The SHAR Apprentice program is a full-time position, but it’s not all spent in the same location.
The bulk of an apprentice’s time is spent in the Contact Center. SHAR ships internationally out of our single location in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and customers are full of questions about their purchases! SHAR Apprentices typically spend between 20 to 25 hours of a 40 hour week in the Contact Center, talking directly on the phone or via email with our customer base. The highest priority of this position is to assist these customers.
Each week, apprentices will also work between 4 to 8 hours in the showroom, working directly with local customers. Less frequently, apprentices will help out with our rental and educational divisions, and sometimes will lend a hand in the warehouse as well.
The Apprentice Ensemble will frequently perform and run sectionals at Michigan schools, and will also run sizing and instrument "petting zoos" to assist SHAR’s Rental and Schools Departments.
The rest of the week is spent working either alone or collaboratively on projects. Projects have been extremely varied from year to year, and have really been an opportunity for individual apprentices to explore their own interests and passions.
Prior apprentices have worked on a variety of projects for different departments. Some of their projects have included:
- Documenting the process of building a violin
- Hosting instrument petting zoos at local schools, libraries, and concerts. Arranging quartet and trio performances at local schools, and introducing music to local schools that have no orchestral program
- Categorizing the level of difficulty of all of the violin music SHAR carries (and for all of the other instruments and ensembles as well!)
- Running in-depth training sessions for other Contact Center employees about areas of particular confusion (i.e.: issues unique to bass players, how to size a young cellist over the phone)
- Arranging string clinics in the SHAR showroom run by locally and nationally known performers
- Coordinating the now annual SHAR Quartet Competition. Local and regional high school quartets compete for a SHAR sponsored prize.
As an additional perk, apprentices are allowed half an hour of paid time each day to spend practicing in our showroom. Many of our Apprentices have used this as an opportunity to get elbow-deep in repertoire from our sheet music offerings; others have used it as a time to explore our selection of instruments and bows. Sometimes, it’s just nice to break up the day with a little Tchaikovsky!