Searching for the Right Note

By Kelly O’Brien '15
January 17, 2014

Michael Archer’s heart belongs to music and the performing arts, and for three months last fall he called the heart of the American theatre industry home.  Interning for the largest union of professional musicians in the world, the American Federation of Musicians Local 802, he helped represent the interests of thousands of artists in the greater New York area.

The music business and music performance student worked closely with the union’s executive board to launch an Internet radio station that features music by artists belonging to the union.

“It was something they had been planning on doing for a long time, but they hadn’t made much progress,” he said.  “Before I left, it was up and running.”

Providing the board members with the technological skills necessary to create the station, Archer imported CDs, edited artist and song information, organized playlists and uploaded music for streaming. 

He also received the opportunity to attend executive meetings and network with professional musicians.

“I got to see how the big shots really operate,” he said.  “It opened up my mind to new possibilities.”

Archer hopes to find a career in music technology that also allows him to continue his work as a trombonist.

“I know there’s something out there that I really want to do,” he said.  “But whatever I’ll be doing, I’ll be playing in some capacity.”

After spending a semester living a short walk from Broadway and working in the theatre district, Archer will travel to another entertainment capital of the world—Los Angeles.  He and other music business students will make their annual trip to Hollywood this January to tour the music industry. 

Archer is especially looking forward to meeting with professionals at Disney and Yamaha and learning of internship opportunities with such companies.

“Maybe I’ll do a couple more internships,” he said, “because the one in New York was a great learning experience.”