Programs of Study

The National Music Festival offers apprenticeships in all orchestral instruments, conducting, arts administration, concert production, piano technology, recording engineering and music library. Apprentices are selected via a competitive application process, and all accepted apprentices receive full tuition scholarships and housing. 

Please explore this section of the site for more information about the NMF experience and how to apply.

As an orchestral apprentice at the National Music Festival, you will have the opportunity to play in a variety of orchestral and chamber repertoire. You will work closely with your mentor(s) and other apprentices in an intense, demanding, and rewarding schedule of rehearsals and concerts.

The daily schedule will usually consist of orchestra rehearsals in the morning, chamber music or chamber orchestra rehearsals in the afternoon, and a concert in the evening. The middle Sunday will be a free day for you to enjoy the Kent County and Chesapeake Bay communities. Everyone will play in at least three orchestral programs and one or more chamber works.

Music library apprentices will work closely with the Library Mentor throughout the Festival.

Apprentices will assist the Recording Mentor in all areas of recording production, including recording all concerts (as well as orchestral dress rehearsals) and submitting to Performance Today.

National Music Festival Arts Administration Apprentices work independently and as a team to assist in the management of a music festival with multiple nontraditional venues and an intense schedule. The Festival produces approximately 30 performances and dozens of free open rehearsals in a two-week period. Please note that Arts Administration Apprentices are required to arrive before the beginning of the Festival and remain until shortly after the end of the Festival. Arts Administration Apprentices will work closely with the Festival’s Executive Director and Director of Operations. 

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, either completed or in progress. An interest in arts administration as a career option, and a willingness to learn. Experience in nonprofit and/or classical music organizations is helpful, but not required. A love of classical music and an entrepreneurial attitude are advantages, as are self-motivation and the ability to work independently.

Benefits: Full scholarships and housing will be provided to each accepted apprentice. We will be happy to provide recommendations and references for employment, advanced training and/or scholarships following successful completion of the apprenticeship. For those needing to complete an internship as part of their degree requirements, we are happy to work with you and your college or university to allow you to receive credit.

How to Apply

Important Notes: 

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age by June 1, 2024. There is no upper age limit. 
  • An application is required whether or not you have attended NMF before.
  • Participants for the entire duration of the Festival will receive full scholarships plus housing. Scholarships are contingent upon full participation.
  • Participants must arrive in Chestertown either the evening of May 31 or the morning of June 1, and remain until the conclusion of the final concert on June 15, 2024. Housing is provided from the evening of May 31 through the morning of June 16. (Conductors arrive on May 29 and depart on June 16; arts administrators arrive on May 28 and depart on or around June 17; housing is provided for the duration).
  • Apprentices are responsible for their own transportation and meals. Many local restaurants will offer discounts to NMF musicians. A local church will offer free lunches on weekdays!
  • NMF welcomes international students! Please be aware that we are not able to provide visa advice.