Working on an event as huge and prestigious as the BBC Proms is an intimidating prospect. The Proms is a cultural behemoth in many people’s lives, a British institution they’ve grown up with. As possibly one of the biggest music festivals in the world, with at least one (and often more) large concert in the Royal Albert Hall every night, the Proms team needs to be like a well-oiled machine in which every part needs to operate smoothly. So it was with some trepidation that I began my three-month internship with the Proms team through the STEP program.
One of the best things about my time working with the Proms team was the range of responsibilities I was given. In addition to my basic responsibilities helping out with admin at Broadcasting House and at The Royal Albert Hall, I would often be having to help out on the fly with any situation that came up: booking a taxi for half a dozen cowboy hats, or trying to find somewhere in Kensington to get fish & potatoes for as hungry pianist. I was also trusted with the responsibility to redesign some of the administrative systems they had in place, and I was able to use some of my programming abilities to streamline the more boring tasks of the job and save the whole team time.
I was also given the opportunity to work on a range of different projects and to shadow different departments. One of the most interesting was helpingout on an event showing Prom attendees and members of the public a virtual reality experience built around a movement of Anna Meredith’s Five Telegrams, a piece that had been commissioned for the opening night in commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. I was also able to assist on several outreach events put on by the Proms Learning team, getting a chance to see some of the great work the BBC do spreading music education to young people. My time as an intern for the BBC was a brilliant way to work with a group of incredibly talented people while working on a festival that touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the concert hall, and millions watching and listening at home. It was at times exhilarating, terrifying and exhausting, and probably one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I got to see some of the world’s greatest classical musicians perform, and some of the most talented people working behind the scenes to make it happen. It gave me a deeper confidence and understanding of both my own abilities and of what is important to me in my career going forwards.