Career Development

woman in orchestra

Preparing for a career in the arts requires a commitment to perfecting your instrumentation, expanding your musical knowledge and repertoire, and building a résumé of performances. At the Colburn School, we are here to help you gain those necessary skills and experiences. Our Career Development Center has created programs and workshops that guide you through different steps as you ready to leave school and enter the professional world of performing arts.

Performance Opportunities

Our Career Development Center staff has cultivated relationships with various venues and organizations throughout the Los Angeles area and beyond. The Colburn School has become a go-to resource when institutions, companies, or programs need talented musicians and dancers. We can help connect you with opportunities to perform in both paid and unpaid gigs, professional engagements, special concerts, and community-based events. Join our Gig List and check in frequently with our Facebook Group to review a current listing of opportunities.

Teaching Artistry

If you’re interested in pursuing a future as an educator, practical experiences are invaluable. We help you find those opportunities through the Colburn Center for Innovation and Community Impact Programs, including the Teaching Fellows Program, which is specifically available to current students. Students and alumni can participate in the Jumpstart Young Musicians Program.

Individual Career Advising

Presenting yourself as a professional requires a polished résumé and complete audition package. The Career Development staff has experience with performing arts organizations, symphonies, dance companies, and have learned what they look for from young performers. Our experts help you fine-tune those all-important materials so you make a positive impression. They also can advise on other issues as you prepare to enter the professional world. Visit the Center during business hours or call to make an appointment with your advisor.

New Venture Competition, Spring 2017

This year marks the third annual Colburn New Venture Competition to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. Our experienced staff provides strategic and financial support to students and alumni who wish to launch or pursue new business ideas, partnerships, and performance models. Examples have involved curating unique recital or concept formats and exploring use of technology to enhance the appreciation of music. Grants from the New Venture Competition can range from $500 to $1,500 per project. Plus, awardees receive a full year of advisement from Colburn School staff and faculty. Selected projects will be funded and supported during the 2017–18 academic year.

To be eligible to apply, you must attend our New Venture Competition workshops. Awardees for this year’s event will be announced at the networking event on Thursday, April 6, 2017.


Throughout the year, the Career Development Center hosts a variety of workshops addressing a number of subjects aimed to assistance students and alumni on activities outside the classroom and rehearsal halls.

Going Pro Series

These 1-hour long interactive sessions help individuals gain practical skills.

How to get more paid gigs and performance opportunities
Olive Rehearsal Hall
Bring laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Attendance is required to be placed on the Colburn gig list.

How to “post” your way to a job
Dance Studio A
Bring laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

How to nail your 10 seconds of fame
Olive 229

Why you lost that last audition and how to win the next
Thayer Hall

New Venture Competition Workshop
Olive 229

New Venture Competition Workshop
Friday, February 17, 1-2 p.m.
Olive 229

How to fill out your tax forms
Friday, March 10, 1-2 p.m.
Olive 229 and 230
Bring all tax forms.

New Venture Competition Workshop
Friday, March 24, 1-2 p.m.
Olive 229

How to Present Your Best Self on Stage

These workshops are designed to build confidence and charisma on stage. Exercises focus on body language and speaking skills. They’re also geared to help performers connect with audiences and hiring directors in order to make themselves more marketable in a competitive environment.

Improving body awareness and poise
Friday, September 2, 2:30-4 p.m.
Grand Rehearsal Hall

Maximizing breath
Friday, September 9, 2:30-4 p.m.
Grand Rehearsal Hall

Building confident speaking skills
Friday, September 16, 2:30-4 p.m.=
Grand Rehearsal Hall

Students may enroll in off-campus drama classes to further hone presentation skills. For more information, contact your career advisor.

Networking Events

Each semester, the Career Development Center hosts an evening networking event where you can meet people in the industry, alumni, and other Colburn students, and begin developing your professional connections. Each session starts off with a short panel discussion regarding a career-related topic pertinent to the music field.

Thursday October 6, 6–8 p.m.
South Plaza

Thursday, April 6, 6–8 p.m.
Olive Fifth Floor Lobby and Terrace

Open Houses

In addition to scheduled events and one-on-one appointments with your career advisor, the Career Development Center (Olive 456) opens its doors for walk-ins on the second Friday of most months. Come in to talk with us about your career concerns. Have your résumé reviewed. Pick up tickets for local concerts. Or just come by to see what we’re all about, and grab a bite to eat while you’re there.

Open houses usually are held between 1 and 3 p.m. on the second Friday of most months.

August 26
September 9
October 14
November 11
December 9
January 13
February 10
April 28

Professional Photo Shoot Sessions

Need professional headshots? Want to update your headshot? Several times a year, we bring in a professional photographer to hold a headshot photo session on campus at a subsidized rate. The cost is $25 per student plus $25 per retouched photo. This service is limited to 100 students on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a timeslot, bring a $25 deposit to the Career Development Center.

Friday, October 7
Saturday, October 8
Monday, December 12

Additional dates may be added as needed.


For more information about careers in the performing arts and industry organizations, check out these websites: (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

We also post relevant information on the Career Development Center’s website,, and Facebook page,

Contact Us

Give us a call or drop us an email with your questions or to request an appointment.

Dr. Nathaniel Zeisler
Dean for Community Initiatives

Laura Liepins
Director of Artistic Administration and Career Development

Center for Innovation and Community Impact
Olive 456
Colburn School
200 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012