Front Row: The Impact of Music Forward Programs

As we kick-off our fall season of programs we invited Music Forward alum and former intern, Mariam Boyadjian, a senior at California State University Northridge, to share with us how the Music Forward experience is helping students like her navigate career exploration.

Building Sound Futures

Career and professional development opportunities often drive a student in the early stages of career exploration and Music Forward has helped me do just that. I’ve learned that realizing what industry you would like to explore, what goals you have for your future, and understanding the importance of networking are objectives to strive towards from a young age.

As a rising junior in college, I attended a conference and came across Music Forward for the first time in the summer of 2019, which led me to applying for their internship, aka gigternship, program. While I was not familiar with the organization, what motivated me to apply was the mission. I find it inspiring how Music Forward is dedicated to providing opportunities for students from under-represented communities to reach their goals in the music industry. I interviewed for the digital marketing intern position, and next thing you know I was in the busy streets of Hollywood interning at one of the greatest national nonprofit organizations in the United States.

After learning the ins and outs of Music Forward, I realized how much opportunity there is for all young people who need help with career guidance. Summer 2019 came to an end, but my journey with Music Forward continued. At the time, I was the Executive Vice President of External Affairs at California State University, Northridge’s (CSUN) American Marketing Association (AMA), and I knew that I had to introduce Music Forward to my school and organization. I was able to create opportunities for my fellow students to explore music industry careers at panels and workshops both at Live Nation headquarters and on our campus. We also volunteered at the All Access Fest career fair and at an Industry Sessions panel with the Young Producers Group.

These opportunities were very meaningful for me and our AMA members because it created a space for networking, as well as created an opportunity for us to learn about different roles in music marketing. The most rewarding feeling for me was when two of my fellow AMA members obtained internships at Live Nation after the program experience.

From In-Person Events to Virtual Programs

When programs were transitioned to virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Music Forward quickly pivoted to provide their programs online. Virtually, one of my favorite events that I attended was the Festivals Career Development Workshop with Mike Xavier, Greg Schatz, and Madisyn Holland. This was a very inspirational workshop for me because while the conversation was around festivals, there was great advice provided by the professionals. Artist Mike Xavier stated, “Follow your intuition….all of the dots will align later…think about the bigger picture, even if the opportunity in the industry right now may not be something you are interested in as an end goal.” One of my favorite parts about online programming has been that if I miss an event that I am interested in, they can be viewed on the Music Forward YouTube channel. Whether Music Forward Programs have been in-person or virtual, the impact created, and the guidance offered has been just as rewarding. And I’ve realized even when times get challenging, every day is an opportunity to learn something new.

What will you learn today?


Mariam is a senior at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) majoring in Marketing, and minoring in Entertainment Media Management. She is the President at CSUN’s American Marketing Association (AMA) and she enjoys networking and providing professional development opportunities for students, while gaining experience in organizational management.

Mariam is passionate about the music industry and finds beauty in discovering raw talent. When she isn’t studying or working on her extracurricular activities, she also sings and participates in talent shows. 

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