Sue Buzzard is a violinist from the east coast currently interning with the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA through the Office of Experiential Learning

The Monterey Jazz Festival internship is offered each year from mid-August to mid-September. The work focuses on the production of every aspect of the festival under the guidance of Monterey Jazz Festival staff. We’ll follow Sue leading up to, during and after the Festival to get a sense of what life is like as an intern at one of the longest running and most well-known jazz festivals in the country.*

Success today!  I sent out all the volunteer emails I needed to, and made some successful schedule swaps for festival week/weekend.  This task was hanging over me all weekend.  For me, it’s a lot of pressure to set up the entire volunteer schedule for production.  I was asked to find volunteers for three activities that production is in charge of: organizing credentials and t-shirts, distributing said items, and selling water bottles on the fairgrounds.

I’m the type of person who works well with exact measurements to fill – how many people are needed and where, for how long, etc.  But I didn’t want to ask for a long list of details to fill in – I wanted to take on a project without being told every single detail.  I wanted to figure out how to put this together on my own.  Now I’ve realized that there’s a difference between that, and cutting yourself off from other people involved on a project in the office.  Wanting to take responsibility for setting up a project doesn’t mean doing it in a vacuum.  I had to take names and compile lists of possible volunteers from the spreadsheet on the office server so Jan and Eva could see who was available for other jobs as well.  Everything I did I had to make available and visible to other people in the office.  It made me extra careful but also forced me to be more confident about my planning and execution.  I had to show through example that I could get a job done well and not be hesitant or worry about being perfect.

Long story short, I created a schedule and emailed each name on the list their days and times to assist with each task at the festival.  I was happy to get that done before noon – woot!  That meant I could field email and phone call responses the rest of the day and fine-tune assignments.  Smooth.

Bill worked most of the weekend finalizing the Artist Advance sheets.  I’m a fan of these.  It’s a sheet for each artist/group containing the details of their performances/dress rehearsals/arrival times at the festival, hotel reservations,  transportation itinerary, and any other details about festival weekend for each group. Once everything is confirmed, we put everything together on one pdf file, and send off an email.  I emailed the managers and producers of about 15 groups and artists yesterday, and heard back from a few today.  Answering questions feels good!

For most of the afternoon, I didn’t have another assignment – so I started studying the schedule and I compiled my list of bands to listen to – I want to listen to every group performing in the festival to give me an idea of their sound.  It’s legit work!  I consider it homework, studying the schedule and learning all I can about the artists.

Before we left we took a look at the grand stands of seats that were just installed – two rows of bleachers way in the back of the arena.  One of these days I’ll have to bring my violin and play a tune on that stage, just to see what it feels like.



Read Sue’s Other Posts

The Dog Days are Just Beginning

Monterey Jazz Festival Intern


*Reposted with permission from Sue Buzzard


Sue Buzzard is a warrior of the acoustic string music revolution. Following her studies in classical and jazz music techniques in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, she studied a plethora of violin sounds at The Berklee College of Music.

Sue graduated with a double degree in Violin Performance and Professional Music in the spring of 2010, and has since been performing and seeking more ways to bring string music to the masses through production and education. Sue is on faculty at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston starting this fall, where she will teach Jazz Violin.