Career Options in Music

Career options in music and where to find careers advice and resources for career development.

All programmes of study at Trinity Laban are vocational and allow you to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful artistic career, including the ability to generate your own creative work and sustain a freelance, portfolio career.

If you are looking at what your options and are as a music graduate, or if you are looking for advice to help you in your career, you will find lots of useful information in this section.

Career options in music

Careers opportunities for music graduates can include:

  • Solo and ensemble performance
  • Composition and arranging
  • Creative project work (improvisation, collaborations with dance, music technology)
  • Instrumental/vocal teaching/project leadership
  • Community project work
  • Collaborative projects with other media/art forms

Other career options related specifically to music include:

  • Arts administration and management
  • Copyright administration in composition and recordings
  • Librarianship
  • Management, representation and promotion
  • Music publishing
  • Music therapy
  • Production, retailing and distribution of music instruments
  • Production, distribution and retailing of sound recordings

Where to find information about careers options related to music:

The publications listed below are available to students at Trinity Laban within the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts.  If you are a graduate of Trinity Laban, here is some information about access to the Jerwood Library.

The Australian Guide to Careers in Music
Author: Michael Hannan
Published: University of New South Wales Press (UNSW Press) 2003
Provides a comprehensive guide to careers in music. Helps the reader to understand the range of career choices and their implications, and to find a direction that fits his or her abilities and interests. Covers jobs in composition, performance, audio production, instrument making, broadcasting, management, law, publishing, record companies, retail, wholesale, teaching, arts administration, information services and music therapy. Within each job category the guide includes: A description of the work involved; An analysis of the skills, both professional and personal, required to do the job well; An indication of employment or business prospects; An outline of formal and informal training requirements.

The website for the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) includes an introduction to careers in orchestral management.

The Music Publishers Association (MPA) website includes information about careers in music publishing, in addition to a list of job vacancies with MPA member music publishers.  The MPA offers 2 four-month paid internships each year.

The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) website includes a list of postgraduate music therapy courses in the UK that are recognised by the British Association for Music Therapy.

The Prospects website provides detailed information about a range of graduate occupations including occupational profiles for the following:  
Music Therapist 
Private Music Teacher 
Secondary School Teacher 
Primary School Teacher 
Arts Administrator 
Community Arts Worker

Careers advice for musicians

Preparing for Success: A practical guide for young musicians
Authors: Susan Hallam and Helena Gaunt
Published: Institute of Education, University of London, 2012
This book is a useful resource for young musicians already studying and moving towards a professional career in music, or for young musicians considering the potential of going into music.

Beyond Talent - Creating a Successful Career in Music (second edition)
Author: Angela Myles Beeching
Published: Oxford University Press, 2010
This book is a comprehensive music career guide, giving step-by-step instructions on how to design promotional materials, how to find and create performance opportunities, network and much more.

Life in the Real World: How to Make Music Graduates Employable
Editor: Dawn Bennett, Curtin University (Australia)
Published: The Arts in Society
A music career guide that offers an international perspective. With the linking theme of exploring one's professional identity, the book explores crucial issues for global musicians.

Musicians' Handbook: The Essential Guide for Professional and Aspiring Musicians
Editors: Claudine Nightingale, Rachel Creaser, Sarah Reid
Published: Rhinegold Publishing Ltd, 2013
A guide for all musicians considering, or just embarking upon, a career in music performance.  With advice from those already working in the industry, and tips for singers, instrumentalists, composers and conductors. 

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians.  The webite has an advice section and professional development resources including advice packs and webinars.

The Creative Choices website is a useful resource for those who want to develop their career in the creative and cultural industries.  It in includes a section on music.

Careers advice for orchestral players

Becoming an Orchestral Musician: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals
Author: Richard Davis
Published: Giles de la Mare, 2004 
A guide for professional musicians on how to succeed in joining an orchestra or ensemble, and how to survive as an orchestral musician. Covers topics such as auditioning, nerves, the secrets of ensemble playing and intonation, conductors, the mechanics of the orchestra, performing philosophies and strategies for survival.

Applying to a German Orchestra 
The website has a section with advice on applying for an orchestral vacancy in Germany. It covers:
- Self-Presentation
- Covering Letter
- Curriculum Vitae
- Photo
- Enclosures
- Audition

Morgensterns Diary Service
Career Advice Articles and CV Preparation Form
The website for Morgensterns, the booking agency for orchestral and session musicians, features professional advice pages covering a number of different topics including suggestions for musicians, preparing CVs and covering letters for mailings to orchestral and session fixers.  There is also an Orchestral CV Preparation Form - just fill in the form with your CV information to create a CV.  

Morgensterns/Musicians' Union Audition Masterclasses  
Morgensterns has partnered with the Musicians’ Union to run a series of audition masterclasses to help professional musicians with their orchestral auditions technique. Details are available on the Morgensterns website.  

Other career options

If you thinking more generally about opportunities with a degree in music, it is worth being aware that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject.  

Through your music studies you will have developed a broad range of skills that are valued by employers - these skills can be described as 'employability skills' or 'transferable skills'.  Click here for information that will help you identify the skills gained through your studies that you can take with you and apply in future employment.

Harry Slater, in a 2013 article about music students and employability, proposes that "with unique skills and a broad range of graduate jobs on offer, music students have better prospects than people imagine".  Click here to read the full article on the Guardian website.

You can search for graduate jobs using websites such as Guardian JobsProspects and TargetJobs.

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