Events and Performance Opportunities

These programs often culminate in showcase events or performances, providing teens with a platform to display their talents. These opportunities are crucial for:


  • Gaining stage experience


  • Receiving real-time audience feedback


  • Adapting quickly when mistakes or technical difficulties arise


  • Combating performance anxiety


  • Building confidence


Good performance skills are also highly valuable and transferable. They apply not only to singing and playing instruments, but to public speaking and other kinds of academic and professional presentations.


For adolescents aiming to carve themselves a niche in the music industry, summer music and singing programs are an indispensable stepping stone. They offer a blend of practical knowledge, skill enhancement, professional guidance, and networking opportunities, preparing teens for the multifaceted and dynamic world of music.



Get Music Industry Training With the Songbook Academy Summer Music Program

The Great American Songbook Foundation works to preserve the music and continue the legacy of the Great American Songbook, which is not literally a book, but a term describing a collection of enduring and influential songs that resonate across generations and serve as the foundation of modern popular music. We offer programs that educate and engage music lovers everywhere as well as unique opportunities for rising singers and musicians.


One of these is our Songbook Academy summer music program, a transformative summer music intensive that immerses high school singers in America’s musical heritage and fosters artistic identity through song.


At the Songbook Academy, we believe that every young singer has a unique story to tell through music. This eight-day experience is designed for high school students with a passion for singing who want to hone their vocal and performance skills with an emphasis on interpretation. Through access to top-tier mentors and a focus on the foundations of American popular music, we provide a safe space for young singers to explore musical styles, grow in their individual artistry, and take risks in a supportive pre-professional environment. 

This year’s Songbook Academy runs from July 13–20, 2024, and will take place at a world-class performance facility in Central Indiana. Click here for details on how to apply and join us for a life-changing experience!