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Helping you find a career as a Musician

As a musician, you will be involved in the creating and performing of a variety of genres of music, such as classical, rock, pop, indie, jazz or folk. You may work as a freelance artist, or as part of a band, theatrical ensemble, or an orchestra.


What does a Musician do?
On a day-to-day basis, a musician will:

- Perform at concerts, festivals, theatres, and other venues
- Participate in recording sessions
- Practice regularly; learn new music
- Prepare for and attend rehearsals
- Prepare for auditions
- Look after their instrument or voice
- Arrange for transportation of instruments
- Compose music
- Carry out bureaucratic duties
- Arrange gigs and tours
What skills and interests should an Musician have?
A musician primarily needs a love for music and a talent with their particular instrument, as well as stamina and dedication to rehearse daily. You will also need:
- Attention to detail
- Communication
- Creativity
- Determination
- Flexibility
- Motivation
- Patience
- Self-Confidence
What hours does a Musician typically do?
Your working hours will be irregular and flexible. Rehearsals will typically take place during the day and performances during the evening, but you must also put in your own time to rehearse and prepare.
What environment is a Musician based in?
There is no specific work environment, but you will rehearse either at home or in a school or music college and attend concerts at a variety of different venues.
How much does a Musician travel?
You will travel regularly to attend rehearsals and concerts, and you may be expected to travel overseas with your band. You will, therefore, need to be flexible in travel arrangements.
How much does a Musician get paid?
Salaries are contingent on whether you are freelance or part of an orchestra. You will typically receive performance fees which can range between £100 and £250. Salaries for solo figures are likely to be higher. Fees would be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Salaries will increase with experience and reputation.
Perks & benefits
Once you have gained experience and a reputation within the industry, opportunities for promotion will become considerably easier. You may be able to develop your career on the business side, either as a producer or manager, or as a composer or conductor, or a music teacher or community leader.

The opportunities to travel to foreign countries as part of an orchestra or band may be one of the more enjoyable aspects of a musician’s life.
What qualifications does a Musician need?
Musicians generally start learning their instrument or signing from an early age. Classical musicians take exams, including theory, throughout their conventional education. They move on to further training at a conservatoire (music college) or university.

Practical experience is essential in order to build a career as a musician. You will need to get involved with orchestras, choirs, music societies, bands and other groups. You can do so at school or university, or within your local community.

Networking is also important in order to learn about more opportunities and also to build your reputation within the industry. Applying for competitions and festivals is a good way to strengthen your CV.
Useful subjects to study at school & university
You do not need a degree to qualify as a musician, but degrees in some genres, such as classical repertoire, are highly regarded.
Further reading
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